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How To Pitch Your Book or Product

Promoting your new book or product? Do you want your local media to talk about your event, business or cause? Here are 4 tips from a writer/radio host who gets pitched to all the time:

1.  Never send a press release as an attachment. These get dumped without even opening the email.

2. Take the time to personalize your pitch. In these days when email programs show the first couple of lines of your message, the ones that start with “Hi All!” or “Dear Friends” don’t get opened. If I opened every email that begins in a general way it would take me all day. Most of these generally addressed messages aren’t for books/products that are appropriate for my show/articles in the first place. Quickly demonstrate the ways that your book/product is right for their audience. Although it’s always best to send a personal pitch, your opening doesn’t have to include a name…even something like “Dear Gardening Show Host” would make my cut.

3. Keep it brief. The old show-business maxim applies: always leave them wanting more. Put the most important information up top. Next give three or four attention-grabbing pieces of information. Finally, supply links and contact information. Remember that media types are likely to receive over 100 emails a day, and they need some way of quickly filtering what comes in. Make it easy for them and they’ll be more likely to help you too.

4. Don’t overlook the visuals. Just because you’re pitching something to a radio host doesn’t mean that a powerful image won’t be effective. It’s a visual world, so including an appropriate image or two is another way to snag the recipient’s attention. Again, don’t send this as an attachment, and make sure it’s a picture that is appropriate to the audience you’re pitching to.

Final point especially for new authors and those who are self-publishing.  Never tell yourself “If they’re interested they’ll contact me.” Yes, if they stumble on your work you might get a call or email…but don’t assume that others are already aware of your book or product. Send out announcements and press releases. Offer review copies. If you don’t build it, they won’t come.

You wouldn't believe the number of press releases I get about duck hunting products. Someone, somewhere, decided that since I host GardenLine on WXTK I must be interested in every outdoor activity there is. As I see these emails come in I wonder how they could see "GardenLine" and think "DuckLine." Quack!

Writers, television and radio people know their audiences. Show them that you also know what their listeners/readers are interested in.


2 comments to How To Pitch Your Book or Product

  • Such sensible tips. Thanks for putting it all together. Now what we need is a special workshop from you at GWA – how to run a radio show from your Mac- I see in the photo you look like you are doing that. Or maybe something on maximizing podcasts …. Or whatever you like!

  • Donna,
    Actually my radio program, GardenLine, is broadcast and streamed live on WXTK, not podcast or produced on my laptop. I always have my laptop in the studio because that’s where my notes are and the copy for my “live reads.” I also use it to bring up the websites of those who are my guests on the air so that I can talk about what my listeners will find when they check the books and products out. We’ll have to find someone else who knows about broadcasting from a laptop – a good topic for the Garden Writers symposium.

    The second photo on this post shows a remote broadcast done from one of our sponsor’s store fronts. It’s fun to be able to occasionally go “out on the town” and have loyal listeners stop by and ask their questions in person.