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A New Site for Writers

Hey guys! So, recently I joined a new site called Writer Pitch, started by Samantha Fountain. She organized it after her successful competition, Agent Match. Now, it’s a pretty cool idea. It basically gives writers a chance to put their work out for agents without the constraint of a contest. It takes away one of the hardest parts of writing for me: finding an agent and pitching to them. I mean, the whole thing would be much easier if finding agents wasn’t so difficult, and this site is really good for that.

But, like all new sites, it’s not without it’s issues. In this post I’m going to go over the things I like and don’t like about this new site.

So, first all of, the good things. This site has created an interesting community. Not on the site, yet (though I’ve heard tell of writer groups coming soon), but on twitter. We all met on twitter, heard about it from twitter, and through it I know I’ve found some great new friends. People who’ve helped me with my pitch, with my synopsis, and with my story in general. They’re excellent support, and I think all writers should find a community like this. So right away, that’s something to look forward to.

Another great thing is exposure. Agents and people can now see my book and my pitch. It’s starting to gain me a following of possible readers and that’s super important. It’s also a great place for me to find books that I want to read when they get published. I can see how creative people are and know that I’m not alone in my search for publication.

The creators work hard and it shows in the layout and the idea, but it’s not without it’s faults. Faults that some might see as serious. So, after a week of being a member of Writer Pitch, here’s what I’ve discovered are some setbacks about joining. The first, and the biggest one, are the technical issues. So, I used to help run a writing website myself called For Writer’s Sake. It’s far gone now, as the other admin and I grew apart and things started to die. I understand how difficult it is to run a site for writers, and all the issues that come with it, which means I get the desire to have it grow. But there are so many technical issues on the site, and they’re still working out what they do and don’t want. It can be very frustrating for new members, agents, and current members.

I suggested to the owner that they try and beta session. Right now, since everything is hand approved, she and her brother who run the site are overworked. Things take a long time to get approved, the glaring issues often take a long time to get addressed, and it can be stressful for anyone who wants to make good use out of the site. When I was told about the The Launch, which was a contest to get into the site, I thought that was going to be the beta. The first two weeks or so would be closed for new submissions and those in the launch would help test out the issues and make the site amazing for new comers so they wouldn’t have to deal with the technical difficulties. Most sites do that. It’s a good idea.

I was told that they weren’t considering it and this was their beta test version. I understand the desire for the site to grow, but I personally think it’s unrealistic to think that all of the site issues can be fixed while new members are joining daily. Without mods, the admins are going to get tired out and I’m worried the site is going to burn out too. It’s a really good idea, and I don’t want to see that happen.

Some other issues are…well not something the site admins can really control, but things I’m going to mention anyway. So, the site is set up so writers can post their pitch, word count, genre, and the first 250 words of their story for agents to read if they like the pitch. I like this. But it comes with problems. This site is supposed to be for writers who are ready for publication. Meaning their stories are perfect and amazing. I’ve read a few first pages as a type of exchange, but what I saw wasn’t…good? Some of them were great, but many had a lot of issues and weren’t anywhere near publishable. Now, in normal pitching this wouldn’t be a problem as they’d get rejected, but this site takes away the rejection section and there isn’t a place for criticism. So many of the pitches up will never get better because the author might convince themselves that the agent hasn’t seen their pitch.

I have had to grow as a writer because of the rejections I’ve faced these past few months. Being told “no” has been one of the greatest things for my writing ever. Taking that away from writers that rejection can be hurtful to the ego, but sometimes our ego needs to be hurt. If it’s constantly stimulated we’ll never grow. I think the site would benefit from some kind of critiquing system. Maybe instead of pitches going up right away, other members have to critique it first. Make sure that the best of the best gets up and that the people who really are ready for publication are viewed by agents, while the people who aren’t have the chance to grow and become ready.

Now, there are a few other smaller things that have me kind of on the fence about the site. For one thing, it’s a super biased site. The people on the front aren’t necessarily the ones with the best pitches, but because they have friends with twitter, they end up there. I know that the admins are working on a new algorithm for who gets in the daily top ten (which I think would benefit as the weekly top ten instead), but again, because the site is growing as they figure it out, it’s becoming frustrating. This makes it more of a competition rather than anything else. It’s not about who has the best pitch, but who can get more page views. Which leads people to obsess over page views rather than the quality of their work.

Another issue is that isn’t too big, but bothers me is there’s no place for a synopsis. The agent judges based on a pitch and 250 words of the story. But most agents that I’ve subbed too eventually request a synopsis as well. I think that would be a good thing to have. But that’s small.

The last issue is a big one. What got me thinking about this in the first place is a tweet from an agent I’m really interested in subbing to. Someone asked her if she would ever join a site like Writer Pitch, and she flat out said no. There are a few reasons for that. For one thing, it can make writers look desperate, and agents aren’t a fan of that. For another thing, it makes your pitch public. Anyone can view it, not just members, which means that it might be difficult to sell. I know for a fact that I can’t have parts of my story on this blog without causing issues with publishers. Having the story public like that can be an issue for a lot of agents and publishers.

So it’s an interesting site for sure. It has a lot of potential, and I don’t necessarily regret joining, but I’m not sure I’ll want to stay for much longer if these issues aren’t addressed. I think it needs a beta version, more agents, and more guarantee and security for agents. It needs a lot of work before I’ll recommend it to all my writer friends. For now, I’ll stay, but we’ll see what happens in the future.

Check it out for yourself. You might disagree with me entirely.

Thoughts? Comments? Let me know!

~Lin

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