Authors: Top 10 tips for your pitch

This is a version of a post I wrote a while back. I’ve had a number of people pitching to me recently and I thought I’d repeat it.

  1. I have both a “Review Policy” and an “About me” page. They reference and link each other. Please read them and know what my rules are. If you dont follow my rules, I reserve the right to not read your book. If you have found the email address to send your pitch to, you have found my review policy.

  2. If you are asking for a free review, please don’t ask me to purchase your book in order to read it. I know you’ve put a lot of time and effort into your book and want financial recompense but I put time and effort into reading a book and then reviewing it. Please value my time at least as much as you value yours.

  3. If you’ve found my email address, you’ve found at least two ways of addressing me in your pitch. An email  without at least a salutation (in the same font as the rest of your email so it doesn’t look like a cut and paste job), lets me know you have put *some* effort into checking me out and that you value my response. I’ll put in at least the same amount of effort in responding to you as you have in contacting me.

  4. A pitch is you trying to sell your book to someone else. How you present your pitch gives an indication of how your book will be. A poor pitch equals a poor book

  5. A poorly formatted pitch will turn me off. This will include: cut and paste jobs; inconsistent font size and colour; links that are broken or non-existent; visually difficult colour ways such as blue text on a black background, which then changes to purple on black; general spelling mistakes; spurious pictures – of the author or otherwise – that clog up the email (send as an attachment, and only then if I ask for them).

  6. A pitch with poor content, full of review quotes, but no idea what the book is about, where to find it, no click through to *any* website so I can find out the information the pitch has failed to tell me, will put me off. If I have to put in work to find out what your book is about doesn’t make it a mystery – it makes your pitch consigned to the trash…..

  7. Don’t be quirky in the hope of getting my attention. It’s akin to applying to a FTSE100 company writing in green ink on purple paper about something unrelated to the company – you’re not going to get to the interview. I’ve had a pitch sent me, plain black text on white background, neatly formatted, personalised enough to make me think the author had done his homework, no flashy pictures, text etc. It gave me a short but decent enough overview of the book, and after reading the pitch I thought “I have no reason NOT to read this book” (I think I even said so to the author as I accepted the book). Don’t give me a reason NOT to read your book – and every reason why I SHOULD.

  8. Be aware of territory rights, and what can be downloaded from which sites. I am in the UK, so cannot download books from If I tell you I can’t download, so won’t be taking your book forward, please don’t email a week later, sending the same link and asking when I’ll be reviewing your book.

  9. Plan ahead. I have a day job, other commitments, and other books to read. I read fast and I read a lot, but I’m not that good. I’ve often got enough books to keep me busy for 4 – 6 months and in fact, I had to stop taking books on for 2014 – IN MAY! The more popular the blog, the longer the lead time to get it read and reviewed – please dont contact a blogger, asking for a review within the week.

  10. Have some form of Social Media presence – I work off primarily off twitter, but also cross post to google+ etc. I’ll let you know when the review is up (via twitter) and it’s up to you to social media the darn out of it

Edited to add new bonus points!

  1. Keep your pitch short and snappy.  Think of it as a CV/Resume for your book, and therefore keep it under 2 pages.  If I find myself trawling through 4 pages of text, I’m going to lose the will to live after about 5 seconds, and you’ve lost me. Certainly don’t include excerpts from your book (in an attachment or otherwise), especially when it takes your email over the two pages.




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