With September 8th being the next #PitMad, thought this would be a good topic to revisit & hopefully provide insight.

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Last Thursday, I visited Twitter and saw #PitMad was trending – literally a massive party on Twitter where writers pitch their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts in 140 characters or less. I first saw mention of PitMad several years ago, but I had just begun writing so of course, did not enter. But this time, I quickly read through the requirements, then once more just to make sure, pulled out the completed work my husband and I co-wrote, and got to work.

We wrote The Powers that Lie (working title) several years ago, but never created a description so this was my first step. I jotted down a few thoughts, and after five (5) revisions,

The Powers that Lie (Fiction) – A federal agent loses his family in the pursuit of justice, and discovers the myths surrounding much of his life.

An agent’s family is killed in the pursuit of justice, and discovers justice, power, & much of his life has been a myth.

An agent’s family is killed in the pursuit of justice. He discovers power, & much of his life has been a myth.

A federal agent’s family is killed in his attempt to bring an international criminal to justice. In the pursuit of justice he discovers power is not enough, justice lies, myths are real.

decided upon this,

#PitMad #M A federal agent’s family is killed in his pursuit of justice. He soon learns power is not enough, justice lies, myths are real, and the enemy is always closer than you think.

And this is what was tweeted:

PitMad post for The Powers that Lie

This was my first #PitMad so I did not have any expectations as mine was only one of thousands of tweets, but a bit more than an hour later, I saw this:

PitMad 2016 post for The Powers that Lie got liked!

Per rules, ‘favorites’ were reserved for agents/publishers during #PitMad. Your tweet being favorited meant they wanted to see more.

After doing my happy dance (picture Snoopy from Charlie Brown), I submitted a brief query letter along with the first chapter and waited. The next day I received a response thanking me for the query, and that although it was not a good fit, wished me luck in querying the project further. I  responded once more, thanking him for his time and prompt response, then did my happy dance again. Why?

This was my very first time pitching anything I’ve written and it got a response. This was also the very first query letter I’ve written. And it got a response. It may not have been accepted, but I am quite pleased that of thousands of pitches, someone noticed ours and gave our work a chance.

Lessons Learned:

  • It pays to polish/edit completed works even if you never plan to publish. You just never know.
  • This was my first query letter. Not only will I tweak this one, but you best believe the one I write for The Red Umbrella Society, or any other work, will be better and done in advance. I’m thankful my sister, Camille, forwarded examples of query letters that actually worked (another link for non-fiction writers).
  • It was great to read The Powers that Lie again. Only slight updates were needed due to changes in technology. It also gave me a chance to compare how I wrote a few years ago to how I do so now. My signature appears to be wicked quips and twisted characters, but I was able to detect clear differences in my co-writing ‘style’ versus that which I do on my own.

A quote I saw earlier seems fitting –

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Ernest Hemingway