I thought I’d share a holiday book marketing pitch I wrote to my local newspapers last April for Earth Day. We authors need to learn how to make a query work for each individual title.
Now is the time to think about marketing your book for any and every holiday in 2018 — and not just the usual suspects! Earth Day, for example, is on April 22. It’s a day that doesn’t get a lot of coverage, in part because people don’t pitch for it, but some newspapers, like Pasadena Weekly, dedicate a whole page or section to it.
So, put your marketing cap on and figure out a way your book might interest the media. We’ll use Earth Day as an example. Think in terms of setting — like a state like Oklahoma that is having trouble with fracking. Think in terms of an animal in your book that might be endangered. Think in terms of a theme in your book that is related to nature or politics.
I thought I’d share a holiday book marketing pitch I wrote to my local newspapers last April for Earth Day. It illustrates how we authors need to figure out how to make a query work for each individual title.
This query is for my poetry book (with Magdalena Ball) titled Sublime Planet. It is a natural fit for Earth Day, but you might adapt it to use for other holidays, news cycles, or current events. I also include a few basic dos and don’ts at the end of the query letter. (By the way, if you are a blogger or have a radio show or anything else that would benefit from a current topic like this, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I mean, have at it! Magdalena and I have poetry chapbooks that celebrate most of the major holidays in any given year.)
Here it is. Notice that a letter can be very simple and benefits from being actionable and succinct. Editors are busy people.
Hi, I’m an award-winning author who knows how hard it is to find good stories for Earth Day, or anything that fits with current news about global warming, which we both know is almost always a topic of interest in the news.
Earth Day is sneaking up on us, and I have an idea for you that will help the environmentalists in your audience celebrate. They’ll love the accessible poems about the fragility of our cosmos by my Aussie poetry partner Magdalena Ball and I. I’d love to share my poems about an endangered giraffe in Kenya and the “Ode to Santa Ana,” which brings the topic up close and personal for media in California. (In fact, I welcome reprints of any of my poems from any of my award-winning poetry books!)
Further, I can help with a feature story on how Magdalena and I came to be partners living in separate hemispheres without having ever met. It could easily illustrate how closely we are all related on planet Earth. I can schedule interviews just about any time that works for you.
Please let my Sublime Planet poetry book help you with a feature story in April — one probably unlike any you have ever published.
Notice that I didn’t bother giving the editor my name. Unless your name is already known by the contact or you are as famous as J. K. Rowling, it isn’t necessary and just keeps you from the interesting stuff that will help them choose your idea for their book page, blog post, entertainment section, radio show, or whatever it is that they do.
I also didn’t mention the title in the first sentence. The only time that should come up front is if it is very catchy or outrageous.
Notice how precise the idea is. Query letters need to be clear about the benefits for the media or editor, who in most cases, need material for current events and holidays. Editors are perfectly capable of moving from the particular to the general or adapting one detailed idea to another of their needs.
Follow up with a telephone call to be sure your contact received your query and to give you a chance to refresh his or her memory or pitch a new idea.
By the way, sending media releases — even releases that get ignored — benefits you because you can contact the same editor for the next holiday or current event. Soon they will come to expect ideas from you that are well considered for their needs.
I included another script by well-known publicist Raleigh Pinsky that you can use as a template in The Frugal Book Promoter. It will give you even more details for formulating pitches — in this case, telephone pitches — that work.
How To Reinvigorate Your Book Marketing
How to Get Holiday Book Sales: Steps 1-3
Holiday Book Sales: Steps 4-6
Getting Holiday Book Sales as the Big Day Approaches: Steps 7-9
Holiday Book Sales, Steps 10-12: This Year and Beyond