Crafting a Winning Twitter Pitch with Author Norene Paulson
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Did you know you can pitch your children’s book on Twitter to be considered for publishing? It’s possible. All you need is a winning Twitter pitch and the dates to the next pitch party.
That’s how debut picture book author, Norene Paulson, received her first offer for publication. Now that her new book, Benny’s True Colors, is set to release next month, I asked her the secret to pitching on Twitter. Here’s what she had to say.
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How to Craft a Pitch for Twitter – Interview with Author Norene Paulson
Author, Norene Paulson, joined Twitter in 2012 but didn’t enter her first pitch party until 2017. Knowing that her tweet for Benny’s True Colors helped land her a publishing contract, I asked her some questions about her success.
Here’s what she had to say about how to craft a winning Twitter pitch:
What made you decide to try a Pitch Party?
I wasn’t even sure what a Twitter party was, but I’d been seeing some online buzz about #PBPitch. Even though it all sounded way beyond my Twitter skill level, I was curious.
Did you do any studying or anything before pitching? If so, what kind?
The first thing I needed to do was figure out what a Twitter pitch party was, so I checked out the #PBPitch website. I read through the FAQ tab, clicked on the “How to Participate in a Twitter Party” link, and read the Book Deals/Agent Matches section.
It was all so helpful! Kudos for that go to the creators of #PBPitch, PJ McIlvaine and Debra Shumaker, who continue to do a fantastic job connecting writers with editors and agents.
I also spent time googling and found a lot of helpful online advice and examples. Once I learned more, I participated as an observer during the next party, scrolling through the pitches, noticing which were hearted, noting what hashtags were used–basically learning the ropes.
How did you go about creating your pitch? Was there anything specific that you found worked best for Twitter vs a Query?
Being a former language arts teacher, when I began creating my first pitch, I implemented a strategy I often used with my students called Paragraph Shrinking.
I started with a one-paragraph summary of the story then shortened it to a blurb and from there continued to shrink the blurb until it fit the 140 character limit (leaving room, of course, for needed hashtags). During my online research, I found a fill-in-the-blank template which proved quite helpful once I started shrinking down the summary.
Here’s the template I used:
When _______________(learns, discovers, finds, realizes. etc) _____________ he/she must________________ before____________.
Also, when creating my pitches I found this free online Twitter character counter website tremendously helpful. Just copy and paste your pitch and it will tell you how many characters you have.
Was this your first book that you pitched or had you participated before?
I had participated in three other rounds of #PBPitch and never received any hearts. Benny’s True Colors was actually my 4th pitch and my one and only heart. It’s true when they say it just takes one “yes”.
Would you recommend someone try a pitch party to publish their book? Why or why not?
I would definitely recommend trying a pitch party! It’s a great opportunity to get your work out there plus I learned so much by reading others’ pitches.
Just go into it with a “got nothing to lose” attitude. Don’t get your hopes up. I liken it going to SCBWI conference and expecting to get offered a book contract from the agent/editor who critiqued your story. Not to say that doesn’t happen, but it will be more fun if your expectations aren’t too high.
If someone were to be interested in participating in a Twitter Pitch Party, what would your biggest advice be for them and why?
I have several pieces of advice:
- Keep in mind that even if you get a heart that’s only permission to submit, not a guarantee of an offer. Your pitch caught an agent or editor’s eye, but now the manuscript has to fulfill the promise of the pitch. Not everyone who receives a heart receives an offer of representation or publication.
- Also, if you’re hearted by an agent, be sure to have two or more polished manuscripts available to share if they ask.
- Don’t be discouraged. I almost didn’t participate in the Feb. 2018 #PBPitch because I figured I wouldn’t get any hearts anyway. Luckily, at the last minute, I thought what do I have to lose, and that was when I received my first and only heart. Only takes one.
- If you receive a heart, be sure to research the editor/publishing house or agent/agency. Step back from the excitement and take a serious look at whether they would be a good fit for you and your story.
Thank you so much to Norene Paulson for sharing her tips on crafting a winning a Twitter Pitch! Purchase her debut picture book, Benny’s True Colors, wherever you enjoy buying your books!
And if you’d like to participate in the next Twitter Pitch Party, visit these websites to find out their upcoming dates:
- PB Pitch – for picture book pitches only
- Pitch Wars – for all genres of children’s books
Wait! Before you pitch, read these articles to get you ready:
- How to Win a Twitter Pitch Contest
- How to Write a Good Query Letter
- How to Find the Best Agent for You
About Author Norene Paulson:
Norene Paulson loves words. As a former middle school language arts teacher, she spent almost twenty years sharing that love with middle school students in a rural Iowa school district. As a children’s PB author, she continues to share her love of words with young readers. Her children’s magazine articles have appeared in Highlights for Children, Child Life, and Live Wire, and her debut picture book, BENNY’S TRUE COLORS, is scheduled for release on November 17, 2020.