Pitch Wars: The 35-word and Twitter Pitch … simplified

Young desperate girl writing with an old typewriter. Conceptual

Is your 35-word pitch (aka logline) ready? Got a Twitter pitch? Many contests require a 35-word pitch to enter. If you make it into Pitch Wars, your mentor will help you come up with a short pitch, but having something ready will make the process easier.  Also, #PitMad is coming June 9 from 8AM to 8PM EDT. Don’t know what #PitMad is? Go here for the details.  So I thought I’d give you some formulas I use  to come up with my short pitches. It’s great to have memorized when attending conferences, so if you’re asked what your manuscript is about, you have a coherent pitch to rattle off. You don’t want to lose an agent’s attention by giving them a huge exposé of every detail in your story.  Here’s some simplified formulas. I hope it helps you to come up with a pitch that hooks.

The 35-word pitch or logline for your story must be exciting and pull your reader in. One to two catchy sentences that grab your reader’s attention.

  • Use generalities, don’t use name of things that the agents won’t understand.
  • Don’t use rhetorical questions.
  • Make sure the stakes are clear. What does your character stand to lose if he doesn’t accomplish his goal(s)?
  • Don’t be vague. You don’t want to confuse the agents or for it to sound vanilla.
  • Don’t keep secrets. Avoid saying things like your character has special skills or a hidden agenda. Clearly state in the pitch the special skill or hidden agenda.


The “take action” pitch …

[Protagonist] in [a situation] must [take action] to solve [the problem].

Example: Yanked into a gateway book that links the world’s great libraries, Gia finds that she’s a long lost knight and must now stop a scorned wizard hell-bent on creating an apocalypse.

The “when” pitch …

When [protagonist] discovers/learns/other similar word [catalyst], he/she must [overcome x] before a deadline or ticking clock, or else [stakes].

Example: When sixteen-year-old Gia Kearns accidentally jumps into a book linking the world’s libraries, she finds she’s a long lost knight and must stop an evil wizard from releasing an apocalyptic being that can destroy both the Mystik and human realms.


Add what is unique about your story to your pitch. That something cool that makes an agent/editor sit up and notice the pitch.

Example: Yanked into a gateway book that links the world’s great libraries, Gia finds that she’s a long lost knight and must now stop a scorned wizard hell-bent on creating an apocalypse.


Twitter pitches …

Twitter pitching on hashtags such as #PitMad have yielded many successes. Finding the perfect Twitter pitch can be a difficult task. A Twitter pitch is 140 characters (max). Whittle down your 35-word pitch (logline) to come up with the perfect Twitter pitch.

Example: Yanked into a gateway book linking the world’s libraries, Gia discovers she’s a long lost knight and must stop an apocalypse. #PitMad #YA


Good luck pitching, and I hope to see you on June 9 for our next #PitMad!


Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

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  1. This is major help! Thank you for using the colors to show what part belongs to which piece of the requirement. The best help yet! You are excellent!

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  2. Thanks so much Brenda. Condensing my book into a 140 word pitch is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. I think I have one ready to go now, using one of your examples. I’ll be ready for #PitMad on June 9th. Thanks!

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  3. Will there be a #PitMad practice?

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  4. Thank you again for the valuable advice. It’s great to have examples to go by. Even if I dont participate in the Twitter contests pitch it’s still great to follow for the examples. These are great, too!

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  5. Hi Brenda,
    I have two finished, polished manuscripts & synopses. How do I go about entering #PitchWars? Do you tweet the 35-word pitch on the day of the contest? A little confused still. Thanks.

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  6. Thank you for this explanation of the Twitter Pitch! We are almost finished writing our children’s book and are so excited to share it! 🌺

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  7. These examples are for commercial fiction (what does the character have to overcome, at what cost). Does Pitchwar work for Literary fiction? or Upmarket

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    • This is just a sample from my book. You can use the formula to fit with literary fiction. Pitch Wars takes all novel length fiction in MG, YA, NA, and Adult. It depends on the mentors like, which they will reveal during the wishlist blog hop starting July 19.

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