A “pitch” is the email (sometimes a letter) that you or your publicist sends out to contacts on your media list asking for reviews, coverage and/or publicity. This email will be a contact's first impression of your eBook (and you), so make sure when you are writing a pitch it is professional, well-written, and representative of you and your eBook.
Remember when you are writing a pitch, you will probably be contacting many different outlets. Though it would be easier to just sent a mass pitch to all of them at once, this strategy usually doesn’t get you the publicity you want in the long run. Instead, personalize your pitch to each outlet you contact. Address each contact by name (and if you want, mention or comment on an article or blog post your contact recently wrote), and explicitly connect the outlet to your eBook’s content.
When writing a pitch, avoid exaggerations. Be confident and honest about your book, but don’t make superfluous claims. How does your book fill a niche that is both unique and necessary? How is it different from similar books? How will covering your book benefit the outlet in question?
In addition, make sure to proofread your pitch and correct any spelling or grammar errors. Also think about tone. Since you’re pitching to a person you do not know, you will want to be respectful and semi-formal.
When writing a pitch, start with a “hook” that will capture the attention and focus of the person to whom you are pitching. The hook can be a statistic (especially if your book is nonfiction), an interesting fact about your main character, a line about your unusual plot or approach, or anything else that catches and keeps the attention of your contact.
For fiction books, after your hook briefly introduce your main character and plot. Talk about the central conflict or problem in your book, making sure not to give anything away that will make reading the book unnecessary. Avoid going into the intricacies of the plot, for you run the risk of losing your readers. Once you’re done introducing your eBook, give a little cliffhanger that will leave your media contact wanting to read more.
For nonfiction books, talk about what informational void your book fills. How and why will your book benefit readers? It’s also a good idea when writing a pitch to mention your audience (for both fiction and nonfiction books, but especially for nonfiction). When you’re pitching your nonfiction work, it’s a good idea to mention some statistics about your topic and your audience.
After you introduce the eBook, introduce yourself. Who are you, and how does your past and your credentials relate to your ability to tell your story? Remember to keep the focus on the eBook itself, even when you’re talking about your own background.
In your pitch, offer to send your outlets a complimentary copy of your eBook, but wait for their reply before you send it. eBook files are very large and often run the risk of being rejected by the other users’ email, so it is best to wait for confirmation. You can however attach a few sample chapters initially to give the media contact something to look over and decide if they want a copy of the full eBook.
If you don’t get a response within a few days, follow up. When you send out your follow up pitches, it is a good idea to send them in the same email thread so your contact can see your past pitches. The first time you follow up (which would be your second pitch), write a little blurb about your book and yourself, just as a reminder. For the second follow up (which would be the third pitch), just ask if the outlet plans on covering your book. If you still get no response after your third pitch, do not follow up again. If you follow up after this point you run the risk of annoying your contact and losing a chance for coverage in the future.
Keep in mind that if you don't hear from contacts right away, it does not necessarily mean you will never hear back. When our publicists pitch authors' books, they sometimes hear back months later that the book is being reviewed. Overall, writing a pitch and actually pitching takes time, dedication and a thick skin. Be prepared for rejection, but also don’t be surprised when offers of coverage come your way!