XpoNorth invites writers in Scotland to pitch their work over Twitter

Advice from agents and publishers, as Scottish writers are given the chance to tweet them ideas

XpoNorth invites writers in Scotland to pitch their work over Twitter

Tomorrow (or more specifically, Wed 6 Jan 2016), a host of literary agents and publishers will be scouring Twitter in the hopes of finding the next big literary thing.

Emergents / XPONorth are hosting a Twitter pitch event, in which writers across Scotland are invited to tweet about their ideas in 135 characters or fewer (that's your standard 140 characters minus the hashtag, which we explain below).

A host of literary agents and publishers (including Jenny Brown, Canongate, Freight, Black & White and Floris Books) will be looking at the tweets, and if they're interested to hear more, will be contacting the writers behind the user handles.

Since these book-wise folk are often inundated with pitches and submissions, we thought it'd be a good idea to ask them for tips on tomorrow's tweetathon, so you and that novel you've been sitting on can stand out from the crowd.

Laura, Freight Books
'I love hearing a strong, original idea that leaves me wanting more. To get this across effectively in a quick pitching session, take the time beforehand to identify and concisely summarise a few key points. The limitations of Twitter's character allowance can be rather good practise, generally, for distilling an idea down to its key selling point and making one clearly defined, punchy impression!'

Jo, Canongate
'I don’t underestimate how hard it is to sell a novel in 140 characters! But actually, being forced to keep your pitch short is one of the best things that could happen to you as a writer. Given an unlimited word count, it’s easy to get tied up in trying to explain plot details and nuances of character but forget what it is that you really wanted to highlight about your book. Comparisons are good, when used well – James Joyce meets Jurassic Park, for example (someone write that!) – as they give a clear idea of your book without wasting many words. I wouldn’t spend any time telling an agent or editor how wonderful your writing is on the line – it should go without saying that you can write a lovely sentence, and it’s also something that only reading your book will prove.'

Jenny Brown Agents
'Give us the hook, take us to the heart of the story, including the conflict, obstacle, dilemma or secret. Make it sound unique. Intrigue us rather than giving it all away. And let us connect emotionally with your story. Don’t waste space by telling us characters’ names, or place names. You can omit articles (the, a, an) to get in under 140 characters. A trick that has worked is varying your tweets about the same book. Have two or three different pitch options and vary them throughout the day. But don’t repeat the same pitch again and again. If an agent or publisher favourites your pitch, it’s a sign that you can then follow up with them directly. Follow the guidance on the Emergents website.'

Black & White
'Our perfect pitch: 1. Tell us what it is 2. Get us hooked 3. What makes it special? 4. Make us care about your characters #wellbeintouch!'

Floris Books (see also @discoverkelpies)
'Know your age group and inspire us with your writing skills!'

How to take part:
Between 1midnight on 5 / 6 Jan and midnight 6 / 7 Jan 2016, tweet your pitch using the hashtag #xpo, plus one of the following letters:

B for crime fiction
C for children books
G for other general fiction
N for nonfiction
S for SF
W for fiction for women
Y for YA
e.g. using this system, the pitch for a children's book would end #xpoc.

Happy tweeting, writers.


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