Secrets to DIY Pitching From Guy Kawasaki

Secrets to DIY Pitching From Guy Kawasaki

I receive a pitch a day to review or blurb books, and it’s depressing to see how clueless most of these pitches are. This section explains how to make effective pitches to reviewers and bloggers. Step one is to build a relationship before you need it.

* Get a referral. If you haven’t met the person, try to get a referral from someone who knows both of you. LinkedIn is useful to make this kind of connection if it’s within one generation-that is, a friend of a friend as opposed to a friend of a friend of a friend.

* Go to events. The best relationships start by meeting people in person, so go to networking events and work the crowd. Take it from someone who knows, it’s much harder to turn down someone you’ve met in person. One of the most target-rich events is SXSW Interactive; it’s held every March in Austin, Texas, if you can make it.

* Circle/like/follow them on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Many people pay strict attention to who has circled/liked/followed them, so it’s helpful to do this to get on the radar of bloggers and reviewers.

* Comment on their Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or blog post. They also read all the comments on their posts, so place something there that’s positive, helpful, and insightful.

* Share/retweet their posts/tweets. Finally, reviewers and bloggers notice who has spread their posts and tweets, so do this for the posts/tweets that you like. The process is all about their getting familiar with your name.

Don’t misunderstand: you need to suck up, but you need to suck up with subtlety. All these activities lead us to step two: making contact via e-mail.

* Aim. Contact only people who cover your genre of book by doing research on their previous reviews. For example, don’t pitch your science-fiction book to a romance blogger. And ensure that your recipient reviews books-not every blogger and journalist does.

* Personalize. Never begin an e-mail with “Dear Reviewer” or anything that indicates you don’t know the person’s name. Don’t even bother sending the e-mail if you don’t know the person’s name. You’re doomed if you are this lazy anyway.

You should customize the body of your pitch, too, even though most of your pitch is the same for everyone. For example, if you were pitching me to review your book, mentioning that you read my books, use a Macintosh, or play hockey is very effective.

* Do it yourself. I hate pitches that PR flacks send along these lines: “Did you know that Joe Schmoe of Schmoe Industries has written a new book? He is available for an interview with you.” The only time this works is when I already know the PR person or Joe Schmoe has accomplished something that I’ve heard about. If these conditions don’t exist, make contact by yourself.

* Keep it short. The ideal length for an e-mail is five sentences: Who you are; what the name and subject of your book is; what the gist of the book is; what you would like me to do; and how to get a copy if I’m interested. That’s it. No more, no less. I don’t want your life story. Remember: HotOrNot, not eHarmony.

* Make contact when others aren’t. If you want to break through the noise, send your e-mail during the weekend or first thing in the morning (recipient’s time). You want your e-mail to hit the person’s inbox when fewer e-mails are arriving, so your recipient is more likely to respond to you.

Step three is to follow up on your e-mail. A reasonable time to wait (for both parties) is two to three days. Send an even shorter e-mail to ask if he received your previous e-mail and if he would consider reviewing your book. A week later, send one more e-mail. Then give up. It wasn’t meant to happen.

Guy Kawasaki has written 12 books, 10 of which were traditionally published. His newest book is APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish a Book, which helps people understand how and why to self-publish.

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, is available as an eBook ($9.99) and in paperback ($24.99). Visit