Using connections vs. pitching cold

When I pitch articles or event ideas, I always first look to see if I have a contact, or know someone who knows someone. Sometimes I defer pitching an idea because I’m waiting for that connection to arrive.

But when I just go ahead and pitch, interesting things happen. My first New York Times article was the result of a cold pitch. So whenever I need a reminder that cold pitches can work — as long as the idea and timing are right — I think about that experience.

Planning my book tour, I fell into the same old patterns. I quickly followed up on leads and introductions and dragged my feet when I wanted to approach a venue and had no contacts. And again, my fear was unfounded. The very first event I secured — and one I’m most excited about — is a panel discussion at McNally Robinson Booksellers my favorite bookstore in my neighborhood (Soho/West Village). All it took was walking in and introducing myself to the event coordinator and then following up with a well-tailored proposal. I’m proud to say that the event planner emailed the morning after getting my pitch offering me a slot — even though she told me they never do events for career books.

Michael Melcher (self-styled career coach to the stars) gave me an emergency coaching session on this very issue a few months ago when I was slipping into pitch avoidance mode. He showed me a pitch he’d used that resulted in a speaking gig at a business school in Milan — a great gig, and a great travel experience. Reading that pitch (and any successful one I’ve written) is another good way to remind myself that it can work. Thinking about traveling to Milan helps too.

Filed under Book Promotion, careers, HeyMarci Blog, The Heymarci Blog, Writing

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