Tuesday, May 16, 2017

3 Tips to Effectively Pitch Your Book

So you're pitching your book or you've hired someone (hopefully me) to do it. I recently had a client say, he tried many times to get into Experience Life magazine (for his first book). I said, "Did you follow up after you pitched it?" He said, "No." I replied, "Fortune is in the Follow-Up," which is a great older book by Heidi Sloss we published several years ago. Follow-up is critical. Do you give up after one try? Don't give up if you want success and here's why...
 
How many times have you had an in-box full of email? Do you answer all of them right on the spot? Well, I do but I am the exception to the rule. I follow a strict customer service policy of being available and responsive. The only time I'm not responsive is after hours. Now, I have exceptions depending on the client. I have many casual and friendly relationships with clients where I respond regardless. We have that kind of rapport. Clients that I don't have that rapport, I won't respond to on my personal time.
 
Most people don't have that kind of policy nor do they even realize its value - or they are just overwhelmed and not as organized. Whatever the case non-responsiveness is more the norm than the exception. So, keeping in mind that "Fortune is in the Follow-Up" if you want results, you have to follow up with people. So, you contact them the first time, and then you make it a priority to follow up with them at least a second or even a third time.
 
When I followed up with Experience Life magazine, I got results. The editor acknowledged she had been busy, but yes, she would love to receive a review copy. Had I failed to follow up, I would have gotten the same results as my client - nothing. This approach is particularly important when you know your book/product is an ideal fit for the targeted media and yet they didn't get back to you. Niche pitching is really some of the easiest. You know you're going after a media outlet that publishes material related to your book/product. If you're not getting a response from a targeted pitch then following up becomes mission critical to success.
 
Here are some invaluable tips:
 
Tip 1 - Make sure your pitch is working. If your target media isn't responding but you know your book is something they cover then examine how you're pitching. What is your message? What are they looking for in terms of content? Analyze it. Break it up into some specific keywords that they use to describe what they are communicating to their audience. Then use those keywords in your pitch.
 
Tip 2 - Have you identified the editor who is the RIGHT contact? Most publications have a masthead of editors who cover certain "beats". Did you pitch your book on say orthodontics to the guy who only covers dental implants? What is the likelihood he is going to want to see your book? And you can't rely on his kindness to forward your pitch to the right editor. He might or he might not. It's your job to identify who either assigns articles to the writer who covers your topic or the editor.
 
Tip 3 - Always start with a phone call and a follow-up email pitch. Not all editors want to answer voice pitches and won't accept them. Those editors who still answer the phone are more likely to request your book if you actually make human contact with them. They're going to remember a conversation much easier than an email. So, don't be afraid to make a phone call.

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