How to win #PitMad without getting an agent like

Patrick Hopkins
3 min readAug 27, 2021

You’ve polished your query.

You’ve written and rewritten and gashed and sliced and crushed and minced and salt-and-peppered (and baked at 400 degrees for 35 minutes: serves one agent, ideally) your pitches. You have one of these formats for each:

  1. COMP X COMP [or situation/noun/etc.]

Character is in situation. But when X happens, character must decide whether to do one thing or the other. #hashtags


a thing

another thing

ooh, a third thing

a complex thing

stakes/how they tie together

You’ve scheduled each tweet (I recommend having one be early because of this).

Your synopsis is, somehow, only a page long, down from four pages.

Your pages … well, let’s hope, right? LOTS to do there.

And you’ve built a list of people to RT — despite the fact that agents can turn off RTs:

If you’re using Tweetdeck, we recommend you exclude retweets in the column settings. Look under “Tweet content.”

Then PitMad comes. You retweet like you’re getting paid to. One of your friends hits 400 retweets.


… from someone who likes the idea but is not an agent.

ANOTHER LIKE! FROM A … vanity press.

And so on. Each notification sends you soaring with potential, only for … nothing to be an agent like.


After all that?








… or did you?

Here’s the thing: You can have everything lined up perfectly. Your favorite writer can like your pitch, retweet, comment with something gushing, and STILL you might get no agent likes because there are sooooo many pitches and this is all sooooo subjective. It’s art. What one person likes is a trash fire to another, or maybe juuust wrong enough to be not a fit for them.

But you have won without getting an agent like. That’s because you’ve focused on what you can control. See, assuming that your stuff really is ready (I’ve helped people get pages requests and agents, and I’m happy to check your stuff out in my feedback group), you now have the perfect start for cold querying/slush, which is FAR more likely to get pages requests than are Twitter pitch events. I have a document of roughly 450 successful queries (each one led to an offer of representation). Only three queries are from Twitter pitch events.

In addition to potentially having improved your stuff to the point where you’re ready to query, you’ve met people who can help, and who can teach you — and whom you can help and teach. That’s the community part of writing community. Succeeding in a vacuum is impossible because it’s not the process.

In writing, as in life, when you focus on what you can control and how you can improve, you can win without getting exactly what you wanted. Sometimes your best can’t be good enough because of factors you can’t control. But when you improve, you win, and you get closer to your ultimate goal, whether that’s getting a book deal, having someone check your book out at the library or, if you’re me, saving a queer kid’s life.

Good luck :)