Successful Book Pitching (Part 1)
by Beth Kallman Werner
Learn, Live and Breath these Tips for Simple, Savvy book Selling
Some people believe that selling is a natural talent; more about being liked than being trained with a skill. Truth be told, like most other things, pitching a book is a little bit of both – tossed with some old fashioned luck, positive energy in the universe, a good hair day, the right blouse or tie, and mostly, what kind of day your listener is having, which you have NO control over.
Selling isn’t easy, but it can be done, and it can be fun – especially for authors – because who is more passionate about their product than an author pitching his/her book? Yes, some of you may be natural salespeople, and yet some of you may cringe at the thought of self-promotion. Regardless of your past experience, if you have a creative mind, an excellent book, and a keen ability to listen with intuition, you can sell like you never imagined.
This article is intended to serve as a sales training guide for authors; a checklist to help you craft a series of pitches to have ready at any moment. There are three things to remember:
The four Ps of marketing:
Product – First and foremost, you must have an excellent book. If your book is not of fantastic quality (content, cover design, editing, layout and production, etc.), you have to ask yourself why readers will notice it, then spend precious time and money on buying and reading it. You also need to consider whether your book will not only be bought and read, but mentioned, discussed, and recommended to others. Will word of mouth help your book take on a life of its own? Considering these questions will help you start to form marketing ideas, along with realistic goals and expectations.
Position – Who are the layers of your target audience? What will your book mean to them? Will it enlighten, entertain, empower, educate? All of the above? Is it a light, chick lit summer vacation book, or a seasonal tax prep guide for dummies? Think about who your readers are, and how you can promote in seasonal message themes throughout the year.
Pricing – Today’s book pricing is, in a word, anarchy. There doesn’t seem to be an agreed standard of right or wrong, but there are loads of opinions about both. My suggestion as a sales trainer is, price to sell. Go with introductory sale pricing or even FREE launch days to kick off a new title. Do your homework. Research other books in your genre and how they are priced per format by various sellers. Consider your margins with each distributor to determine realistic financial goals and a successful pricing formula.
Promotion – Promotion actually breaks down into even MORE Ps… people, prospects, platform, presentations, pitching, press and PR, the list goes on. Promotion is essentially the mix of media channels and tools you select to integrate for massive yet targeted book exposure.
The four keys to any successful pitch: Simple. Concise. Informative. Entertaining.
When you can accomplish this mix in each of the pitch scenarios listed below, you will have a winning pitch prepared and ready every time, and you will never blow an opportunity to sell your book. There can be many reasons why a...store manager or producer might reject a book, but you want to walk away from every exchange knowing that you were prepared, professional and convincing.
If you’ve done all you could, and the book simply isn’t a fit for them at this time, you move on with your chin up and no regrets. Rejection is a natural part of sales. The gift is when you wisely prepare, then approach each encounter with confidence, so you can walk away with dignity regardless of how it turns out.
Successful Book Pitching (Part 2).
Beth Kallman Werner is Founder and President of Author Connections, LLC. The Author Connections mission is to showcase talents and titles that deserve to shine. For more information about Beth Werner and/or Author Connections (AC), go to: www.authorconnections.com.
Image courtesy of kwschenk.