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SFFpit Popular Tweets from Feb 2021

#SFFpits 2021 Popular Tweets

This quick look at #SFFpit popular tweets is just my casual observations as I look at participating on July 28, 2021. It’s always good to try to learn from what’s worked for others, and since Retweets seem to be what we’re after (hopefully leading to agent likes), I spent some time looking at what posts got the most RTs. I’m not comparing anyone to anything, ranking anyone or anything, or otherwise implying competition where collaboration is best. If this is useful for you, great. If not, also great. Good luck to everyone tomorrow!

BTW, I’m picking 200 RTs as my cutoff for “lots of RTs” because I’m lazy and there are way too many to analyze if I go with 100 or even 150. There were many great / awesome / wonderful tweets that got 100+ RTs. This is not meant to say 200 is good, 199 is bad, etc. Just an arbitrary cutoff to save time.

BTW2, for hashtag definitions and content details, go here.

Feb 2021 #SFFpit

On February 3 of this year, #SFFpit had six tweets that earned more than 200 retweets, two of which were by the same person with the same pitch concept (with format updated). Well done, all.

Tweet Summary
“Black Siren” @ 5:03 am
Gabi Burton
Eat Pray Love x Lovecraft @ 5:02 am
Hester Steel
Indian Alice in Wonderland (#1) @ 7:30 am
Dr. Sara Kapadia
Mononoke x Sanderson @ 5:07 am
#A #FA #EF
Daniel Roman
Chinese Queer GOT @ 5:01 am
Indian Alice in Wonderland (#2) @ 5:30 am
Dr. Sara Kapadia

NOTE: All figures shown here were from a snapshot in time. This numbers can and probably will change.

Five of the six tweets were from POC or LBGTQ+ participants, five of the six were by women (or so it appeared), and five of the six were by users with more than 2.5k followers. If there’s a lesson there, it’s that I probably need more followers–which is hardly surprising. And I need to post as quickly after 5:00 am PT as possible, so, some coffee or a timed tweet will help. Late morning and afternoon posts didn’t ever seem to get the same response (though that may just be a consequence of being up for a shorter period of time).

All of the pitched books sound like they’d be a great read, but I have no idea how many lead to agent likes (too many non-agent likes to filter) and/or agent pitches and/or representation.

“Black Siren” / 452 RTs

Very popular take on the classic Siren mythology, with a #BVM and #OWN voices update. Note that there was no summary line on this one, so “Black Siren” was taken from the text. I’m not sure the lack of a summary / title line impacted RTs one way or another, but the clear use of a diverse modification of a “traditional” trope seemed to work very well (see many of the titles below).

Eat Pray Love x Lovecraft / 345 RTs

Interesting pitch and comps. I read Lovecraft when I was younger and didn’t realize how racist it was. Never read Eat Pray Love, as I’m not quite the target demographic, but the combination of a journey of discovery and monsters sounds pretty cool. This tweet followed what seems to be “the standard” format of TITLE / text / hashtags (see below). #DF = Dark Fantasy.

Indian Alice in Wonderland #1 / 233 RTs

The second very successful tweet of this concept by Dr. Sara Kapadia, with this one two hours later in the morning than the first (see below).


Not sure if more RTs were due to timing, restructuring of text (prose vs. bullets), raising summary to top, familiarity with the concept or something else. For reference, here are the two side-by-side:

5:30 am Tweet 7:30 am Tweet
A for Alisha, the rebellious Indian girl
B for the blue tiger, her new friend
C for the magical kingdom hidden in a cave
D for the phoenix-dragon queen who threatens them all.
Together, the letters spell an adventure, an Indian ALICE IN WONDERLAND #SFFpit #MG #FA #OWN
I was born under a thousand rain drops. I roam the magical kingdom where anything is possible, even the dreams of a twelve-year-old girl who wandered in from another world. I am Badal, the blue tiger. And I am waiting. #SFFpit #Own #FA #MG

Personally, I find the second tweet a little more compelling, but I’m not sure if that’s structure or the updated text.

MONONOKE x Sanderson / 212 RTs

Fantasy is really not my genre, so I had to look up the comps. Mononoke seems to be an animated Japanese TV series, so perhaps there’s an anime / manga tie-in that would draw in a large fan base. I assume Sanderson is Brandon Sanderson, an epic fantasy author. Sounds like a cool combo. The story seems very dramatic with crazy high stakes, so no wonder it was popular. Might have to read more fantasy. Structurally, this follows the standard format. #EF = Epic Fantasy

Chinese Queer GOT / 208 RTs

I’m definitely not the target demo for this, but I love me some GoT and the title / summary got me. I wonder how much it helped that Ming has two other books published under Joan He, implying a reader fan base and offsetting the relatively small twitter follower count (compared to others with high RTs)? Not sure. Still, seems like a great concept.


Indian Alice in Wonderland #2 / 200 RT

This sounds cool. I assume the phoenix-dragon queen takes the place of the Queen of Hearts. I wasn’t sure if the A/B/C/D format implied something beyond the initialism of the bullet points, so I was a bit stuck on that, and wonder if anyone else also stumbled over this while reading. Note the non-standard format, which I like for creativity, but found a little harder to read quickly. See comments on second standard-formatted version of this tweet, above.

Lessons Learned

Obviously, this is a very, very small sample size so some of the following comes from looking at a lot of other tweets in various Pits.

1. Participate

Pretty obvious, but you can’t pitch if you’re not there. Participate even if it looks like the odds are stacked against you. For instance, it seems like users with lower follower counts get fewer RTs (for obvious reasons), the women authors do better than men (there are more women authors and readers, so maybe more participate?), and that some groups seem to do a better job supporting each other than others do (which is fine). But who knows how this all translates to agent representation, if it does at all? No matter what, it’s a chance to be seen and refine your elevator pitch, so go for it.

2. Write a Great Pitch (or Pitches)

Probably doesn’t hurt to have a great book idea with awesome comps. Brevity, emotional content, clear and very high stakes, compelling characters, all of that. In 280 characters. How hard can that be? Okay, yeah, that’s hard. Here’s a pitching guide from the SFFpit founder to help.

3. Pitch Early

The sweet spot for the most retweets appears to be between 5:01 and 5:30 am — in other words, a few minutes after the pit gets started. And all subsequent pitches should probably be made before noon, rather than evenly spaced throughout the day, but I can’t back that up with data…just an impression.

4. Use the “Standard” Structure

A lot will depend on how many characters you have available. I suspect some formats are chosen because they have fewer returns and spaces, leaving more characters free for text. But if I have the space, I’ll use this format:

Text or Bullets
#H1 #H2 #H3

Where the summary / title is in ALL CAPS to catch the reader’s eye. I’m sure there are other structures that work just as well or better, but this one seems to cover all the bases. Some examples that seem to work:

Really interesting text that tells a story.
#H1 #H2 #H3

Or something like this, if it works for your story:

Really interesting text that tells a story.
#H1 #H2 #H3

Nothing exactly mind blowing here. And if you prefer some other format, use it. There are no (few) rules here. Be free!

5. Have a Lot of Followers

Must work on this, seriously. If I want my pitches to blow up on the day, I need to build followers the rest of the year. Not my favorite thing or skill set, but that’s the way social media works.

6. Experiment

Try different pitches and formats throughout the day to see what catches peoples’ attention (withing the allowed # of pitches). That is, if your first pitch isn’t knocking it out of the park.

7. Retweet Other Pitches

I’m always baffled when I see people who pitch but don’t RT other pitches. It’s a collaborative event. If people see you not collaborating…

8. Follow Other Participants

I mean, a lot of us are in it for the long term, so why not? This also seems to help incentivize RTs and follow-backs.

9. Don’t Assume RTs or Likes Lead to Agents

They might, but then again they might not. There seems to be a lot of randomness to all this, but no matter what happens, you’ll learn what resonates and what might need a little more work.

NOTE: The etiquette is usually NOT like the tweets unless you’re an agent, and yet some tweets seem to have vast numbers of likes from random supports, while others don’t. No idea why this is, but you might want to let your base know not to click on the like button during the pit.

10. Have Fun

Because the alternative is sad.

#SFFpit Search Shortcuts

This is just so you can easily find tweet lists from past #SFFpits. Maybe you can find more insightful details than I have to help you out.

SFFpit RT Count
Jul 28, 2021 200+ / 100+ / All
Feb 03, 2021 200+ / 100+ / All
Jul 29, 2020 200+ / 100+ / All
Jan 30, 2020 200+ / 100+ / All

If you found other patterns or approaches that worked for you, let me know in the comments. I’ll try to update this after tomorrow’s pitch.


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