How to Pitch Your Book
To a large degree, the success you attain with your publication depends upon your ability to “pitch” your
book to other people (friends, family, neighbors, associates, co-workers, teammates, strangers, the
media, etc.). Sure, having an excellent book with an excellent cover certainly helps, and online reviews
are a cornerstone. But at the end of the day, you are going to need to pitch your books (and yourself) to
others in order to find marketing success.
Fortunately, pitching a book is relatively easy when you understand what it involves. It all comes down
to two things: Materials and Proper Procedures. Let’s discuss materials first:
You should have professional marketing materials, like custom-made bookmarks and business cards
that have been branded with the cover of your book. You’ll need these materials for your press kit and
for marketing purposes, but you may sometimes find success with a local bookstore by offering to
include “freebies” such as bookmarks if they make a small stocking order. More good news, Outskirts
Press offers a Customized Promotional Materials Bundle containing over 1,500 customized pieces
available for convenient and secure ordering by clicking here.
Once you have your customized materials, you should use them to create a pitch kit (or press kit). Every
pitch kit should contain:
• your sales sheet, available to print out for free from your Publishing Center and containing all the
relevant information the bookstore needs to know
• a cover letter summarizing your interest in having the bookstore stock your book (if you’re a local
author, don’t fail to mention that)
• a press release if you’ve written or purchased one
• some of your promotional materials (especially a business card, but a couple bookmarks or
postcards don’t hurt).
• and of course, a copy of your book.
There are a number of different ways you can go about pitching your book:
• In person
• Over the phone
• Via email
• Through an online form on the internet
• Through an intermediary (such as a marketing strategist)
Let’s discuss each of those options in turn:
In Person – When you are pitching your book to people you know personally, you’ll most likely pitch
your book casually in a familiar, friendly, perhaps even off-handed way. The better you know the person,
the less formal your pitch needs to be. In fact, you may not even need to “pitch” your book to supportive
friends and family members. They probably already have a copy (and hopefully have left positive
reviews for it online).
On the other hand, if you’re pitching a book to someone you don’t know very well, a more polished and
professional presentation is preferable. That’s a lot of “P’s” so let’s provide (oops, I did it again) a perfect
example: The elevator speech:
An "elevator speech" is a short, compelling summary of you and your book that will make a reader want
a copy right that minute (hope you have a copy in your purse or briefcase)! Once you've gotten their
interest, ask them if they'd like a signed copy and offer them a discount on the spot. They may take you
up on that right then as they reach for their wallet. If they don't, weigh the pros and cons of offering
them a complimentary copy in exchange for a review on Amazon. Stress the importance of their review
so they know how important it is to you. After all, that's why you're willing to give them a copy. Giving
away one copy for one positive review on Amazon may turn into 2-3 online sales -- after all, positive
online reviews sell books.
Pitching a book to a media representative, or an industry insider at a book fair, is no different. It all relies
upon your elevator speech. People may judge a book by its cover (and within approximately 5-8
seconds), and most media/industry professional make rapid subconscious decisions about authors and
their books within 10 seconds of meeting them and/or hearing about their book. Make sure those ten
seconds work in your favor, and the way to do that is to excel at your elevator speech. Hit it every time.
Over the Phone – Your elevator speech is even more important over the phone because it is the ONLY
thing the person on the other end has to “judge” you and your professionalism by. Sure, the quality of
your book may seal the deal. But your elevator speech is the thing that opens the door.
Via Email – Email is less stressful. You have time to compose your presentation and make it perfect.
And, as a writer, you may be more comfortable with the written word, anyway. Another advantage to
pitching via email is that you can include your digital pitch kit, with all the necessary information. But
don’t mistake email for informality; it is still necessary to be professional and polite.
Through an Online Form – If you are on a bookseller’s website, they may have a link to a ‘submissions’
page, which usually contains an online form requesting specific information. This is about the easiest
method to “pitch” your book because that form is going to ask you the specific questions that particular
bookseller is interested if having you answer. You may or may not even be offered the opportunity to
upload anything, and if not, you don’t even have to worry about including your pitch kit (but be sure to
mention that you have one and would be happy to send it to them).
Through an Intermediary – Many writers prefer to have a marketing strategist, publicist, or marketing
assistant do the pitching for them. That’s very easy, too, although slightly more costly than doing it
yourself, but your success percentage may very increase to a degree that it works out favorably. These
marketing professionals are accustomed to pitching books and already know exactly what to do. What
could be easier? For example, to reserve 5 hours with a Book Marketing Specialist who can pitch books
on your behalf, visit this page on Outskirts Press.
Here’s to your great success.