Coming up with pitches for the media is one of my favorite exercises. It’s like writing the perfect musical lyric, a line in a poem or a greeting card message—the words come together in a way that feels like I am making art.
How will you pitch yourself to the news media? What will you say—to whom, how, and when? You are the choreographer of your own play -- so make it great!
First, brainstorm and just take note of ideas that naturally flow. Don’t edit or censor anything. Just get the words down.
Second, look at the obvious. Whether your book is serious non-fiction or a romance novel or a children’s book with a dog theme, go with what you can’t run from. For instance, a book on dieting and fitness should be presented to the media with pitches relating to those topics—weight loss, food, exercise, nutrition, appearance, energy, etc. But it can also be about relationships—how a better body attracts people or how a better body gives you confidence. It can be about looking younger or saving money by not buying junk food. It can be about reversing/avoiding disease and chronic conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, or back problems.
Third, think about taking the obvious and connecting it to what’s in the news. For instance, since you write about dieting and health, you can comment on people, events, polls, studies and things that are not in your book but are relevant to what you know and do. If a study comes out showing how many people are obese, you hijack that study and take ownership of it and start talking about it in a way that relates to what your book is about.
Fourth, think of who to pitch it to. In the case of a print publication, you can go to a book editor, but you can also go to a health editor, feature editor, and those who cover things like business, relationships and news—as long as you customize your pitch to meet the needs and interests of those specialized beats.
Fifth, take it to the extreme. Just saying you show people how to lose weight is not enough. Saying you’ll show how people can lose 20 pounds in 20 days is catchy. Saying something like “You can get rid of your diabetes after 6 weeks on this diet” is provocative. Only make claims you can back up, of course.
Sixth, make predictions and projections, assert theories, and venture into the world of speculation. Use questions to headline a pitch, such as: What would you do if you lost 25 pounds this month? Does eating chocolate help avoid certain cancers? Could you get your best friend to lose weight without her knowing it?
Pitching the media takes creativity, confidence and persistence. Luck, timing and personality play a role too. So do your credentials, book and pitch ideas. Keep on trying different ideas and combinations of ideas until you find a taker. Then build on that success—until it’s time to again change the pitch. Start with the basics and the obvious and work your way to the extremes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014
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