People tell authors to pitch to the media; they even tell us how to write a pitch. But only sort of. Don't you wish they would occasionally tell you how to do that? And do it effectively?
Here are seven things your pitch can do to keep a gatekeeper interested long enough to book you:
1. A headline or first sentence must capture the reader. Here are ideas for doing that?
- Use a statistic that is so off-the-wall that it’s hard to believe (but it’s true).
- Make an outrageous statement.
- Be so clever with rhyme, alliteration, or pun that the gatekeeper just plain wants to read some more.
- Make it be about something that is somehow so closely related to the media gatekeepers' demographic (meaning their reader or audience) that it will be immediately obvious how it will fit into their own plans or business needs. Make it even better by letting them know you know it does relate because you read their magazine or column or blog.
2. Throw in adjectives. No, not “awesome” or “great.” That’s up to them to decide if your story idea is awesome or great. Words like “award-winning,” “multi award-winning,” “bestselling” or “two decades of experience” do work, though.
3. Actually be about something more than “I published a book.” Substance. Concrete. Useful. Powerful. Think “benefits” when you write this sentence or paragraph.
4. Offer exclusivity. Maybe offer exclusivity with a deadline. You can make that offer to someone else when that deadline passes.
5. Let the media know that you are equipped to handle their needs. With experience in radio (or whatever) as an example. With Toastmaster experience. As a team leader and speaker in the business world.
6. Close with a sentence that makes it clear you’d like to provide them with anything that would make their job easier.
7. Don’t ask questions. It’s your job to make it so clear they won’t have to ask any.
So, what sells? If you can angle your pitch around current new, sex, money, kids, celebrity, better health, travel or sports, go for it. You’ll be ahead of the game. Just make sure you send your pitch to the right editors/gatekeepers for each topic. Celebrity? Entertainment or politics. Money? The business section of your newspaper. Kids? Some women’s magazines. You get the idea.
Bonus Tip: Know how to write killer query letters. You can get tips right from the mouths of agents who share their pet peeves with The Frugal Editor. And, step-by-step guidelines for all your PR sales tools with The Frugal Book Promoter
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor