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 APEthebook.com
This information is courtesy of Outskirts Press.
What It Takes to Build a Strong “Author Platform” on Social Media Sites For Your Book
Social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are some of the most powerful and persuasive tools entrepreneurs can use in their marketing efforts. However many authors are unsure how to put this modern medium to best use.
First and foremost, get started – but start smart. Establish personal and/or author accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, WordPress, Pinterest – any platform that has a large audience of people who connect and share with each other. You’ll need to set up social media profiles on each platform, which focus on you, your book, your interests or the literary genre you’re promoting.
You may wish to focus on different aspects of your personal and professional life with each platform, depending on what each has to offer. For example, you might use the visual nature of Pinterest to share behind-the-scenes candid shots of your writing process and inspirations, and reserve Twitter for instant publishing and sales updates, article sharing and news. You may wish to blog only on WordPress and link these blog posts with your Twitter and Facebook accounts. The important thing is to make the best use of each platform’s strengths. If you’re inexperienced with social media, this could take some experimentation to get fully up and running.
It’s important to identify and establish relevant connections with users on each social media platform that could further your book selling efforts. This can be the most time-consuming and labor-intensive part of the process for a beginner. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many, many individuals in the publishing world with a great deal of experience using social media as a marketing tool who can advise you as you take your first tentative steps in this new world.
To get started, you may wish to think of 10 or 12 people on each social media platform that you feel would enjoy your book or could benefit from it in some way, and reach out to them via social media. Often a simple search will take you right to the individuals with whom you want to connect. Talk with these people about chatting openly on their forums about your book and their literary interests.
Throughout your social media experience, repeat this mantra: “It’s not all about me.” Social media functions best when you think not about what you can get from it, but what you can give to the audience with whom you network. This is a difficult concept for many first-time users to grasp, since the end game may be to achieve greater visibility.
However, by giving freely to your followers and virtual friends – whether it’s information, discounts, blogs and vlogs, advice, industry insight, time or some other content – you begin to build credibility as a resource, and an online presence that’s uniquely you. When social media is “done right,” your readers will feel enriched and you’ll gain insight and visibility.
That’s reason enough to reach out. Ideally, those folks you touch will, in turn, reach for your book!
You’ll be surprised by the numbers…
An accessible summary of this article is available in the chapter and verse section at the CS Monitor.
This original essay is on the Wall Street Journal site at this link, which is less accessible.
Poetry, the least profitable and most esoteric of all the genres, can save the bookstore.
Read more at PoetryFoundation.com
Talk of the Nation interviewed Larry Smith, the editor of Smith Magazine, and now the editor of the new book “The Moment — Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous & Obscure.” This live link will take you to the interview and samples from the book. Writing About ‘The Moment’ When Your Life Changed : NPR.
January 3, 2012
The six-word memoir conceit grew into a popular series of books, but the editors knew it was tough to share a meaningful story in so few words. So Smith Magazine prompted its community to write about the moments that changed their lives — the moments of clarity, the things that happened to them, the things they made happen.
The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous and Obscure is a collection of the tales readers and friends of the magazine submitted.The titles of the stories, from “The Thin Envelope” to “The First Kiss,” hint at the revelatory moments within.
The Moment is a great starter.
When I attended a writing weekend last year, the subject of where to begin to dive into a story came up over and over. The presenter, a songwriter, carried a little black moleskine with her. In it she wrote random story starters — all weekend long she was seen to grab it, open it to any page, and write down a word or two. She said she would use tools like this to challenge her in her morning pages.
Some of our exercises included starter questions like the one in this book. After we would write long passages, she would ask us to trim the pages down, and we did this over and over until we had the essence in one paragraph.
I thought of that while I was listening to this story today. The interview, the book, the concept, and the resources mentioned — are each a place to start.
My New Year’s Resolution (and Subliminal Power Strategy)
My ambitious resolution for this New Year: I’m dropping the habit of self-berating and switching to what’s known in the psych biz as “positive self-talk.” — Peggy Payne