Help I’m Pitching to a Publisher: How To

Have you ever pitched a book idea to a publisher? Well, I haven’t, but I just found out that I will be able to pitch my book to a publisher face-to-face in less than two weeks.

Not only is it just a publisher, but it is the publisher that represents the author of my favorite book, Bird Box by Josh Malerman. Bird Box is the closest book I can find to my book. Actually, reading Malerman’s book, I better understood my own.

The appointment is only 10 minutes long, but, supposedly, a book pitch is supposed to be under three minutes. So I’ll take at least thirty seconds to tell her that I am a huge fan of one of her authors. After the fan boy routine, which I will try to limit and control, I will give my pitch.

Just thinking about it makes me equally excited and nervous. So when in doubt, I revert back to what I was originally trained in, Acting. How can this help you control nerves?

  1. Do your research
  2. Be Prepared and Know It
  3. Rehearse
  4. Relax, Do You’re Best, and then Walk Away


Do Your Research
Luckily this portion is already taken care of. I know the publisher, I know she works with authors in the genre I write, and I know numerous works her company represents.

Be Prepared and Know It

In Acting it’s all about knowing your character more than knowing your lines, but in this situation I will have to create my own script. Below are two types of book pitches:

Quick Pitch– one sentence explanation of your book. This is also called an elevator        pitch. Luckily this is not the type of meeting I have, but still crafting a one sentence pitch is a good place to start. One sentence that tells what this story is about, but not a play by play of the plot. The goal is to hook them to want to hear more.

Longer Pitch– Start off by brain storming a list of important things and then write it out. Have this ready and have it polished; this is not the time to improv. Focus in on one element of the story that is memorable all within a two to three minute pitch. It should be like a movie trailer or the back cover of your book. Again, the goal is to hook them into wanting to hear more.


The point of rehearsal, especially in this situation, is not to recite every line of your pitch perfectly, but rather build your confidence in yourself by firmly knowing you can be confident in your pitch. You’ve put in the time so it’s your time to shine. Your words need to be natural and conversational. It’s okay if you mess up, you’ve practiced enough to know how to get back on track. The publisher is wanting a great book, not booking you for an acting gig. So relax and let your book do the talking.

Relax, Do Your Best, and then Walk Away

Whether it be an audition or a book pitch, the person on the other side of the table wants to find someone to higher or to represent. So they want you to do a good job. The biggest obstacle in these types of situations is your self. So relax, do your best, and then walk away.

Other Tips

  • I know I’m going to be excited already so I won’t have any coffee before the meeting
  • Just as if I was going to perform, I will do an easy physical and vocal warm-up before I leave to go to my meeting and right before
  • I will try and anticipate questions that the publisher might ask and have my responses ready
  • I will ask other people to listen to my Pitch and take into consideration the questions they ask me
  • I will gather information from professional websites and other well known writing references and heed that advice over Friends and family who are just trying to help
  • Wear something comfortable that also makes you feel confident


If you have any stories or tips for pitching to a publisher I’d love to hear more about what to do and what not to do. Please leave a comment. Thanks and wish me luck.

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