PitMad, Editors, Agents, Oh my!

Thought I’d give a quick update on my progress with my book…

Wow, it’s been a hectic month. Even though the novel is already written, I’ve been busier than ever working on edits, refining the manuscript and preparing to pitch it around agents.

This week I participated in an online contest called PitMad. It’s run on Twitter and it’s an opportunity for writers to tweet out a pitch for their book and then agents/publishers can scroll the #PitMad hashtag and favorite/like any that interest them. If you get a like, you can send through your query and first few chapters. I hadn’t heard of PitMad before last week but it’s only held a few times a year, so I thought I may as well give it a go.

You can see my tweet that I pitched below.

Unfortunately I didn’t get much of a response. There were two industry professionals who indicated interest, but they were both from very small independent publishing houses and, after researching them, I decided the book wouldn’t be a good fit.

PitMad is run over a 12 hour period and in my naivety I figured there might only be a pitch every few minutes or so. Not the case! There was a pitch every few seconds and at one point the hashtag was even trending worldwide. Some of the pitches were amazing too. It is indeed an artform being able to write an effective hook in just 280 characters. It’s also a reminder of how many other people have also written books and trying to get agents. It’s one thing to have written a manuscript and have it sitting in my drawer (my drawer being Dropbox!), but if you can’t make the transition from writer to seller and find a way to pitch your book to the people that matter, then in the drawer that manuscript shall stay!

To that end I’ve had some amazing help from Kim Chance. Kim’s a published author with her own YouTube channel (whose channel you can find here) and she offers a manuscript assessment service. I had her read over my manuscript and query and she replied back with a detailed critique. She got deep into the characters and the plot and offered some insightful advice as to what I could change, amplify, tone down, etc – her comments were a great stepping stone to take me to the next level. She also helped a lot with my query letter. She pointed out my mistakes and kindly rewrote it for me, and now I’m feeling a lot more confident now for when I dive back into the query trenches. Thank you so much, Kim!

I am also continuing to work with my editor, Michelle Elvy (check out her site here), who is currently sailing around the world while making edits on the novel. Besides me, she probably knows the story better than anyone at this point and she’s been instrumental in wrangling the novel from its once-mammoth size into something lighter and sharper. It’s been amazing to have someone bounce ideas off and who knows the story so intimately. I no longer feel like I’m doing this on my own anymore – it feels like there’s someone in my corner who also wants to see the novel become the best version it can be. I’m currently working on draft 4, 5, 6.. (I’ve actually lost count), and I’m really excited to send it through the new one to her for feedback. When she came on board, the novel was at 144k words – now it’s sitting at 111k.

Lastly, my beta readers have been amazing. I think about ten people have completed reading the novel and I’ve received some lovely emails with some great feedback. People haven’t been afraid to point out what worked, what didn’t and I love that – honest feedback is what’s going to help me going forward. There have been some who read it within just a few days and some who said they were up to midnight reading. As a writer, there’s no greater feeling to hear your story has had readers feverishly turning pages.

Anyhow, that’s all from me. My next step is that I’m sending my novel off to an agent in America, who I’ve hired to read through it and give me an assessment of the story and its commercial viability. She’s going to read it with a literary agent’s eye and I’m hoping to get some constructive feedback as to how I take this story and make it as appealing as possible to future agents/publishers.

Till next time!