Showing posts with label pitches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pitches. Show all posts

Why First Impressions Matter


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

As an editor, it is no exaggeration to say I’ve reviewed thousands of submissions during my years in publishing. As a writer, you have one opportunity to make a good first impression. While it may sound simplistic to say it, your impression is made in a matter of seconds. A key piece of advice is to lead with your strongest material and work hard on the subject line of your email, the first sentence and paragraph of your submission and all of the overall details.

Several years ago, I interviewed another acquisitions editor and asked him how he knows if he’s found a good submission. He said, “Terry, I read the title and if it is a good title, I read the first sentence. If it is a good sentence, I read the first paragraph. If it is a good paragraph, I read the first page. If it is a good page, I read the next page…” I hope this helps you see why you have seconds in this important process. The typical editor or agent reviews many pitches and can easily tell a good one. Don’t bury your good information on page five or six because they may not reach it.

How To Make A Good Impression

While these guidelines may be common sense, you’d be surprised how often writers make poor impressions when they neglect the basics. Make sure your pitch is well-crafted and appropriate to that person or editor. Use the right name. Personalize the pitch and don’t write “Dear Sir” or “Editor/Agent” which looks like it went to thousands of people at the same time—whether it did or not.

Check and double check to make sure all of the details are there. For example, at Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a letter in the mail. We receive over 5,000 submissions a year and only publish about 200 books so that is a lot of physical correspondence. If your address is not on your pitch, then I have to ask for it in order to get your submission into our internal system. If you include your address from the beginning, then you eliminate one extra time-consuming email I have to send to you.

Take a few minutes and make one final check of their publishing guidelines before you send your submission. Re-read the pitch and make any final adjustments.

Insights for Writers

Producing an excellent book proposal or query letter is an acquired skill—something you have to learn. Yet every writer knows these tools are a critical part of the publishing industry. I understand excellent book proposals require a great deal of energy. I’ve written two proposals which received six-figure advances from traditional publishers. My Book Proposals That Sell has over 150 Five Star reviews. I have a free book proposal checklist to give you some ideas. (Follow the link). Also, I have a free teleseminar at: AskAboutProposals.com. Finally, I created an online course with detailed information at: WriteABookProposal.com.

Remember Your Audience: Editors and Agents

While the process takes some work and planning, I’ve been inside some of the top literary agencies and publishers’ offices in New York City. Each of these professionals is actively looking for the next bestseller—even if they don’t respond or send you a form rejection. Every writer (whether brand new or much published) has to pitch to get a book deal. Learn the process and pitch with excellence which is spotted in seconds.

Tweetable: 

How do you seize your one opportunity? This prolific writer and editor provides the details here.  (ClickToTweet)


W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in California. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

So, Can't Anyone Give Me Some Details for Writing a Great Pitch?

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



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 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the PlaceHarkening: A Collection of Stories RememberedTracings, 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 publisherThe 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 

Innovative and Proven Writing and Marketing Strategies WEEK with Writers on the Move



Beginning tomorrow, December 1st, Writers on the Move is featuring a full week of innovative and proven writing and marketing strategies. It will kick off with "5 Innovative and Proven Marketing Strategies" by Karen Cioffi (me :)) and end with "Writing and Book Marketing – Crafting a Pitch (Part 2)" by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

This is the beginning of a writing and marketing information packed December as a thank you to YOU.

WE APPRECIATE YOU!

And, to further show our appreciation, we have an ebook of Quotes that the WOTM members compiled to inspire and motivate you . It's still in the works, but will be ready sometime mid-December.

So, be sure to stop by often and let us know what you think about the posts. And, please don't forget to share them with the social icons we have at the bottom of each post.

Talk to you soon,
Karen

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