Hey you! You with your mind full of beautifully scary things, sulking there at your laptop, pouting over a world ignorant of the words poured out of your twisted, sexy soul. There is someone out there trying to improve your plight at this very moment, so let me tell you about him. I know Jason from my work as an editor for Pandamoon Publishing. He is a talented author with a debut supernatural novel just out, a fellow member of the Horror Writer’s Association, and a dedicated and supportive peer in the writing community. He also seems to keep his whip-smart sense of humor at all times, despite his busy life of practicing law, writing excellent fiction, and getting ready to be a new dad. When he came up with the idea for #PitDark, I was one among many who jumped at the chance to help promote it. He has put in a great deal of hard work securing agents and editors for participating authors, as well as putting his mighty Twitter following to good use in getting the word out. I will be one of the editors reading pitches for Pandamoon Publishing on May 12th, and my creepy little heart can’t wait.
So, what’s a Twitter Pitch Party?
It all started with Brenda Drake’s #PitMad: a brilliant use of Twitter where authors can sum up their novel in 140 characters or less, and “pitch” to the publishers, editors, and agents currently interested in acquiring new projects. Just another way modern social media can help an author circumvent the slush pile. After the success of #PitMad, numerous pitch parties have cropped up to serve specialized genres and demographic representation.
How is #PitDark different? Well, I’ll let this excerpt from the rules/info page say it:
#PitDark is the first and only Twitter pitch event to highlight literature of a “darker” nature. Importantly, this is not limited to horror works; however, any pitched manuscript must contain an element of horror or darker writing. Examples of such categories include pure horror novels, dark fantasy, murder mysteries, psychological horror stories, non-fiction works about darker subjects, etc. MG, YA, NA, and adult age categories are welcome.
I can tell you that as a horror fan/editor who has read pitches for pitch parties before (of which there are now many), I have found the lack of horror pitches frustrating. Horror (and its comparative genres) offers an expansive opportunity for literary genius, and still the majority of the mainstream seem to throw lazy tropes full of werewolves, vampires, and zombies at it. I hope #PitDark will encourage a flood of authors to see dark literature as an esteemed place to hang their categorical hat, so to speak. While the Big Six may not be obviously clamoring for it, there are legions of fans who are and publishing professionals that realize that.
Jason took some time out of his very busy schedule to answer some questions for all of you, so have a look:
S: Tell me about your inspiration for #PitDark.
J: Well, I am the product of a pitch contest—when I was first sending out my manuscript to agents and publishers, I stumbled across a Twitter event called #PitMad. At that time, I was new to Twitter and unfamiliar with #PitMad. So, I decided to send out a couple tweets about my unpublished horror manuscript, FATE’S PAST. To my surprise, my tweets were favorited a few times. A month later, I signed a publishing contract with Pandamoon Publishing. And because a pitch contest changed my literary life, I’ve always wanted to get involved in some manner with a pitch contest.
S: As a horror author, what are some of the struggles and stumbling blocks you both directly encounter and see your fellow horror authors dealing with when seeking publication?
J: I think there are misconceptions about horror. Many people think of horror in the “blood and guts” sense. Horror is not so limited; in fact, I could argue that horror is the broadest of all genres. Also, there are fewer agents that represent horror; for example, if you put in “thriller and suspense” as a category in QueryTracker, it will present you with 377 agents representing that genre. On the other hand, if you search for agents who represent horror, only 70 agents will pop up. This is especially interesting as there is a great deal of cross-over between the horror and thriller genres. The benefit, however, is that people who are into horror tend to be very into horror. My only advice is to really know your book and comparable works. If you are going to pitch your work as horror, you better be able to explain why it fits into that genre.
S: How do you see #PitDark serving the community of both writers and publishers of dark literature?
J: There simply wasn’t a pitch contest that targeted writers of dark and horror works. #SFFPit does a great job of highlighting Science Fiction and Fantasy writers; we hope that #PitDark can do the same for its target audience.
S: Can you share the names of some of the participating publishers and agents?
J: Over *twenty agents and editors have confirmed they are participating in #PitDark! Confirmed participating agencies and publishers include, among many others, The Bent Agency, McIntosh & Otis, Writers House, ChiZine Publications, and Pandamoon Publishing.
S: Your debut supernatural novel comes out soon. What steps did you take to get published?
J: I pitched in #PitMad! My biggest hope is that someone else finds the same publishing success I have because of #PitDark.
S: Do you have any advice for fellow writers looking for the right publisher?
J: There is no one “right” way to get published. For me, I’ve loved working with an indie press like Pandamoon because I’ve had a great deal of input into things like my cover design and marketing. Others may be more interested in having a larger press do everything. And, of course, there is self-publishing for those who want total control. My only advice would be to really think about how you want to be published before you start submitting, because once you sign that dotted line, there’s no going back.
S: In the horror/dark literature genre, what themes and “big questions” inspire your writing the most?
J: Regret, destiny, and the fear of death.
S: What is Fate’s Past about and what inspired the story?
J: The idea for FATE’S PAST came to me as I was driving with my wife on a beautiful road in Oregon. The original concept was about how someone would react to driving on an endless, unchanging road. That morphed into the current story about a couple on a road trip to New Orleans who are hunted by their biggest regrets.
S: When and where can readers get their hands on Fate’s Past?
J: FATE’S PAST is available on Amazon in print, on Kindle, and for FREE on Kindle Unlimited!
*30+ agents/editors at time of this post
So, if you are an author of dark literature, please head directly to the rules and info page for #PitDark and start getting your pitches ready. The #PitDark page has all the info and advice you need, as well links to help you craft great pitches. If you are not an author, but would like to support the Dark Lit community, please share this post via social media and help get the word out. The more authors that get signed, the more great books you will have to read and have your art/film/life inspired by.
I’ll be reading pitches (maybe yours?) for Pandamoon Publishing on May 12th! I’ll be using my editing twitter handle: @Saren Richardson.