Monday, June 2, 2014

Turning No Into Yes For Book Sales & Media

I used to have a sign hanging on my office wall that read: “No is a delayed Yes.” It served to remind me that some people, be it media or potential clients, would say no to my pitch but reserved the right to change their minds. If only I could convince them to convert a negative response into a positive one. But it’s possible, and it happens more often than you think.

So how do you turn a decline into an acceptance?

You need to first have an idea why someone turned you down. Is it for a reason that could change? For instance, if a book reviewer turned down your invitation to review your book because you missed an editorial submission deadline, you will not be able to change their mind. But if you pitch an idea for a story to a feature editor and she dismisses it, you can certainly come back, maybe in a few weeks, with a new pitch.

Second, you must think about what would need to change to get the media outlet to say yes. Maybe pitch a different person or department at that outlet. Start to think of the needs of that person or outlet and rescript your pitch to align with what their readers/listeners/viewers want to be exposed to.

Third, wait for a change in the news cycle or calendar. For instance, you might be pitching a book about how mothers can raise healthy daughters that got ignored in February, but it would be perfect in May for Mother’s Day. Or maybe a celebrity’s daughter just got arrested for a crime and now you can comment on how mothers need to do x in order to avoid such scandals.

Fourth, sometimes the timing and mood of the person you pitched were off, and all that you need to do is go back at it the next week. You may have called a reporter who was rushing to leave for the day, and he hastily dismissed you. But if you call again, and he’s open to listening, he may say yes.

Fifth, your original pitch may have been book-centric and not expert-focused. You don’t keep telling a news reporter about what’s in your book; instead, you use the book as a calling card and as a piece of your credentials and discuss topics you can speak on and give a sample of your more provocative and insightful views.

Lastly, the media wants great guests. Just because your first attempt to persuade them failed, it often is not a permanent no. They really want you to show them why they’d be fools to pass you up. 

It’s just like dating. Change your online profile or photo and all of a sudden, you’ve got mail! Remember, a no is just a delayed yes.

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 © 2014

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