Today I participated in my first ever Twitter Pitch Madness, sometimes called Pitch Wars.
For those who don't know, it's a quarterly event where aspiring authors have twelve hours on twitter to pitch their finished, polished, unpublished book ideas to agents and publishers who are following the hashtag.
Or, at least, everyone hopes that they are. The rules are simple: write the best synopsis you can within the 280 character limit of a single tweet, and include the hashtag #PitMad. Then try to get as many retweets as you can so that, hopefully, it will be spotted by agents looking for clients.
I learned two things today, good and bad.
The bad is that there's a LOT of people out there who think they have what it takes to be a professional author. That means it's going to be harder than I thought to cut through the clutter and get noticed.
The good news is that, at least from my perspective, most of these people are just fooling themselves.
I've read a few bad books in my years, and heard of some pretty crappy ideas for a book. I've even come up with a couple of horrible ones myself.
But nothing prepared me for what my eyes saw today.
I think they're still bleeding!
From gender-reversed takes on stories that have already been done to death, to ideas, plots, and characters that I'd never be able to force myself to read if you put a gun to my head.
I knew it was bad out there, especially with self-publishing now being so cheap and easy.
Here is an example of what I mean.
I'd flirted with a site called Inkitt for a few months until I finally came to the conclusion that it was a waste of time. The premise and promise of Inkitt is that you publish your work (most of it's free to download and read), and the reader will, through liking, rating, and commenting on your work, help the owners/operators of Inkitt, Galatea Press, separate the wheat from the chaff. If your novel does well enough on there, they'll offer you a publishing contract.
Inkitt is currently overrun with two types of novels, which are sucking all the oxygen out of the room.
Bad porn (people thinking they've written the next Fifty Shades), and bad Werewolf porn.
I Sh&t you not!
Every third or forth work on there seems to be about werewolves or other shapeshifters. And virtually all of it obviously erotica-based.
The sad thing is these stories are often getting a lot of likes and rave reviews, but from what I could tell of the reviewers, they're the type of pimple-faced boys and (and some girls) that would never spend a dime to actually buy a book. They simply want to keep the authors pumping out more of the same so they've got a continual fresh supply of....
How shall I put this....
A continual fresh supply of words to read while spending some quality time alone with themselves.
I hate to be the one to break it to these "authors", but when you're cranking out twelve of these novels in twelve months, you are NOT going to get picked up and published.
But back to #PitMad.
There wasn't as much of the sort of trash that's all over Inkitt, or at least I didn't see much of it. But still, it was somewhat disheartening to again realize how much effort it's going to take to break through all the chaff that's cluttering up the literary radar.
The good news is, and maybe this is just my ego speaking, once an agent DOES get a clear return on their screan, I should be golden!
I just hope and pray that they aren't all looking for works that "send a message."
I write what I want to read -- novels designed for pure entertainment and escapism. I do NOT want to be preached to about anything political or social from either end of the spectrum. I keep my politics out of my writing, and will not read for enjoyment anything that does the opposite. It is my hope that the majority of fantasy and sci-fi readers are the same.
At least I've got a small but growing fanbase via self-publishing! Either way, wish me luck on this year's #PitMad!