Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction writer and creator of the character, Lola Rolls

#PitMad: It’s A Thing

Posted By on Friday, March 6th, 2020

Yesterday I took part in my very first #PitMad event. As you may or may not know, PitMad is:
a) A group that wants to eliminate pit bull breeding and the keeping of pit bulls as pets;
b) Conversely, pit bull lovers who advocate for the breed;
c) A circle of hell dedicated to insanity (but then again, aren’t they all when you get right down to it?);
d) A fan club for Pitbull, the rapper;
e) A Twitter pitch party where writers tweet pitches for their finished manuscripts, and agents and editors like the tweeted pitches to request more information about the work in question.

The answer is (e). When I heard about this event, my first reaction was surprise that writing-related social media, which up until that point had seemed like part of the large, baffling chore called “building a platform,” would be billed as a party. Because parties are supposed to be fun—even if they’re not. To contextualize this bit of doubt and snark, it’s important to remember that people’s social media skills and comfort levels cover a wide range. My level is essentially bonehead.
My plan was to pitch my novel, LOLA ROLLS, SIDESHOW FAT LADY. Here was my tweet:

Being 500 pounds in 1976 makes you stand out, especially if you’re wanted for murder. A super morbidly obese young woman kills her cruel brother during an argument and joins the sideshow of a rag-tag carnival to hide her crime. Her stage name is Lola Rolls.

Before taking part in #PitMad, I had informed myself that I would take a casual approach to the whole experience, would not get my hopes up, and, in short, would do my best to not care. I got an almost immediate retweet, which in #PitMad is a way for authors to show support of each other. As it turned out, my friendly retweeter was pitching a novel about an obese man who unwittingly unleashes a brigade of fat-eating cannibals. That’s the sort of idea that stays lodged in your brain, and it set me off on the unexpected tangent of imagining these fat-starved cannibals confronting Lola Rolls. She would flatten them, of course, cracking their spines, as if she were tearing into a chicken drumstick. I’ve got a lot of faith in my girl, Lola. Indeed, I was so sad to part ways with her at the end of the writing process that she now has her own Twitter account (@CarnivalFatLady) and writes a present-day advice column (shameless plug:

Wanting to return the retweet favor, I tried to devise the best strategy for helping to promote other writers. One online source recommended retweeting pitches for any novels that I would be interested in reading. The volume of the pitches was overwhelming though, and nuisances like my job and parent-teacher conferences made it very hard to keep pace. I retweeted as many pitches as possible regardless of whether I thought I would read the finished novel. It seemed right to provide as much support as I could. Trying to get a novel published is no easy thing, so I feel a high degree of empathy and solidarity for everyone trying to do so.

So, did I get liked by the agent of my dreams who is working (with no real effort required) to sell the Lola Rolls book? Nope. No agents liked me at all. That part is disappointing but to be expected maybe given the flood of pitches. #PitMad  did give me the chance though to connect with the writing community and to see how many good ideas there are out there and how many people are writing their hearts out. While the “pitch” aspect may not have worked out, the “party” part was more fun and exciting than I expected. Making connections and interacting with people I would have not otherwise encountered matters a lot when it comes to an isolated journey like writing, perhaps even more so than the destination.

Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

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