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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Five Things to Avoid in Your Book Pitch

I just saw this in Penny C. Sansevieri's new issue of THE BOOK MARKETING EXPERT NEWSLETTER. To learn more or to subscribe -

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There are so many things that we want to say when we do a pitch for our books, but there are things that you need to AVOID. The article says to avoid these with a publisher or agent. I would like to add that these things don't help you with a publicist either. We've heard these comments more times than you can probably imagine. We all want to hope our books will be a blockbuster movie and a best seller - but that dream is becoming harder each year. I've "seen" each scene in my novels play in my mind like a movie - and they would make wonderful movies - I bet you feel the same about yours :) The points below are very valid and you will make a much better impression on a publisher, an agent, a publicist, the media, in press releases and potential readers if you avoid these things....

Five Things You Should Never Say
When Pitching Your Book to a Publisher or Agent

(aka stuff publishers and agents hate)

If you're trying to get an agent or publisher for your book, there are a lot of things you need to do but also several you shouldn't. With writers' conference season in full swing the opportunities to pitch your book to an agent/publisher abound. Here are a few things that will turn off a publisher or agent when you're pitching them!

1) Everyone loves my book: don't lead your pitch with this. In fact my recommendation is to leave this out of your pitch altogether. The definition of "everyone" is generally friends and family, and while we love them for being a supportive bunch, when it comes to mainstream publishing they don't really count.

2) No one else has written a book like this, it's never been done before. This is a big red flag to almost anyone in the book world, if it's never been done before there might be a reason. They say there are no new ideas, certainly there are, but publishing tends to fall into categories and if it's never been done, there might be a reason. If it really is a new idea, great! But do your research first before you toss out the "first book on this topic ever."

3) My book should be a movie or - my book is going to be the next bestseller. No one can predict a bestseller or, for that matter, what will become a blockbuster movie. I know if Hollywood and the New York publishing community could predict this, they'd be in a much better financial state than they are now. The fact is, you might wish or hope that your book becomes the next classic but even you, the uber talented author, can't predict this so don't pretend you can. It's a big eye-rolling turn off. Trust me.

4) Don't stalk your agent/publisher: Ok, now I don't mean stalking in the sense that Lifetime is considering making a movie out of you, but I mean hounding, badgering, emailing daily, calling. You know, the super annoying stuff that will get you blacklisted off of every agent and publisher's list. Trust me, word will spread like wildfire if you're a pain in the you-know-what. It's also the quickest way to a rejection. Follow-up is ok, burning up the phone lines or hitting your send button obsessively isn't. Keep in mind that patience will often win this race. If you have found an agent that you trust, then trust them to do their job.

5) Not wanting to take feedback or rejecting professional advice: a good agent and/or publisher will offer you feedback on your book. Perhaps ways to enhance/correct it. Things you might want to consider adding to make it more commercially viable. Listen to these comments and learn from them, then, swallow your own opinions and consider incorporating them into your book. If you really have an objection that's another thing, but if pride is getting in your way then back off of the ego and see some of the points they're making as helpful and constructive. The writer sure to fail is the one who won't listen.

It's a competitive market out there, and with New York publishing in trouble these days it seems more and more that authors need to know the do's and don'ts before they rush headlong into publishing. From our perspective, the last thing you want to do is come across as a know-it-all or an amateur. These are the things that will not only hurt your career, but delay the publication of your book as well.

THE BOOK MARKETING EXPERT NEWSLETTER. To learn more or to subscribe -

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