Who, What, When, How, and Why
So you wrote a book, and now you’re wondering how to pitch it. Does sending a manuscript to every publisher known to mankind work? Well, perhaps, but it’s not very efficient, nor realistic. Agents and publishers are like niche writers: each one has a specialty that they cater to. Submitting your science fiction novel to an agent that only works with romance novelists isn’t going to work.
So, how do you pitch your book idea, and to who? When do you pitch, and why?
The Book Proposal
Think of the book proposal as marketing in letter form. It’s a method to pitch your book idea, and tell people why it’s a sellable story. Send it off to agents and publishers that are currently taking submissions, and you’re well on your way. Once you hear back from someone, they establish a contract and pay you to write the book.
The only drawbacks of this are that a) this only applies to non-fiction books (novelists have to write the books first), and b) if you’re a new writer, you have to write the book first. Many agents and publishers want to make sure you can produce the book first, prior to taking you on, if you’re a new writer.
Yes, book conferences are a great way to market yourself as an author, and really get exposure to agents and publishers. Now, the key is to try and schedule a “pitch session” with them. Most agents and publishers attending book conferences and conventions are looking for new talent. Schedule a time with the ones you know specialize in publishing your type of book, then decide what you want to cover during that pitch time, because it’s limited.
The Passive Approach
Believe it or not, there are services these days that cater more towards authors who want to focus on the one thing that matters in a writing career: the actual writing. Companies like Austin-based Authors.me strive towards helping authors. Simply post your manuscript, and they take care of categorizing it where it belongs in their system.
From there, agents and publishers sift through whatever topics they work with, and find the manuscripts, hence selecting the ones that grab their attention. That means you get exposure and minimize the submission process, so you can continue having a life, and writing.
Pitching your book idea is much like perusing a career in writing: there is no set way of doing it. As long as you pitch to publishers and agents specializing in your niche, and actively seeking new talent, you’re good to go. Try writing book proposals, if you’re writing a non-fiction book. Otherwise, write it, have it edited, and submit it to companies like Authors.me. Submit books to publishers and agents, or even attend some conferences and schedule pitch sessions.
Whatever approach you decide on, keep trying and insisting. Even the best stories were rejected numerous times prior to getting the attention they deserved. It’s not a matter of what your story is, and how you pitch it, it’s about persistence.