Sunday, November 17, 2013

What To Do When People Reject Your Message

I’m convinced of three things regarding book publicity:

1.      Many publishers and authors underachieve in promoting their books to the news media. They don’t start early enough nor stay with it long enough. They miss contacting the right people or their message is not presented well. The result: an under promoted book with lower or mediocre sales.

2.      Too many authors and publishers throw little support to promote their books, thus fail for not having tried.

3.      There are writers and publishers who did all they can to get the word out and still failed to garner much media attention.

I’m concerned about the third one. If you reached a lot of targeted people about a book, why didn’t you receive more media coverage, even if it was negative?

There are many reasons why a message is rejected. Perhaps by considering such factors, you can avoid these pitfalls that have doomed many:

1.            Your message was not clear or too confusing.

2.            Your message sounded like the opposite of that you intended.

3.            Your message was not timely or didn’t tie into the news cycle or the needs of the person you contacted.

4.            Your message didn’t sound new, fresh, or unique.

5.            You failed to sound convincing or believable.

6.            You emphasized something as if it were a fact when it was just an opinion.

7.            You didn’t provoke curiosity.

8.            You attempted to tackle a topic the media had just covered to death.

9.            You offered a topic/issue that only impacts a handful of people, if that.

10.        Your message seemed offensive, divisive, or nasty.

11.        Your message contradicts the editorial viewpoint of the media outlet.

12.        Your message was filled with spelling and grammatical errors.

13.        You presented inaccurate facts.

14.        You failed to share an interesting story idea.

15.  Your message did not sound as good as competing ones.

The list could go on. The main thing here is that you realize your message can be viewed by many and rejected by nearly everyone. You need to analyze what is going wrong and retool immediately. Always experiment with a pitch. Send it to a handful of people before blasting it out to everyone. Always customize your pitch for the reader.

But let’s say you clear the gatekeepers and get to be interviewed or have your book revived or be quoted in a feature or news story and still, your message is rejected -- this time by consumers. What do you do then?

It’s hard to determine why consumers don’t buy unless you pull them directly, but it’s safe to say that consumers didn’t find your message compelling enough to go from reading about you to wanting to pay money to read your work.


1.      Maybe you gave too much information in your media appearance, and people felt little need to buy the book.

2.      Maybe you undersold the book and sounded timid, reserved, or lacking confidence.

3.      Perhaps you just bored people and stumbled and bumbled in your interview.

4.      People could just have been unexcited about your book, especially when compared to all of the other forms of entertainment that they can consume.

5.      You could’ve done a great job in your media appearance but listeners- readers- viewers had trouble finding your book or felt the cover price was too high.

Rejection of all kind is expected throughout life and the publishing process. Seek to learn from it and you’ll be prepared the next time around.


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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