8 Tips for Pitching a Blogger

~ by Nicole Melanson

 

Baseball mitt and ball

I’m often asked how I choose interviewees for WordMothers. Basically I follow a rule of thirds. Roughly 1/3 of the writers I feature come recommended by previous subjects; 1/3 are writers I pursue either because I’m personally interested in their work or because my goal as an editor is to curate with diversity in mind; and 1/3 are writers who pitch me.

When pitched, I like to say yes whenever possible as my blog is all about showcasing and supporting a wide range of female authors, but I do decline on a regular basis. So how do you tip the odds in favor of an acceptance?

 

  1. Know the blog

 

I get asked all the time to write book reviews. I don’t do book reviews; I do interviews. Sometimes I shout out a thank-you gift book by showing off the cover and giving my general reaction to the blurb and a sample passage, but that’s as formal as it gets — largely because I have 5 small children with busy school / sport / social lives and therefore 90% of my reading happens during the holidays. Monique at Write Note Reviews says she’s even been pitched to evaluate suitcases! So…always familiarize yourself with a blog and make sure it suits your needs before you ask to be included.

 

Magnifying glass

 

  1. Know thyself

 

You might be known as “the writer” in your community, but there’s nothing unique about that on a site dedicated to writing. However, if you say you’re “a politically passionate first-generation Australian penning lesbian romances set against rural landscapes in a dystopian future” that gives me a much better sense of your work and where to place you. I might decide you’d offer a really interesting perspective during a Romance Week, or I might realize I’ve been running a lot of children’s author interviews lately and think you’d make a refreshing contrast.

 

Picture frame

 

 

  1. Directions, please

 

Further to the above, save me the detective work and tell me the name of your book/s. Direct me to your website. Give me your Twitter handle or a link to your Facebook page. Everyone in your native country or individual genre might know you, but presume I don’t. I’m only one person and I have biases in what I read for both academic purposes and pleasure, so unless you’re insanely famous, it’s entirely possible I’ve never heard of you.

 

Treasure map

 

  1. Have a presence

 

There’s no escaping it: you need to have a home somewhere on social media. You might be the kind of person who runs the SM equivalent of a 5-star hotel with a casino and 24-hour nightclub attached, or you might prefer the simplicity of a little lean-to on a deserted island. The point is, you have to have some kind of address where I can send people for a virtual cup of coffee to get to know you better after they finish reading your interview.

 

Little red house on an island

 

  1. Be a presence

 

If you want to get noticed by a blogger, be noticeable. A friendly hello makes a great start. “Like” and share posts, RT where applicable, leave comments… Make an active contribution to sites that appeal to you.

 

Hands waving

 

  1. Subscribe

 

I’m always amazed when people rave about how great a blog is and why it’s the perfect fit for their work, but…sorry, no follow. Yes, I realize you can’t become a member of every single club that hosts you, or personally acknowledge every person that contributes so much as a comma to your manuscript, but if you genuinely believe that something deserves a wider audience, why wouldn’t you put your hand up to be part of that audience, too? Blogs are all about community so stand up and be counted!

 

Auction paddle

 

  1. RSVP

 

Sometimes I say no because you’re the fifth person with a blind, blonde, paranormal, lawyer protagonist pitching me that week. Sometimes it’s because I can’t figure out if you’ve ever actually published anything. Sometimes it’s because you’ve called me Melanie instead of Nicole and sent me an enormous, unlabelled media file that I don’t dare open. If you’ve been even remotely courteous in your query, I’ll explain why I’m opting not to feature you at this time. That’s usually the last I ever hear from someone, but the people who write back and thank me for my time and consideration anyway make me want to find a way to feature them later — and often I do!

 

Letter

 

  1. Follow through

 

A simple thank you goes a long way. I’ve published features that seem to have disappeared into the ether for all the feedback I’ve gotten from the author. On the flip side, I’ve developed relationships with some incredible writers and I go out of my way to continue promoting them however I can. I don’t expect a Christmas card, but bump into me around the traps from time to time (Twitter’s great for that!), keep me abreast of your work, show support for other authors, and I’ll be more than happy to keep spreading the word on your behalf.

 

Megaphone

 

In summary, want to be on a blog? Be patient, be consistent, be present, be persistent…all of those things. But most importantly, be polite — it really does pay off!

 

Thank you for reading, and happy pitching! 🙂

— Nicole Melanson

 

WordMothers is currently welcoming pitches for author interviews in 2016. Please get in touch via the Contact page.

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21 thoughts on “8 Tips for Pitching a Blogger

  1. This has been an incredibly helpful post. I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and am enjoying reading about all the great women writers.
    I’ve been wanting to send a pitch to you myself. I’ll be in touch. Thanks for all the work you do here.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A very helpful post. Are you happy for me to reblog?

    For me, if someone takes the time to get to know my blog, that helps. Suitcases, seriously? I did tell the person they could send me one anyway and never heard from them again. Politeness goes a long way and if I can’t help, then I try to redirect to someone I think can.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I laugh every time I think of you and your suitcases, Monique. I had a generic spraypaint offer that confused me for a bit – slipped through my spam filter somehow. And yes, very happy for the reblog – thank you!

      Like

  3. Great tips, but it amazes me that you have to spell it out. Isn’t most of it just common courtesy? Anyway, you host a great blog, which is so supportive of female writers. I’m in awe of you much you manage to do with five school-age children!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Louise! Honestly, I think some people just get overwhelmed and intimidated by the pitching process. Or they’re going through such an intense stage of submitting anywhere and everywhere that they just lose track of what they’re doing. I also find that some writers with a bit of old-school experience under their belt struggle to figure out how things work in the digital realm – making the transition to online communication can be tough if you’re used to being behind a podium or on a platform at a bookstore.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, that’s true. In the one and only pitch I’ve ever sent to an agent, I was so nervous, I couldn’t think straight. The font in the actual email somehow ended up microscopic and I forgot to number the pages of my manuscript. But I did something even more embarrassing later: After I’d made the changes she suggested, I sent her two versions of the opening chapters to see which she liked best! She replied saying she didn’t have time to read two versions of virtually the same thing! Maybe you need to include that in your next lot of tips for young players!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post. I rarely read / review books I receive from authors unless I already have some sort of relationship with them. (And yes, I know that makes it difficult for others.) But I so agree with your points above.

    The biggest one for me is the first. There are certain genres which really don’t appeal to me and I often get pitched books which sit firmly outside of my comfort zone.

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can appreciate that, Deb. With the blog, I love to include as wide a range of voices as possible but my personal reading tastes are much narrower. I also very much read according to whim and love to go back and forth between new buzzy books and old favorites. I guess there’s a fine line between reviewing as an extension of pleasure and doing it as a form of service to the industry.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for such an informative post, Nicole. Love your rule of thirds! I enjoy reading your posts about authors I admire and I also like finding out about authors I haven’t heard of. The writing process questions are always interesting to me. Keep up the fabulous work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Karen! I know people may wonder why I seem to chase up some recommendations and not others, or I run a feature that seems totally left-of-field, but overall, the rule of thirds achieves what I’m after in terms of building community but still adding fresh voices and projects to the mix. It’s a work in progress, though, so I’m always tweaking things to hit the best balance! Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Melanie, I love your suitcase blog! Hah! No, seriously, this is a great post on a site I’ve come to value immensely – sometimes it picks me up when things are flat, makes me laugh, and above all inspires me. And I’m honoured to have been on it myself, that just about made my year! Again thank you for all your work, especially considering your ‘other job’ of child-herding, plus your own writing & everything else that life tosses your way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carolyn! You were a lovely gem to discover and it was great being able to include you. 🙂 And you are welcome to call me Melanie. I actually get it all.the.time. I take comfort in the fact that people are borrowing letters from Melanson, at least, and not just calling me George or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask and point #6 reminded me. Once upon a time I used to subscribe to blogs via email but it became unmanageable. Then I discovered Google Reader and ultimately feedly which I love. As far as I can find out from the web, if I use feedly to follow a blog rrs feed, the blogger doesn’t know I’m following them (although they can see the number count of feedly followers in feedly if they use the app). Some bloggers see feedly as a problem because of this “hidden traffic’ which just appears as a hit from feedly but I can’t manage to keep up with everything I want to read without it. Do you have any thoughts on that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sandy. Facebook confounds thing too because most of the people who “Like” the WordMothers page do so from an official Author or Publisher page, and therefore don’t show in the count (only likes coming from a personal rather than fan page show). And of course there’s no way of knowing if people are reading every WordPress post immediately via direct email or just scrolling through the Reader whenever they’re so inclined. But for my purposes, I don’t have a problem with hidden traffic because I’m not using my stats to attract advertisers or pitch my services as a blogger. I’m not out to “catch” people for not following – just gently inviting them to participate in the community IYKWIM? Similar to how lit mags like contributors to subscribe, I guess. 🙂

      Like

  8. Pingback: Ep 89 Do you mourn the loss of a character? How to write a killer elevator pitch for your book, 10 over-writing traps to avoid, what’s your 2016 writing goal? Win in our “12 Days of Christmas” giveaway; how to pitch to bloggers; and Amazon’s new s

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