Before Covid-19 changed a lot of the publishing landscape in 2020, many writers, established and emerging, would attend writing conferences that would cost money to pitch to literary agents, hoping that being in person would give them an upper hand in the pitching process. Thankfully, COVID-19 disrupted the, what I call, conference industrial complex.
Writers conferences are usually very high priced events where editors, writers, and agents go to mingle in an exclusive space that’s selective and hostile to people in financial need or Disabled writers. While some offer scholarships, it’s not a full scholarship, usually, and the scholarship is limited in coverage. For example, a scholarship might only cover tuition but not travel. Writers conferences are supposed to be great networking opportunities but I’ve often found that the exclusionary nature of many conferences makes the conference a gambled investment for financially disadvantaged and Disabled writers. Many things that exist at a conference can happen online and for free.
Ever since COVID-19 occurred, many conferences had to use virtual meeting platforms like Zoom. This opened up the door for so many writers that are regularly completely shut out of networking. Barriers still exist when talking about writers conferences, though. These are barriers that still remain to this day such as platform accessibility to screen readers and scholarships only covering partial admittance or tuition even though the conference is virtual.
Because of a growing realization that diverse writers are better for an ecosystem, many other online literary events exist that have a far lower barrier to entry and foster an immense networking space. The internet. One type of this new wave of inclusive networking is called pitching events.
Pitching events are the lowest barrier to entry into traditional publishing aside from just cold emailing agents and editors. Pitching events are where writers craft a social media pitch of their completed manuscript, put key hashtags on the end of the post, and then post it for agents and editors to like. When an agent or editor likes a post, that’s an invitation for the writer to query them directly. during pitch events, non-industry users shouldn’t like posts. Non industry users should only share pitches they enjoy to give that particular writer a boost.
Many people don’t like pitch events for a number of reasons. The first being it cuts that publishing hierarchy that makes established industry professionals feel elite. Many writers don’t like pitch events because publishing has trained them to think pitch events are competition, instead of a free networking opportunity.
While pitch events can be exhausting and overwhelming, they do a lot of good things for writers and readers that drop the gatekeeping aspect of publishing.
Before I explain the benefits, I’ve compiled a list of lesser known pitch events at the bottom of this post. Readers and writers can get more value if they concentrate on less general pitch events.
Pitch events are good for readers in a number of ways, the first being author discovery. Readers can browse pitch event posts for free and discover new writers they weren’t aware of previously.
Readers can find new beta reading or sensitivity reading avenues through pitch events. Readers can actively reach out to authors if their pitch particularly grabs their attention and ask if they need a beta reader.
Readers can also join street teams this way, as well, by checking out authors that seem interesting to them.
Readers can share pitches they enjoy, thereby boosting writers that don’t have a massive following yet.
Writers receive a lot of benefits from pitch events, especially participating in lesser known pitch events. Financially disadvantaged writers get to have a secondary avenue to pitch the publishing industry aside from email.
Writers don’t have to pay money to pitch an agent or an editor, unlike pitching agents at writers conferences where the goal is to extract as much money from writers as humanly possible under the guise of providing exclusive resources.
Writers can save energy by scheduling their posts ahead of time. Writers also don’t have to travel to hotels that may not have accessibility features, either.
Writers can pitch from a familiar place. Online pitch events are not limited to geographic location so writers can network with writers from the comfort of their own home.
While it’s true pitch contest enthusiasm fluctuates, overall, pitch events help to end the gatekeeping publishing industrial complex and allow more voices to be discovered, including Disabled writers. As promised, here’s some lesser known pitch events to concentrate on so the noise isn’t overwhelming.
Pitch events of note.
The below are more targeted pitch events. I enjoy following the below events more than the mainstream events for a number of reasons, including the event timing and specificity.
- DV Pit. For all marginalized authors and agents.
- Dis Pit. Pitching event for Disabled writers.
- Pit Dark. Horror only.
- Insecure Writers Support Group and chat.
- Mock Pit. Writers receive feedback on their pitches.
- LGBT Pit. An event for LGBT+ writers exclusively.
- Author Mentor Match.
- Pitch Wars. Aimed at writers looking for long term mentors.
- Women’s pitching events.
- Calendar containing multiple pitch events.