Normally I try to post at least once a week, but I am in the midst of a transition, I have taken a new job, one that I have worked my whole career towards. I also finished the book I’ve been writing over the holidays. I love that story where the love interests rescue each other. So much hurt, and baggage and two people have to make the decision to look past all of the distractions and just love each other… swoon! Anyway, with a job transition, finishing up grad school, and finishing a novel, life has been BUSY! So busy in fact, that I almost missed #KissPitch, the Twitter pitch contest for romance writers.
I saw the announcement of the annual pitch contest two days before Valentine’s Day, the day of the event. How perfect is that, a romance pitching event on Valentine’s Day! I woke on the morning of Valentine’s Day still unsure of if I was going to pitch or not. I rolled over as my alarm clock went off and asked my husband if I should pitch or not. His response was tepid. As I got ready for the day I thought more about it, and thought maybe I should pitch one of the other finished books that I haven’t tried to query yet. I purposed this idea to my husband, who initially said,” yes, pitch the one with the PR lady.” He meant the book, What Was Meant to Be. It is the story of two best friends who have chemistry, ignore it while moving on with life and then through tragedy, can no longer ignore the obvious. It also has one of my most favorite scenes that I have ever written in it.
I thought about it and thought about the other finished works I had that I could pitch and my very first novel, that I rewrote over the fall, was ready to go too. It had been edited, although not professionally (confession moment!) I thought I would put that one out there too. I adore that book not only because it was the first one I ever wrote, but the male love interest, David is DREAMY! Sailing in Silicon Valley is about a young woman who falls in love with her brother’s older boss, David.
So as I drove to work I crafted my pitches and my strategy. The contest ran form 9 am EST to 9 pm.EST. Part of my strategy is to have my pitch retweeted as many times as possible, the goal being that it is seen more. I also wanted to retweet fellow romance authors who were pitching on the same day. I figure the more romance out there, the better, am I right? Spread the love folks. Anyway, I sent my first pitch out at 9:30 am, for What was Meant to Be, here it is:
“Everything changes in one tragic moment for best friends Gabe and Lis. Clinging to each other to make it through the aftermath, Friendship turns to passion, then love but a lot stands in the way of their happily ever after, like her absentee husband. #KissPitch #CR”
I sent out my second pitch around noon, for Sailing in Silicon Valley, here it is:
“Naomi is visiting her brother for the summer in Silicon Valley when she falls hard for her brother’s sexy, older boss. David isn’t expecting to fall in love with his most brilliant employee’s little sister. What begins as a steamy fling turns into so much more. #KissPitch #CR”
I had moderate success with both pitches and watched eagerly as those who meant well liked my pitches. In a Twitter pitch contest, only agents are supposed to like the pitch, supporters who want to be helpful are supposed to retweet instead. Each time I’d get a notification from Twitter that someone had liked one of the pitches, I’d eagerly hop on and investigate. By 3 pm. I had felt dejected. I thought about recrafting the pitches and sending them back out, you’re allowed to do up to four pitches in total. I thought about it and decided to just retweet what I had already put out there myself, and get on with my day. I did one last check-in at the end of the day and saw I had another like on the Sailing in Silicon Valley… and wait for it…. it was from a real AGENT!! AHHHHHHH! After I stopped doing the happy dance around my office I began to investigate the agent, it turns out I had pitched a different book to her almost a year ago to the day! This agent is like my dream agent.
I called my husband and told him this amazing news, not quite believing it myself. After the elation waned, fear set in, real fear. I had not had the manuscript professionally copyedited yet. I can envision my fellow authors reading this, screaming at the screen, “Then why did you pitch it!?!?” I had a plan, to run through it again, hire a copyeditor on Upwork and have it in the agent’s inbox before Monday. I only had to submit the first 50 pages after all, and a query letter. All Valentine’s Day evening plans went out the window, I had work to do. Dreams don’t come to you, you have to go out there and get them! So roses, steak dinner, romantic movie, all of it had to wait, I had work to do. I put the first fifty pages up on UpWork and shortly got a rejection for the project due to the adult content. It has a love scene in it. Panicked that I wasn’t going to be able to have someone else look at it, I reached out to my best friend. She was a senior assistant for the state government for her entire career, and nothing gets past her. She told me to send her the pages and she’d turn them around quickly too.
By Sunday morning I had my query letter done, and the first fifty pages of the manuscript had been scoured. I submitted them. Submitting a query is like no other experience I can think of. There’s excitement, adrenaline, reassurance, hope… then you hit send.. then comes fear, angst, nervousness… It is the worst. Meanwhile, I continued to pour over the book. My poor husband looked at me wondering if we were ever going to have a real Valentine’s day celebration. Aside from checking my inbox relentlessly, we did have our date. Word came on Monday morning of a polite decline from the agent. I knew that it was unlikely that this might be “it” my big break, but I still hoped.
So, that was an adventure and a learning experience for sure. I learned that one had better have work ready to be sent asap when pitching. I also learned that my writing has improved as I re-read through the re-written manuscript. I think I may table my current manuscript making the query rounds and might try this book instead. If it doesn’t work, there’s always another one waiting in the wings.