Specific pitch process that sold 10 million books

You know how you’ve been trying to get your boss/clients/co-workers to stop leaning on you to spray and pray, and instead trust you to do targeted pitches?

I’ve been talking about this for literally 20 years and I’m still astounded at the resistance.

Here’s an ironclad success story with the detailed pitching process that launched a first-time author to sell 10 MILLION books.

With it being early January you’re probably seeing lots of material about goals, habits, and productivity. That may include reference to Atomic Habits, James Clear’s #1 NYT bestseller.

Here’s how James ended up on 75 podcasts during launch week, and another 25 in the following couple weeks:

  1. Went through iTunes and clicked on every category of shows that could be relevant to the book (health, fitness, business, etc.)
  2. Reviewed the 100 shows listed in each category and singled out interview shows
  3. Put the 300 shows that resulted into a spreadsheet
  4. Wrote an individual email to each of those 300 shows

Here’s the pattern James followed:

“Hey, you’ve had on this previous guest in this episode, or you talked about this topic in this episode, I feel like I could provide something new or expand on that. It seems like it already went over well with your audience. If you’re interested, I’d love to come on. I’m sure the show is going to be successful whether I come on or not, but if you’re interested, let me know and I feel like we could have a good conversation.”

James wrote those drafts in advance, and then sent them all four months before the book came out. He spent about two months before the launch recording as many interviews as he could get. He asked the podcasters to hold the episode until launch week, and most did. (Side note – if you’re fortunate enough to land a really top-tier podcast, they are going to insist on being first and maybe even have a window of exclusivity.)

That’s how he achieved both quantity (100 podcast appearances!) and quality – all of those shows were at least in the top 100 in their categories.

Tell that story to the next person who wants you to add another 500 journalists to your media list and send them all the same pitch.

You can dig deeper into James’ book launch publicity by checking out his looooooong interview on the Tim Ferriss Show last week, from which I culled this case study.

This article was originally published on January 11, 2023

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