So I went through the new to me hashtags and worked my way back to an article called "February #10Queries Event". It was an event that would show editors during a twelve hour timespan tweeting about submitted queries and first five pages. I have a few other agents and editors I follow that do something similar, and I'm always fascinated by what makes an agent or editor pick up or reject a manuscript. (Follow @LZats and her #500Queries thread if you aren't already.)
I needed to keep up on this shit! It was a no-brainer to go through the rafflecopter widget the blog post used and see if there were any other interesting people I needed to stalk.
Not only do I love finding new writerly people on Twitter, but it would help me remember to follow the stream the day of. Well, turns out, by following these people, I was entering to win a review of my own query and first pages.
A query and first pages I didn't have yet. Which became glaringly obvious to my sleep-deprived brain when an email came through telling me I'd won and needed to send my query letter and first five pages within two days.
I texted my lovely critique partner with a huge HELP! She told that we had this, and we got to work. Oh the things we're able to accomplish when we have a deadline, am I right? I had a manuscript that was "almost" done. I had an entire notebook filled with my brainstorming scribbles, and I had a few inspiration pics along with a happy notes notebook filled with research. A polished first five and decent query? Nope. Definitely didn't have that anywhere near done.
So we worked. My CP is fucking brilliant, and somehow she says the perfect things that send me in the directions I didn't know I needed to go. We had something at the end that flowed beautifully. It had taken us all damn night, but the eve of the due date, I hit send.
Sure...the morning after I double checked everything and had a "choose/chose" error. Because OF COURSE I DID. But it was off into the void, and there was no taking back that email.
I was suddenly obsessed with following the #10Queries hashtag. The few days between us sending off our work, and the event were filled with editors teasing us in the best way.
The day of, I stalked the feed far more than I thought I would. But before you tease me relentlessly, here's the thing... I hadn't put my work out to anyone in over a year. My little creative heart was absolutely palpitating just waiting for the first scraps of feedback.
It turned out there were only a couple paranormal romance books entered into the contest, so my CP and I traded screenshots and tweets over the course of the event.
"What about this one?"
"Nah. I wouldn't describe your writing like that. Maybe this one?"
"Nope, didn't have that event in my pages. Not me."
Rinse. Repeat. Continue for twelve hours.
Okay. Event over. It ended at 10pm which is usually my bed time. Some of the editors posted that they'd sent off the reveal of who their tweets were for.
I checked my email. Nope. Not mine. I stayed up until 11:30pm that night, which for this early bird is pushing it. When I got up at five in the morning the next day (#5amclub4life) I checked again. Nope. Nothing. Nadda.
I waited, scrolled, obsessed, and guessed for the better part of the next five days, and honestly, it got a little sad. Some folks were posting about the "great feedback" and "all the work" that the editors did. Okay. I subdued my mind a little by guessing my editor must have been putting some specific suggestions together regarding my query and first five. If I had to wait a little longer for an email, I'd suffer through it.
Then the email came. Five days later. And revealed my tweets. Just my tweets. No other feedback was provided.
I think that by following along trying to figure out which tweets were mine, I lost some of the value in the other tweets. Because once I eliminated them and moved to the next, it was hard to pay attention.
Like I said, the tweets were the only feedback I received. So if you're going into this thinking you're going to get a track changes style edit, don't get your hopes up. Maybe others got more detailed review than I did, but I think it all depended on which editor was randomly assigned the projects.
While it was good for me to practice the query, and get my editing gears turning again, I don't think I'd enter this particular contest again, because I feel like I missed out on a lot of the advice in the other tweets. My obsessive mind latched onto which tweets were about me, and I couldn't stop tearing them apart looking for clues.
I think the #10Queries loop was fantastic to follow as a spectator, however. Now that I'm on the other side of the event, I've been reviewing some of the information, and I missed a lot of the good stuff.
And while I'm not jumping up and down, I do have a query letter finished that I wouldn't have otherwise. Win. I'm going to send it off to a few other people to get some detailed feedback on, because I'd like some specifics. And I'm more confident it's not a total piece of garbage. Also a win.
Turned out this event came before the due date for my #CarinaPitch entry I got a like on. So...it was a damn good couple months on Twitter for me.
Have you entered a Twitter pitch contest before? What did you think of it? Were your expectations higher than the reality? Would you enter your particular event again? I'd love to hear about it.