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August 01, 2018

My #IWSGPit Experience + Writer's Depression - Part 2




NOTE: If you're not interested in #IWSGPit, scroll down to my Writer's Depression post. This part is long.

#IWSGPit - This was my first time actually participating in #IWSGPit by sending out pitches, so I want to share my experience.

The book I'm shopping around is urban fantasy, but urban fantasy wasn't listed as a genre for participants to use or agents/publishers to look for. I was told I could use #UF in my tweets, BUT I forgot to include #F (fantasy) until the last couple of tweets at the very end of the time frame. By then, not many people were around, so I don't have much faith that my tweets were seen by agents who accept urban fantasy (or just plain fantasy).

Despite that, I did get 3 likes. However...

1. The first like was from a publisher who helps you self-publish for a steep flat fee of almost $4,000. That's not what I'm looking for (even if I had that kind of money), and I'm pretty sure that the other participants aren't looking for that, either. Otherwise, why join a pitch party?

2. The other publisher that showed interest doesn't actually seem to take my genre. They have a paranormal romance line, so I guess that's what they'd classify my book as?

3. This one came the day after. Their covers are amateurish, the only fantasy book they've published was written by the editor-in-chief, and there's not much info on their site.

Pitches for My Mom - I also helped my mom create tweets for her historical western romance and her children's fantasy chapter book. There wasn't a hashtag for western, only historical and romance, and also no hashtag for chapter books.

Here's How That Went:

For her children's chapter book, she got one like...from that publisher who self-publishes your books. Actually, this book got the first like out of all of our books, and I was so excited...until I looked deeper. The disappointment was swift.

For her historical western romance she got 5 likes! However...

1. The first was from the second publisher who had liked one of my tweets. The good thing is I know a few of their authors. The not-so-good? They don't really seem to take her genre, either, but more regency. But we may try them anyway.

2. One publisher only had two authors listed on their site. And when I looked them up, neither of them were on Amazon, not even the book they said was published...

3. The third like came from a small press set up last year. They have a handful of authors, and many of them have several books. The romance category is full of books by one author, which is a lesbian romance series. Perhaps they want to add historical to their romance side?

4. Another one is an imprint for a publisher, and this imprint is for steamy books in sci-fi and fantasy. Since when does historical romance mean sci-fi/f?

5. Finally, the last like came from an interesting-looking independent publisher with an intriguing approach to really help authors, including free marketing training, platform development, and partnering them with a publicist while under contract. They do have historical romance under women's fiction, though the books they have out are regency, but we'll try anyway because of how neat this company sounds.

Lesson for All: That's why it's important to research each publisher/agent who likes a tweet. They may not be right for you after all.

Will I participate in the next #IWSGPit? If #UF is added and I'm still shopping this book around, then I may give it a try again. No harm in sending out tweets, right? (Other than emotional. lol) My decision to join in the future will depend on the response I get next time (if I only get likes from that self-publishing publisher or publishers that don't fit). 


Suggestions for Genre Hashtags:
#UF - Urban Fantasy
#W - Western
#CB - Chapter Book (Children's)
#RS - Romantic-Suspense 
(or at least #S for suspense)


****

Writer's Depression - Part 2


I’ve been open about my depression these past couple of years. My IWSG post in July was Bactine for Writer's Depression - Part 1. Blogging saved me during a three-year-long stretch of depression.

Each attack is different, though. What helped once may not help again.

From September 2016 to April 2017, I experienced my worst depression to date. Blogging didn’t help me then. Blogging had actually become part of the problem.

This time, something else helped…reading.

Usually, when depression hits, your favorite activities and hobbies lose their attractiveness. But I hadn’t read for fun in a long time, so when I couldn’t write and didn’t have motivation to do anything, I picked up books. Not fiction books, though, which is what I read for enjoyment. I read non-fiction books—memoirs, feminism-related books, how-to books for authors, and books about Wicca, a beautiful faith.

I read.

I learned.

I believed.

And I found myself.

Read to pull yourself out of depression. Read children's books, books about nature, travel guides, poetry, memoirs, history, myths, anything, especially if it's different from what you'd usually read. New interests are key when depression steals all of your usual interests.


QUESTIONS: How has reading helped you? Have you participated in #IWSGPit? What was your outcome? Have you ever thought of writing a memoir?


72 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

MG and CB are interchangeable. I think we had C for children's, too.

Figures some subsidy presses would jump on the pitches. Writers do need to check out each press before submitting. (And read submission guidelines, please!)

Julie Flanders said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with the pitches. I've never joined in so it was interesting to me. I hope something comes from your mom's likes and I'm sorry you didn't have a more positive experience yourself.
Oh, reading is what helped me get out of a bout of depression and get back to my writing. I hadn't truly enjoyed reading in ages as I always thought I should be writing instead or I kept comparing myself to whatever author I was reading. It was great to be able to read for the sheer joy of it again. I'm so glad your own reading helped you.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with the #IWSGPit. I've never participated in anything like this, so it was interesting to read a first hand account. Shame that there are some scammy people out there.

And thank you for being so open about your depression and how reading helped you. I think it helps others who suffer from it and for those who are supporting people who suffer from it to read about strategies that can help, as well as realize that they aren't alone.

Cheers - Ellen

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Reading is one of my lifelines - I tend to go for books that immerse me in their world, whether that's historical fiction or contemporary suspense or anything in between, just give me STORY. Even when the depression/anxiety is really bad, and I don't feel like doing anything - including reading, gasp! :o - I make myself pick up a book. Eventually, I find my way back to myself. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Reading has definitely helped me dig out from some deep and dark times. Rereading old favourites often works to bring me back to myself. I definitely read more when I'm struggling in one way or another.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Thanks for all the info on your tweeting experience. I have a twitter account, but have never used it.

I suffered for about three years in the mid to late nineties with severe depression. I didn't know what to do (this was before my daughter became a psychologist :) ) The internet in my world was barely even up and running, let alone blogging. I did journal and pray a lot. Untreated depression will change your brain. If that had happened to me today, I would seek therapy AND meds.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. For one ofthe Pitch contests I got likes from seven agents, most of whom didn't represent my genre.

Bish Denham said...

Sharing your pitch experience was enlightening! Thanks. As for reading, I read just about anything and I read every day. I'd be a blathering idiot or a psychotic monster if I didn't. :)

Carrie-Anne said...

I've participated in a number of Twitter pitch parties, though never had a huge amount of success. During another recent pitch event (not IWSG-related), my one like was from an imprint of Deseret Books, which is notoriously strict about what they consider "clean" content. I wasn't going to water down my story to make it completely G-rated and squeaky-clean. That would've severely misrepresented who I am, and what my writing is like.

Depression is awful! So many people don't understand it's often not just about having the blues, and can't be easily, quickly cured. Those who haven't suffered depression have no room telling anyone something like "There's no reason to be depressed."

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

We'll adjust the hashtags for the next one. Sorry some of those likes weren't worth a darn.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Reading is definitely good for the soul, and you're right that it matters what you read. For a long time, I wasn't reading books; I was reading news articles, but because of the political climate right now, the articles only made me feel more frustrated, angry, and depressed. I checked out several books by authors I admire from the library, and I bought a few others from used bookstores; reading through them has made me feel better.

Chrys Fey said...

Actually, they’re not interchangeable. MG is for an older age bracket 8-12. There are chapter books for children 6-9 or 7-10. Remember, you rejected my mom’s chapter book because it wasn’t middle grade, what you publish.

The #C is for the ages...like #A for adult, and #C was used, but in the genre there’s #PB (picture book) for children’s to clarify but not #CB for chapter book. That would be helpful.

Toi Thomas said...

I haven't ever had anything ready for pitch party yet, but it's nice knowing it's something to consider.
I too have had expisodes where reading was the thing that helps, but like you said, sometimes event that doesn't work. Sometimes watching movies will help, but they have to be silly, happy movies.

Chrys Fey said...

I participated in a pitch fest once for myself and once for my mom (for picture books only) and didn't get likes, but also didn't get likes from publishers that were all wrong. That was very disappointing. You never know who's lurking and liking pitches.

I used to do that..compare myself to the writers of the books I read. Not anymore. Thank goodness.

Chrys Fey said...

I was surprised at how many scammy people there were. I guess the bigger the pitch fest the more the scammy people will come out.

I do my best. It is hard to open up, but a lot easier on my blog. :)

Chrys Fey said...

There's been times when I've gotten out of reading. I've been in a reading slump for the past couple of months. Hopefully I'll get out of it soon. It's great to know how reading has helped so many.

Chrys Fey said...

Reading is a great balm.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm still trying to get into the swing of using Twitter and I've had it for years! lol

Journaling has helped me a lot, too. When was struggling earlier this year, I tried to journal every day.

Chrys Fey said...

Wow. Seven agents is great, but that stinks that most of them weren't right for your book.

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome! I've been in a reading slump for a while now. And a writing one since June. I need to get back to both.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Alex!

Chrys Fey said...

It's odd how publishers/agents like tweets for genres that they don't accept. It can be tough to gauge a story by a tweet, though, but you can get an idea of it. Plus the additional hashtags help.

Nope. None of my bouts of depression have been just a case of the blues and have taken a lot to cure.

Chrys Fey said...

News articles can definitely lead to depression and anger. I go to my local library all the time. That's where I get all of the new books I want to read. :)

Chrys Fey said...

It is something to consider, but a pitch party isn't for everyone.

The past few days I've been a real couch potato, watching a TV show I recently got engrossed in. It has helped.

sherry fundin said...

Reading is my escape and when I get in a reading funk, then I don't know what to do.
sherry @ fundinmental

Chrys Fey said...

Reading funks are no fun.

Liz A. said...

One of the writers in my writers group writes memoir. It's an interesting genre. Interesting idea about reading out of your normal zone for depression. I hadn't considered that. Thanks for the tip.

Loni Townsend said...

Sorry the pitches didn't work out, but glad you stayed informed about who liked them. I'm also glad to hear reading helped you out of your depression. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experience with the pitch and why authors need to be wary.

emaginette said...

I'd like to thank you for you honesty on the pit party. Research is key when submitting no matter who it is. Wish Mom good luck from me.

On to reading. I read when I'm looking for inspiration or need a vacay from my life. Which happens a lot less when I'm not stressed. I've loved reading and writing for most of my life. Hobby, career, I don't know. But I need both of them to get through the day.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Chrys Fey said...

You're welcome! It helps me, so I thought it could help others. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks, Loni!

Chrys Fey said...

It pays to be wary in this case.

Chrys Fey said...

Writing and reading can be lifesavers for many of us.

Thanks, Anna! I will wish my mom luck from you. :)

Pat Hatt said...

$4000 bucks? Pffft if I had that kind of money I'd be doing it myself haha Reading sure can help indeed.

Chrys Fey said...

I would, too. lol

Nas said...

Just imagine if there were no books and we wouldn't get to read, what would we have done? Reading is an essential part of our growth and well being.

Chrys Fey said...

That's a scary thought, Nas.

Anonymous said...

I thank you again for being so open about your depression and how you were able to navigate your way through it. I've been doing some volunteer work on this and have been learning so much, so I truly appreciate hearing about your journey too.

Elsie

Sarah Foster said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with IWSGpit. I've heard about other pitch parties and people getting likes from some sketchy looking publishers. It's definitely important to check them out before sending anything.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I'm glad you found help for your depression. When I'm down, I like to read and escape into another world, whatever it may be. I think, looking at someone else's problems, even though they're fictional, helps me realize no one is immune to having days of depression.
No, I've never entered a IWSGpit day. First, I never seem to have anything ready when there is one. Second, I think it would make me nervous and if no one liked me I'd be crushed.

EliasM said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. Well-intended friends aside, I got a goose egg. But then none of my scribble siblings who participated had positive experiences. Those who received likes were all from self-publish presses. Thankfully, I have my dating experiences which insulates me from depression born of rejections. Was that out loud?

Diane Burton said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Chrys. Deep research can save you grief. Sometimes we're so excited that some is interested in our stories, we grab at the chance. You showed why that isn't a good idea.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you could read through your depression. Reading is such a good friend. For me after I lost my husband, I couldn't read for well over a year. I'm so happy that I love reading again.

dolorah said...

It seems like the learning experience was more important than the "like" success for the twitter pitch. To me, those can be valuable.

I love reading, and I also find reading outside my usual genre can perk up my spirits, and be inspirational in other ways.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Thanks for sharing about the ISWGPIT--it helped me to understand just what it is, and what it does. Since I'm kind of an idiot about Twitter, I've not considered participating (not that I currently have a book to pitch anyway), but this helps me at least visualize it a little bit.

When I'm down--whether I'm just tired and vaguely blue, or sinking toward full-on depression, I read old favorites. When I feel like that I often can't muster the strength to read anything new or difficult, but I get a lot of comfort out of my 50th reading of Anne of Green Gables!

—Rebecca
My IWSG Post

Chrys Fey said...

It's great that you're doing volunteer work to help others and to learn. That's awesome!

Chrys Fey said...

Very important, indeed. It pays to be careful and do research.

Chrys Fey said...

I was crushed when I didn't get likes for a while, or likes on certain tweets/pitches, and that the likes I did get were right. And it actually did impact my depression. That's something to consider before anyone participates.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad you got a goose egg. I hope it works out for you!

Chrys Fey said...

We have to do our due diligence and look out for ourselves and our books.

Chrys Fey said...

Other times, reading doesn't help. Each depression is different and we have to seek what will help us through it.

Chrys Fey said...

The learning experience was very important.

Reading outside our usual genre can really work wonders.

Chrys Fey said...

I'm glad I could help you to visualize the pitch fest, Rebecca.

Reading old favorites is definitely a magical experience that can help us when we're down.

Lee Lowery said...

Reading seems to be good for a lot of problems. Escape, new perspective, just getting out of one's own world and into another. I'm so glad it helped you.

The twitter-pitch experience sounds . . . daunting. But thanks for taking the time to give a full report. It's just another tool that may be of use to someone.

Juneta key said...

Reading has always been an outlet for me until it wasn't I still struggle with it and miss it horrible, but when I do read it seems like a chore. I keep think I will find the right book and wham I will be back.

Writing is so so, sometimes it works, a lot times it does not. Blogging did not really work so much as writing my own post but using my Spotlight does.

Enjoy reading the post

Chrys Fey said...

Reading is a great escape for many hardships.

It is a tool that someone could get lucky with.

Chrys Fey said...

I've been in a reading rut for a long time, myself.

Writing works until publishing depresses me.

Birgit said...

I would always be careful and so you did the right thing with the tweets. $4,000 made my eyes bug out and I had to pick them up off the floor:). I have a friend whom, I believe, suffers from depression but she never stated it to me. From what you have experienced, it reminds me of her. She is very creative but she starts gung-ho and then, it fades away. She shows so much interest in making jewelry and then...nothing. I’m glad you found another outlet for reading...the non fiction which is what I often read. One day, I will write that book about my mom who passed away this past January. I miss her deeply and she deserves a book on her life..now to get my ass off the ground and start it

Birgit said...

Oh and, by the way, you may not know this, but it take real bravery to open your heart out here so I commend you and give you a big hug!

Sherry Ellis said...

I had the same experience your mom did for the twitter pitch for my children's book. It's really hard to find publishers interested in children's books. Probably because they're so expensive to produce.

Depression is hard to deal with. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you'll make it out of the dark storms. Hugs!

New Release Books said...

Sad reality for so many authors nowadays.

Crystal Collier said...

You know, your pitch experience is SOO much more common than people want to think. If you're pitching under the wrong category (or to the wrong people), you are not going to succeed, no matter how awesome your work is. It's all about audience and reaching them, eh?

DMS said...

I think your advice for authors who pitch is perfect. So important to do research about the publishers who like the tweets. $4000 seems CRAZY to me!

I am so glad that reading helped get you out of your depression. Reading and going to other worlds definitely helps me when I am in all kinds of different moods.

Thanks for sharing all the information in this post. ;)
~Jess

Chrys Fey said...

Authors have to be prepared (and sadly) cautious when it comes to submitting their work.

Ha. Yes, my post was long and full of info. lol

J.H. Moncrieff said...

You're not alone--the turnout to that IWSGPit was really dismal, and full of scammers. Perhaps because it was summer, when a lot of legit agents take time off? One of my pitches was favourited by that interesting indie press you mentioned, but there was a red flag--can't remember what now. So please be careful, but I'm sure you will.

I'm so glad reading helped your depression. As for me, I always forget how much music lifts my mood. I need to start relying on it more often.

Chrys Fey said...

You never quite know what you're getting with a pitch party.

Chrys Fey said...

So true.

Chrys Fey said...

That really stinks. The children's book market is a tough one.

Chrys Fey said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the interesting indie press. I didn't see a red flag, but it coud've slipped past me.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I don't think I could ever do a pitch. I'd be a basket case before it was over. Thanks for the great information. I think it's decided me for sure. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I for sure couldn't do one in person. And if anyone has anxiety or suffers from depression (me), it may be a good idea to sit out pitch fests.