#DVPit and Social Media Self-care: Part 2

This piece is the fifth stop (and part 2 of yesterday’s post) of the Spring 2020 #DVpit Blog Hop! #DVpit is a Twitter pitch event for marginalized authors and/or illustrators. The next event is scheduled for April 22-23. For more information, please visit dvpit.com.

Guest Post by Meredith Ireland

Feat. Meredith Ireland

Meredith: Happy… Friday? Is it Friday? Let’s go with Friday. Okay, DVPit is in a few days. Let’s talk about what to do during and after the pitch event for self-care and in general.

Also Meredith: Thanks for having me back. Happy Blursday.

Meredith: Really committing to this format, huh?

Also Meredith: Have to sell it. Okay, so during DVPit you can pitch a project six times. That’s more than enough. You’ll find that one or two pitches gain traction and the rest kind of sit there, but use the six chances to highlight different aspects of your story. Make sure each pitch has the genre/category hashtags because some agents search by them. Tell your followers not to like your pitches if they’re not agents/editors. And definitely pin your favorite/most liked tweet to your profile!

Meredith: How about self-care during the event?

Also Meredith: Drink some water, read a book, go for a walk if you can. It’s both exciting and stressful. If you find yourself unable to breakaway from Twitter, lessen the stress by reading the feed. See what pitches you like. If you think a pitch sounds good reply and let them know. Follow each other. Cheer them on. Quote tweet their pitch without the hashtag for other people to see. I’m now friends with several authors I met during the first DVPit and generally it started with thinking their story sounded cool. You may even find a new critique partner if you both like each other’s concepts. DVPit is NOT just about the number of likes you get.

Meredith: Let’s talk about likes. What do you do if you pitch and don’t get any likes?

Also Meredith: Cry into a bag of chocolate.

Meredith: Other than cry. Be useful, dammit.

Also Meredith: Alright, if you pitch at 8:00am (I recommend not pitching exactly on the hour because people schedule tweets and usually pick the hour itself) and have no agent likes by say 10:30am, try to alter your remaining pitches. Something about them isn’t resonating. There’s an important caveat here, though: some books simply don’t sum up well and some people are better at crafting pitches than others. Querying is always open to you. Twitter pitch events fast track responses, but no matter how good a pitch is, you still have to send materials, so it comes down to what’s in your book, not the number of likes on a tweet.

Meredith: Okay, let’s go to the other extreme: what do you do if you get a ton of likes?

Also Meredith: Absorb the serotonin like it’s the sun’s rays.

Meredith: Are you going to be helpful or…

Also Meredith: I’m serious! Any agent like or editor retweet is a win. These are dark days. CELEBRATE the wins. Enjoy the serotonin. What you did was amazing: you captured the attention of industry professionals (and probably a bunch of randos who don’t understand the pitch contest and give you annoying false hope). Don’t feel like you have to immediately send out your material. You can just enjoy basking in the likes.

Meredith: Okay, after reveling, then what the next day?

Also Meredith: Spreadsheets!

Meredith: Zzzzz

Also Meredith: It’s not (necessarily) sexy, but you need to make a list of every agent who liked your tweet and every editor who retweeted. From there, I recommend creating a spreadsheet with information including the agent, their agency, when you sent the material, when they requested more (fingers crossed), and then when you sent the full. This is self-care. You’ll thank me when you get an offer of rep and you’re not frantically rummaging through your email to see who requested and who you need to notify because maybe you queried them… Mess.

Meredith: Should you send material to every agent who requests?

Also Meredith: Definitely not. Do research first. Querying is the Pit of Despair and takes a toll on your self-esteem as a writer. You don’t want to be in there more than once if you can avoid it. If you have a good fit the first time, there’s a chance you won’t have to query EVER AGAIN. So do your research. Word of mouth is the strongest in this business. Ask around, DM, check AbsoluteWrite for red flag agents. Look at PW sales if it’s an established agent and agency sales if it’s a new agent. See what agencies represent your favorite books in your genre. I’m a fan of making A and B lists of preferred agents and having a mix of those in each query round. That way if you later find out your original query sucked, you didn’t waste your shot with all of your A list agents. If you start getting requests, query the rest of your A list before you send out fulls. But don’t send material to an agent you wouldn’t sign with. That’s not respectful of your time or theirs.

Meredith: That’s good advice.

Also Meredith: I try.

Meredith: So my last question is what do you do if you end up with a ton of likes but ultimately no agent?

Also Meredith: Accept that it’s a let down, because it is. It’s incredibly hard not to compare yourself with others when you start seeing agent signings being announced and even book deals coming quickly out of DVPit. Patience is key, as is the recognition that every road is different for every writer. Some are windier. And even though everyone participating is marginalized, some concepts are still more sellable than others. However, you should look at possible other causes than: this is just a hard sell. The two main culprits are: your query letter needs serious work or, and this one hurts the most, your manuscript needs a lot of work. The silver lining is that all of that agent interest means you have an excellent concept and if you work on your manuscript you’ll likely still have interest. If you interacted with other DVPit participants during the event, hopefully you gained a critique partner.

This is where the community part comes in and why meeting other writers during DVPit is better than likes. You can exchange openings and see if you like each other’s critique styles/materials and then work to better each other’s manuscripts. Take a breath, step away from social media if those announcements after DVPit start getting to you. Then sit and do another revision pass. I’m rooting for you!

Meredith: Thank you for your time. Good luck on revising THE JASMINE PROJECT.

Also Meredith: *sobs into bag of chocolate* I got this.

About the Author

Meredith Ireland is a practicing civil litigation attorney and Young Adult author. Born in Seoul, Korea, she was adopted as a baby by a New York family. Her adoptive father was a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library and no doubt the source of her love of books.

Fate and a variety of questionable choices brought her to Saratoga Springs, New York, where she currently resides with her two children, and two carnival goldfish who will outlive us all. She hopes to one day have a writing treehouse, despite being deathly afraid of birds.

Meredith Ireland is a practicing civil litigation attorney and Young Adult author. Born in Seoul, Korea, she was adopted as a baby by a New York family. Her adoptive father was a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library and no doubt the source of her love of books.

Fate and a variety of questionable choices brought her to Saratoga Springs, New York, where she currently resides with her two children, and two carnival goldfish who will outlive us all. She hopes to one day have a writing treehouse, despite being deathly afraid of birds.

Find Meredith Ireland’s work on her Website and Twitter.

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