PitDark – May 2016

Welcome to #PitDark, the only Twitter pitching contest for dark literature!

#PitDark is the first and only Twitter pitch event to highlight literature of a “darker” nature.  Importantly, this is not limited to horror works; however, any pitched manuscript must contain an element of horror or darker writing.  Examples of such categories include pure horror novels, dark fantasy, murder mysteries, psychological horror stories, non-fiction works about darker subjects, etc.  MG, YA, NA, and adult age categories are welcome.

The first #PitDark will take place on May 12, 2016. 

PitDark May 12

The Basics

The contest will happen on Twitter under a common hashtag (#PitDark). During a 12-hour window on the chosen day, authors with completed manuscripts who are seeking representation or publication can tweet a pitch for their books (at most, once per hour).

Agents and publishers will make requests by marking pitches as a favorite on Twitter. If your tweet is favorited, please follow the agent or publisher’s submission guidelines. 

General Pitch Party Rules

  • Pitch limit. Please do not pitch more than once an hour, per manuscript.
  • Time-frame:  8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.  Please do not pitch before or after this twelve-hour period.

Please follow these guidelines to keep this event fair to everyone involved!

When to Pitch

This event happens annually.  The first #PitDark is scheduled for May 12, 2016.  On pitch day, we will go from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern

What to Pitch

Participants get one pitch per hour, per manuscript.  

This contest is for completed, unpublished manuscripts. Complete means that it’s proofed, polished, and ready for submission. Unpublished means you haven’t self-published it online, on Amazon, or in print. For more information on genres, please see below.

Genre mashups, such as dark fantasy, are welcome, as long as you’re not just trying to pass off your book as something that doesn’t contain “darker” themes.

How To Pitch

Your pitch should contain four elements:

  1. First and foremost, the hashtag for the contest, #PitDark.
  2. An indication of the book’s age category. 
  3. An indication of the books’s genre in existing terms. See below for hashtags.  A genre hashtag is mandatory.
  4. pitch for your book. Ideally, it should tell us character, desire, obstacle(s), and stakes

You should tweet your pitch no more than once per hour throughout the day. Make sure each tweet is slightly different, as tweeting identical text is a violation of Twitter’s guidelines.

Hashtags for Age Category

Please use these hashtags to indicate the target age group for your book:

  • #YA – Young adult
  • #NA – New adult
  • #A – Adult

Hashtags for Genre

Please use a hashtag to indicate the genre of your book. The following are example hashtags that may be relevant to your manuscript:

  • #H – horror
  • #PH – psychological horror
  • #GH – gothic horror
  • #CSH – cosmic horror
  • #BH – body horror
  • #CH – comedy horror
  • #DC – dark comedy
  • #SFH – science fiction horror
  • #PNH – paranormal horror
  • #ZH – zombie horror
  • #MH – monster horror
  • #GRH – graphic horror
  • #MM – murder mystery
  • #FA – fantasy
  • #DF – dark fantasy
  • #T – thriller
  • #EF – epic or high fantasy
  • #HF – historical fantasy
  • #LF – literary fantasy
  • #AH – alternate history
  • #PN – paranormal
  • #PR – paranormal romance
  • #UF – urban fantasy
  • #MR – magical realism
  • #SF – science fiction
  • #AF – apocalypse fiction
  • #ML – military science fiction
  • #PA – post-apocalyptic SF
  • #SFT – sci-fi thriller
  • #SH – superhero / superhuman
  • #SO – space opera
  • #DS – dystopian
  • #SP – steampunk
  • #TT – time travel
  • #WW – weird west
  • #SPEC – speculative fiction
  • #NF – non-fiction

Feel free to use two genre tags, as long as they’re compatible (e.g. #FA #DF), but there’s no pressing need to have more than one. For a description and some examples of these subgenres, see the Genre Subcategories post by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary. Please let me know — by e-mail or Twitter — if I haven’t specified your subgenre!

Pitching Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines to ensure fairness and respect during the contest.

Please DO:

  • Pitch completed, unpublished manuscripts that represent your best work.
  • Include the contest hashtag, #PitDark.
  • Use appropriate hashtags for age category and genre/subgenre.
  • Pitch your book once an hour to give everyone a chance to see it.
  • Make sure that your tweets are not identical. Twitter will block multiple instances of the same tweet, so be sure to move the hashtags around or change a character each time.
  • Follow submission guidelines. Scroll up in an agent or publisher’s tweets to see what they are, and be sure to follow them.

Please DON’T:

  • Pitch more than once an hour, per manuscript. This ensures that no one spams the hashtag, and gives everyone a fair shake.
  • Pitch directly to agents or publishers (unless invited to do so). In other words, don’t use @ at the beginning of your pitch.
  • Use weird formatting or images to get attention. No ALL CAPS or multiple lines. These are annoying.
  • Use the hashtag to self-promote. This is not the place to hock your e-book, editorial services, etc.
  • Favorite other pitches unless you’re an agent or publisher. There’s nothing more disappointing than getting notification that your tweet was favorited, only to find out it was just another author.

Who Is Participating? 

See below for a list of a few of the participating agents and publishers. This is not an exhaustive list, and since #PitDark is a public event, many more agents and publishers are likely to join in on the day! Please be sure to research any agent or publisher that likes your pitch. There is no obligation to submit your work to anyone you don’t want to.

Agents:

The Bent Agency

Chalberg & Sussman

The Cooke Agency

The Deborah Harris Agency

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

Falkin Literary

Full Circle Literary

Harvey Klinger Inc.

Inklings Literary Agency, LLC

Janklow & Nesbit

Linnan Literary Management LLC

Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc

The McDermid Agency

McIntosh & Otis

Rees Literary Agency

Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Talcott Notch Literary Services

Writers House

Publishers:

ChiDunnit (ChiZine Publications)

ChiGraphic (ChiZine Publications)

Crimson Edge Press

Fat Lip Press

Jolly Fish Press

Pandamoon Publishing

REUTS Publications

Sands Press

Skyhorse Publishing

If you are an agent, editor, or publisher who would like to be listed as a #PitDark participant, please contact me.

Pitching Tips & Advice

The following are a few great articles for Twitter pitching advice:

15 Comments

  1. Hi Thomas,

    Thank you for the comment! This pitch contest is for novels and non-fiction book manuscripts, which are generally 55K+ words.

  2. Hi.. My name is Catherine Anne Haydney..I have written a supernatural thriller.. But I also live in the UK..I am also on Twitter ..and could really do with an agent representing me.. I do hope you can possibly help..!!!

  3. The hashtags for cosmic horror and comedy horror are the same. I’ll be pitching a comedy horror and would hate for a genre mixup!

  4. Hi Loryn,

    Thanks for pointing that out! We have changed Cosmic Horror to #CSH.

  5. This is great! Wish it occurred more than once a year, but it’s a start, right?

    One editing note: under #FA, it should read “fantasy” and not “fantasty”

  6. Hi Jennifer,

    I believe you can participate unless you have an exclusivity agreement with the contest or a participating agent.

  7. Thanks Tobin! And you never heard of the subgenre “fantasty?” You should check out George R.R. Marttin and C. S. Lewist. 🙂

  8. Jason,

    Is there a protocol for what authors should do if a pitch is favorited by an agent who the MS has already been submitted to (assuming it hasn’t gotten a response), or if the MS is currently in the slush query pile of an agent at the same agency as the favoriting agent?

    Thanks!

  9. Standard protocol is to @mention the agent or editor and let them know. Usually, the agent or editor will come back with a “thanks for letting me know; you don’t have to resubmit” kind of response. In addition, some agents and editors are proactive about it and will mention it in a tweet during the event along the lines of “sorry if I fave your tweet and you’ve already submitted to me” and then either “you don’t have to resubmit” or “if I’ve declined you, don’t resubmit unless there has been significant changes.” Please do not otherwise @mention an agent or editor unless they tweet at your first. Be sure to always check the submission guidelines of any agent or editor who favorites your pitch.

  10. Hi Jason –

    Thanks for creating this contest. It was fun to participate and insightful to see what agents are seeking. Good luck with your writing!

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