agents, marketing, writing and technology, writing life March 19, 2012

No, not the muscular kind, although my left eyelid has been giving me fits lately. No, I’m talking about a Twitter-pitch.

Tweet, tweet.

The term “twitch” has been coined (as far as I can tell) by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds literary agency. Recently she held a “twitch” contest in which the winner was awarded a critique of the first three chapters and synopsis of their manuscript. Anyone interested pitched their novel to her in Twitter’s less-than-140 character limit.

Could you do it? Could you find the right few words to express the most basic element in your novel? Not only do you have to condense your novel, you have to find the “hook,” which means you really have to examine what makes your novel unique.

I used an ultra-short pitch for my thesis novel, Merry Meet: If you want to commit murder, don’t frame a witch. I was surprised and thrilled a few days later when Ms. Lionetti tweeted back that I’d won the critique. I’m very excited to get the professional feedback on my thesis.

My “twitch” is even shorter than what we would consider a classic elevator pitch. You can bet on getting 30 seconds in an elevator, during which time you could give a fairly good pitch. I’ve had agent appointments at conventions or seminars anywhere from three minutes to twelve (and it was the twelve minute meeting that made me sweat the most). Marketing is more challenging than ever, so we have to adapt to a variety of situations. Be ready for anything.

Take another look at your own marketing tools and be sure they fit a variety of situations… even if the situation calls for less than 140 characters. If writing a good synopsis is hard (and it’s one part of what we do that I’d rather skip), writing a good short pitch is harder. Boil that novel down to one catchy sentence. Ask a reader to help, because sometimes you get so invested in the details, it’s hard to leave them out.

There’s a valuable lesson here. The publishing world has become smaller in the current social media environment. Everything has to adapt, including pitching.

Follow Ms. Lionetti on Twitter @BookEndsKim and check out BookEnds, LLC.


Tattooed writer with an attitude seeks like minded people who appreciate snark and ink. Or snarky ink.

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