We get a lot of review requests. While we read each and every one of them, all of the dystopian YA and vampire paranormal romance stories start to bleed together because the pitches simply are not distinct enough. Most of them get lost in the abyss; very few stand out enough for us to talk amongst ourselves about pursuing the read.
So when I woke up to a request forwarded to my personal email from CanaryTheFirst, I didn’t need her opening line of “laaaawl” to tell me it was going to be something pretty special.
1. Who you are:
I am Sky Luke Corbelli, I’m not trained in the force
But I thought that you all might enjoy
A different approach, with some lyric, of course
Though it’s really just a shameless ploy
2. How you came across our blog:
I stumbled my way through a list that I found
Indie SF Reviewers, the same
And I thought that since I was looking around
To the birds should I submit my name
3.The title and genre of your book:
The book that I’ve written is called Wind-Scarred
Sci-Fantasy is what it’s in
4. A brief blurb or description of the book:
For the section I think my meter may be marred
So I’ll let a new rhyme scheme begin
My novel takes place in the world of tomorrow
Or perhaps the day after, as the case may be
For mankind has known full nothing but sorrow
For one thousand years in their Sanctuary
Then out from the gloom there emerges a light
Ezra of the Hawkins, our story’s hero
Who through opposition shall strive, sneak and fight
And to humanity the world he will show
A fast-paced adventure, and Ezra must learn
That the world may be a bit more than it seems
That trust is a thing all people must earn
And even the Elements often have dreams
That was horrible, I apologize, I’ll try to refrain from flights of lyrical fancy… here’s the description from Amazon:
But at that point, I didn’t even need the actual blurb. My brain had made the instant connection: if this person is willing to do put the time into something so ridiculous as create a lyrical pitch for their story, then they must put a lot of effort into their other pieces of writing as well. I was sold — hooked. I needed the book, and I needed it now.
When I graduated high school and was looking for a job to work through college, my high school counselor gave me the best piece of advice: just make sure your resume stands out. Put it on blue paper, give it a nice header, do anything to get your piece of paper-that-looks-just-like-every-other-high-schooler’s-resume noticed.
That’s what Corbelli did here: got noticed. In a sea of like-themed stories, this one rose to the top of my reading list solely because the time was taken to make a personalized pitch. (Did you notice the reference to the ‘birds’ near the the beginning? That let me know the pitch was made just for us Canaries.)
So this is pitch rule #1: Know your audience. Is this the sort of pitch you want to send to a top-tier publishing house or agent? Probably not. But is it the right pitch to send to book bloggers who likely see a dozen or so requests a day? Absolutely.
To the rest of you indie authors out there, take note. I’m not saying write us (and other indie review blogs) lyrical verse. That is sure to get old really fast. But do something to stand out. Have a nice header. Open with comments that are directly tied to the blog you’re querying. (Reviewers always like to know their work is being read, too. And vague comments of “I like your blog” don’t count.) Have a shot of the cover art in the email.
And for god’s sake: if you do end up sending a form letter, don’t make it obvious. There is no faster way to get buried in the pile than by sending something that opens Dear Sir/Madam or To Whom It May Concern.
We’re in the business of writing. But don’t forget that it’s creative writing.
Be creative. Get noticed.
Do you have a pitch or synopsis that you’d like to send to the sacrificial altar? Email it our way to email@example.com with the subject “Pitch Article Submission”.
That’s hilarious! Another tip to newbies, please don’t send a form letter to 20 or so bloggers and include all of those bloggers email addresses in your to: list.
Ha! That’s a great one, too! That’s the perfect time to utilize the bcc option. 😀
Oh hey, there’s that thing I wrote!
Just to act as the voice of reason here, I should probably point out that… whoops, forgot where I was…
I feel that I should offer up a disclaimer
Lest you take my madness to heart
I’ve been told my method is lame, maybe lamer
And only detracts from the art
You can never be sure if your target will read
Or like the things you have to say
So remember that poems can make bloggers’ eyes bleed
And oft-times it’s safe you should play
Anyways, I’m glad you all enjoyed my query, it was probably more fun to write than it was to read. And I completely agree with the points made here, particularly knowing your audience. I mean, I always read through the reviews offered by a site before submitting my book, mostly because I hear cookbook reviewers haven’t found the culinary purpose of a time-fixed wormhole, but also because a reviewer’s temperament is important. So pitch to someone who actually wants to hit, and you’re sure to get homeru- No… wait, that doesn’t work… shoot, I’m bad at baseball metaphors…
Thanks again for slapping my pitch!
I bow the the master of lyrical replies!
Good to know. I’ve learned a lot about query letters to lit agents, and it seems like a lot of the rules would translate to asking for reviews. It’s something I’ve never done, but plan on doing in the future, so this is good to think about.
Any other dos and don’ts for pitching?
Keep an eye on this series for more dos and don’ts! We try to post one every Friday.
Awesome. I’m a follower, so I look forward to it.
Good point, CanaryTheFirst! It’s great to see you all have such a sense of humor. One reason for selecting your sight as opposed to others who seem regretful they had started the sight in the first place. Enjoy your reviews. Love your icons, especially the tyrannosaurus-canary. Thanks for the useful and entertaining chirps.
We’d never be regretful of starting this site. We have way too much fun!
I’ve looked long and hard for a book review site I would actually want to read and that is also well designed! You guys are very cute and I can’t wait to read more 🙂 Great article too, BTW. Cheers.
Thank you so much for such a kind comment! It’s got us all a-flutter. 😀