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Posts Tagged ‘book pitch’

Today, we’re proud to share with you another GUEST POST! Please read up, and take some hints about avoiding simple mistakes from Yael Grauer, as she has excellent advice about making the most of your pitches. Please share your thoughts below in the comments section.

Put your best foot forward when pitching editors, agents, and corporate clients

by Yael Grauer

When communicating with potential clients, we all strive to put our best foot forward. And yet editors, agents, and corporate clients are often quick to advise aspiring writers to avoid what seem like glaringly obvious errors.

“You’d be surprised,” they all say, recounting dozens of stories of misspellings, inappropriate inquiries, and instances of bizarre behavior.

We all laugh at these amateur mistakes when they’re made by others, but I’ll reluctantly admit that I once noticed I’d sent an e-mail to a dream client with “copywriter posiion” written as the subject line. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.

How do we avoid these embarrassing errors? Here are five tips to keep in mind.

  1. Check your spelling. This includes that of the person you’re addressing your inquiry to, the company they work for, and the entire text of your e-mail or letter. And not all of these mistakes are easily caught by spellcheck, either. Businesses often have non-standard capitalization, spaces where you wouldn’t think there’d be any, or other unexpected oddities. Being oblivious to these idiosyncrasies makes you seem inattentive to detail, so take the time to show that you’re paying attention.
  2. Double-check the addressee of your inquiry. “This article would be perfect for Woman’s Day,” an editor of a different women’s magazine recalled reading in a query. Her knee-jerk reaction: “Then why don’t you send it to them?” Although the time-consuming process of personalizing each and every pitch isn’t always feasible, at least tailor the addressees of your query letters.
  3. Make sure your pitch is appropriate. So you know how to spell the name of the person you’re trying to reach and the name of their business or publication. Now, make sure the idea you’re pitching them is actually something that will interest them. That means that you don’t want to send a pitch about Android apps to Macworld, or a kid’s story to AARP, or something about making ham for Easter to Tikkun Magazine. It means you’re not going to send a proposal for young adult fiction to an agent who only represents biographies, or poetry to a magazine that only publishes articles. Not sure? Check the FAQ section of their website, or any back issues (if appropriate). If it’s not immediately obvious, check with someone in the know or consider picking up the phone to contact the company in question directly.
  4. Don’t be a stalker. Following up a couple of weeks after you’ve made an inquiry is acceptable. Following up the next day (and the next day and the next day) is not. Sending a holiday card to someone you’ve worked with is a nice touch. Mailing a gift to someone you’ve never worked with is not.
  5. Don’t argue. If someone chooses not to use your services and you’re lucky enough to get an explanation, say thank you and move on. Bickering with the decision-maker about why they’re wrong isn’t only unhelpful, it’s also obnoxious. Try to learn from the feedback, using it to restructure future pitches to either avoid the error you might have made or to avoid the misperception of one. If you suspect you’re not getting the whole story, it’s possible that there’s actually a different, more complicated, or political explanation the person you’re communicating with chose not to share with you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. You’ll be better for it.

What seemingly obvious errors have you seen people make, and what steps could they have taken to avoid them? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Yael Grauer is a freelance writer and editor based in Minneapolis, MN. She blogs about health, fitness and the freelance life at yaelwrites.com/blog.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page to meet other authors and aspiring authors who have a sincere interest in writing, publishing, and selling the best books they can. And if you need a self-publishing consultant in your corner for anything from advice on structure to developing a marketing strategy, drop us a note at MarcieBrock@WriteMarketDesign.com or give us a call at 602.518.5376!

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Internet Radio: Are interview opportunities just waiting for YOU?

(Click twice SLOWLY – not a double-click – to enlarge the image.)

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While a media kit is an important tool for promoting your book and securing media appearances, don’t overlook the smaller opportunities that surround you. One great, inexpensive way to promote your book is by finding Internet radio shows that are thirsty for quality guests.

These generally aren’t elaborate, expensive productions it may be a guy in his home office with a makeshift studio, hosting guests via Skype or telephone. Nevertheless, some of these shows get great traction. And, more importantly, many of them are tailored to incredibly SPECIFIC audiences … perhaps the very same audience as the one you’re seeking for your book. As they are often one-“man”-shops, these small radio hosts may not have the time or interest to slog through a full media kit. In this instance, a well-worded e-mail may be a better idea.

Make sure the subject line is clear and direct, and that your succinct message contains your pitch. Your goal is for them to call you back and book you for their show at the next available opening.

Obvious caveat: If someone ASKS your for your media kit, send the  media kit. Always have your media kit updated and ready to send at a moment’s notice!

You may want to look into the following Internet radio providers with large catalogues of shows:

http://blogtalkradio.com

http://voiceamerica.com

http://wsradio.com

http://alltalkradio.net

Happy pitching!

MARCIE

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Please contact us if you’d like help putting together your media kit, media releases, or book proposal. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, Sept. 22 Rehearse your BOOK PITCH until it rolls off your tongue fluidly

Monday, Sept. 19 Want to be attractive to the media? Include a MEDIA ROOM on your website!

Thursday, September 15 – 10 creative alternate uses for media releases

Monday, September 12 – Get your MEDIA RELEASE to the right person in a timely fashion for a better chance of response

Read Full Post »

Rehearse your BOOK PITCH until it rolls off your tongue fluidly.

(Click twice SLOWLY – not a double-click – to enlarge the image.)

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“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” That’s the tagline used by one of my friends who is a very talented résumé writer. As true as that is for any job seeker, it also is true for an author making a pitch to a publishing VIP.

Which author doesn’t dream of having the opportunity for some one-on-one time with an acquisitions editor or prestigious literary agent?

QUESTION: Are you really ready for that opportunity when it comes your way?

The thing is, you can’t manufacture these opportunities. You can put yourself in places/positions where they are more likely to happen (book fairs, writers’ workshops, publishing conferences) so that you can increase your odds, but such a meeting is more likely to be a case of serendipity or happenstance. So … in that instant when you realize you’ve got this person’s undivided attention, how will you use your time?

Laura wrote recently about being able to refer to yourself as an author. This is taking things a bit further, now isn’t it? This is not only saying you’re an author, but offering an interesting description about the book you’ve written. “I’m the author of a book about whale watching for disabled people” or “I wrote a book about my experience caregiving for my mother who was misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s.”

Are you practiced at this?

  • Can you, in just one or two sentences, explain your book’s hook and how it is both similar to and different from every other book on that subject?
  • Can you do it coherently?
  • Can you do it while clearly enunciating and remembering to breathe?
  • Can you do it without rushing through your pitch like an auctioneer?

If you answered no to any or all of these questions, it’s time start rehearsing!

First, write out your pitch. Secondly, memorize it. Next, practice repeating the memorized lines. Then, add flavor and personality to it so that it doesn’t sound exactly like a canned speech you’ve been rehearsing a thousand times.

It might be easier to practice by yourself until you’ve got the main gist down – and then enlist the help of a friend or friends to do some role-playing. They’ll be the agent or publisher – you’ll be the excited author who wants to share a word or two about your book. As silly as this may sound, it works. Think about all those attorneys who cut their teeth in moot court. Law schools wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. There’s even a Moot Court Association that holds contests in this rehearsal mode!

Don’t shortchange yourself on this important step in your book marketing process. Even if you never get to pitch your book to the professional of your dreams, you’ll still be able to speak intelligently about it to the man in line at the Post Office or the clerk at the drug store. And you never know who people know…

Happy rehearsing!

MARCIE

__________________

Please contact us if you’d like help putting together your media kit, media releases, or book proposal. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Monday, Sept. 19 Want to be attractive to the media? Include a MEDIA ROOM on your website!

Thursday, September 15 – 10 creative alternate uses for media releases

Monday, September 12 – Get your MEDIA RELEASE to the right person in a timely fashion for a better chance of response

Read Full Post »

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