Friday Speak Out!: The Book Marketing Pitch

Friday, April 22, 2022
by Claudine Wolk

YOU are the secret to a successful Pitch

Think of a pitch. Visualize it. A pitcher stands on a baseball mound and throws a ball to a batter. Instead of real time, let’s slow things down a bit and imagine the pitch resuming in slow motion. The pitcher releases the pitch and it slowly reaches the batter. The batter takes a swing and his bat either hits it or misses it.

One of the hardest and most time-consuming parts of book marketing is pitching to media contacts. First, you have to take the time to identify media contacts. Then you have to come up with a pitch to send to them. Then you have to send it, follow-up with it and hopefully provide what the media contact wants for their review, mention or interview.

What is a pitch in book marketing? One of the ways we sell books is to “suggest” or “pitch” the book, the author, or the author’s message to different media contacts to review the book in their media outlet, to mention the book in their media outlet or to interview the author in their media outlet.

What is a media contact? A “media contact” is an entity or person at that entity. Media entities include tv, radio, newspaper, magazine, blog, and podcast, as well as book industry reviewers and long lead reviewers. A book marketer (You!) creates a media contact list and then you pitch to your list.

How to get started on a pitch to media contacts

First: Keep your goal in mind. When you pitch to a “media contact” you are hoping for a book review, an interview about your topic, or a mention of your book. Repeat after me: review, interview or mention…. review, interview, or mention. Those three things are always your main goal.

Second: Mass emailing equals mass rejection: I know it is tempting to write a generic pitch and to send it through Mail Chimp or Constant Contact or to a string of every email in your contact list but this is bad form for a couple of reasons. First, putting media contacts in a constant contact database is a no-no. You technically have to have the permission of the contact to add it to your constant contact database. Second, media contacts can spot a blanket pitch from a mile away and will most certainly ignore it.

Third: You will be pitching your book for years to come. Take a minute and a breather. I know it is overwhelming. I can remember panicking at the sight of the grocery store magazine rack at every checkout counter when marketing my first book. Every magazine was a potential media contact…how was I going to pitch to them all? The answer, one media contact at a time.

Tips to pitch to your media contact

One: SINCERITY - take the time to read the media contact’s website or work so you get to know them a bit. Sincerity ALWAYS wins the day. Every successful hit I have ever had has included a sincere and well, thought-out pitch. Quality over quantity is the key when pitching to a media contact.

Two: Write a pitch that makes it easy for the media contact to say yes.

Include all the information that the media contact will need to do what they need to do. If you are pitching via email, include a call for action – “let me know where I can send a copy of my book and media kit for your review, mention, or interview,” for example.

If pitching by mail, include a copy of the book (or galley) with your press release, author bio, and interview q&a. Include a well written cover letter with your call to action. Include why the media outlet’s audience will love you or your book, why they need it or will be entertained by it. Include a few bullet-pointed reasons! Always include a call to action… “Please consider for -review, interview, or mention of the book for your magazine.”

Three: Gently follow-up with the media contact. For example, you can start the follow-up letter or email with the words: In case you missed it…. I have included information about so and so…

Finally, don’t give up. If you come up with a different way to pitch to the same outlet down the road, a different spin or a new story, try it again a few months later.

You are the secret to a successful pitching campaign for your book. Take the time to create meaningful media contact lists and creative pitches and you will be on your way to getting your book seen and sold!

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Claudine Wolk is an authorpodcast host, and radio host. Follow her substack newsletter Get Your Book Seen and Sold or visit Claudine lives with her husband, Joe, in Bucks County, PA and is working on her next book.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



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