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Drinking From a Firehose

Posted on Sep 11, 2015 by in The Scrawl |

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So yesterday I reluctantly participated in a Twitter pitch contest called #PitMad. Relunctantly not because of anything to do with the contest, actually, just because it’s been a long few weeks and participating in those can be a little exhausting. The exhaustion comes, primarily, from trying to peruse the hashtag, retweeting what strikes you as interesting, and then waiting to see if you get any bites from it.

That, along with two tweets I saw from agents, makes me give the whole thing a little different look. The two agents, who shall remain nameless, said essentially the same thing, “I probably won’t have time to sort through #PitMad today, but query me if you think we should work together.”

Hmm… If I don’t have time to go filtering the tweets and managed, more than anything else, to simply retweet what my closer Twitter contacts retweeted, then how much value are agents seeing in that process? Think about it for a second. Agents are inundated with queries. I assure you, I have never known a professional agent who found themselves without queries, partials, full manuscripts, contract reviews, correspondence with editors, etc. And now they are going to read through literally thousands of tweets. Please hear me, I absolutely believe there are numerous agents who do exactly that. But it made me wonder if these contests are as effective as they are meant to be, primarily because of how popular they are.

I use food analogies quite a bit because I’m a bit of a fat guy in a little coat, so here’s one more: if I were told that I would be judging a chili contest I might be happy. If I were told I would be judging a chili contest and that I – ME, MYSELF, PERSONALLY – would have to sample ten thousand entries, I would not be happy. I like chili as much as the next guy (except for Skyline), but ten thousand individual bites of chili would just be some Monty Python-esque form of torture(I’m sure they were wafer thin).

And yes, agents can sort and filter the hashtag. Yes, they can use a number of data mining tools to get at the gems. But remember when I listed a brief description of their tasks? Would an hour reading those tweets be of greater value than an hour spent emptying their inbox? If I were an agent, no. Because at the end of the day, all they’re doing is adding a step to their already laborious query process.


But then, I’m not an agent. I can’t say where they are or how they see it. These are just my thoughts.

And to throw an announcement on the end of this post, that book that I’m giving away? It goes live, in this space on 9/17/15, next Thursday. So there’s at least one thing you can look forward to.