The Perfect Pitch:
5 Ways to Pitch Your Self-Published Book
If you can describe your book in just one sentence, how would you do it? Some examples come to mind: “it’s a story of a retired policeman who has 24 hours to save a hostage” or “it’s about an unlikely duo of a pirate and a mermaid who team up to save a lost sea kingdom.”
This is an example of a pitch—a manner of presenting your book in an exciting and interesting way. And whatever you have planned next for your book—whether you want to launch a marketing campaign, sell copies, have your work displayed in a bookstore, or even convince Hollywood professionals to adapt your story for the screen—it helps to know the right way to pitch your work.
Read on to learn five ways you can pitch your book and capture the interest of readers—from social media users to movie and TV executives.
The Pitch for All Occasions
Whether you're trying to convince a large publisher or a group of friends, you can’t go wrong with the classic elevator pitch. When done right, this persuasive pitching technique can spark interest in your work and convince people to read, buy, or even option your book—and it will only take a few seconds.
Here are some tips on perfecting this pitch:
- Keep it brief. Don’t bore your audience by presenting the entire plot of your book. Keep it simple by sharing only the most interesting parts. Your pitch should be as short as an elevator ride—hence the name.
- Avoid jargon. As much as possible, don't use difficult terms and phrases. Use only layman’s terms, words that your audience will easily understand. This will help you maintain their interest.
- Think of comparative (comp) titles. One of the quickest ways to describe your work is to provide examples of similar, well-known books—titles that are in the same genre, tackle the same subject matter, or have comparable themes.
The Pitch for Libraries and Bookstores
Want to get your book displayed in local bookstores and libraries? Make sure to personalize your pitch for this endeavor. Keep in mind that you will most likely be starting a discussion or setting up a meeting with your booksellers or librarians, so you have to go beyond the typical elevator pitch.
Keep these tips in mind when you’re preparing your pitch:
- Strive to make a great first impression. By doing so, not only do you have a chance to get shelf space for your book, but you also might acquire new professional contacts in the process.
- Be ready for a Q&A session. If you've successfully hooked booksellers and librarians with your pitch, they'll probably want to know more about you and your work. Try to think of the questions they might ask, and prepare the corresponding answers.
- Make sure to include all the necessary information. Your pitch should include enough information that booksellers and librarians will have a good idea of where your book should be displayed. You should also include a brief profile of your target market, so they can easily recommend your work.
The Pitch for Social Media
Planning to take your promotions to social media? Pitching can also come in handy in this situation. After all, you do have to convince users that your book is worthy of their online attention. Just remember that each social media platform is different, and you have to customize your pitch accordingly. Get to know each one below.
- Twitter. This platform’s 280-character limit is perfect for pitches. This unique restriction will encourage you to share only the most interesting highlights of your book—similar to an elevator pitch.
- Instagram. Since Instagram is a photo- and video-sharing social network, your pitch should be more visual in nature. This will allow you to get more creative with your pitch.
- Facebook. You’ll have plenty of space to write and share in this social media platform. However, if you want to stand out in people’s news feed, you should make sure your pitch is easy-to-read and visually appealing.
The Pitch for Media Interviews
Have a press interview coming up? It helps to prepare a pitch ahead of time too. This is similar to pitches for bookstores and libraries, but more personal and anecdotal. Go beyond comparative titles and share the story behind your work, your writing process and motivations.
Keep these tips in mind to make the most out of your interview:
- Get as much information about the interview as possible. Will you be interviewed on radio or TV? How long will you be interviewed? Who will be the host? Answering these questions will help you come up with the right pitch that’s optimized for the situation.
- Keep the interview interesting. It will probably take more than a synopsis to convince people to read your book so don't forget to add interesting tidbits and anecdotes during your interviews.
- Be focused. Interviews may not always end up the way you want it to but as long as you’re prepared and attentive, you should be able to stay on track in the discussion.
The Pitch for Hollywood
Is your goal to see your story on the small or big screen? You’ll need more than a quick elevator pitch and manuscript to convince Hollywood professionals to option your book. In order to fully grab their attention, you’ll need speak their language and do more promotional efforts for your work.
We also recommend that you do the following:
- Network. Find people who can help you land the opportunity to pitch your idea. If possible, look for someone who has experience working in the business like production assistants and screenwriters. You can also hire an agent if you have the budget.
- Write an outline of your story or a screenplay. Hollywood professionals would appreciate it if you can share your story in a format they’re familiar with. Once you’ve hooked them with your elevator pitch, you should have industry-standard materials ready such as a coverage or a treatment.
- Capitalize on pitching events. If you can’t get a one-on-one discussion with an industry professional, then you should sign up for pitching events. These type of gatherings offer you the opportunity to connect with fellow authors, brush up on your pitching skills, and of course, pitch your book to executives, agents, and other professionals in the business.