Writer's Notes

5 Things to Know About Publishing Your Book

5 Things to Know about Publishing Your Book: True or False?

By G.P. Gottlieb

One: After writing and rewriting your manuscript thirty-seven times, you submit your final draft to 150 agents and/or publishers. You finally got a publishing contract, congrats! Now you can relax, scroll the internet looking for new boots, and read a juicy mystery set in Door County. True or false? False. Don’t be ridiculous – now you must start a list of followers, begin sending out a monthly newsletter, make sure your blog is up to date, and come up with a marketing plan!

Two: You start engaging with other authors, reaching out to bloggers about writing a guest post, seeking book groups and bookstores interested in a presentation, attending conferences, and sending out requests to be on podcasts and radio shows. You spend a couple weeks doing all that and scheduled 15 events, so you’re done! Now you can lie in bed after dinner and read a delicious historical mystery set in 1870’s England. True or false? False. It’ll take you two or three months, not just two weeks to reach out to at least thirty blogs and podcasts, and then you might have to wait weeks for responses.

Three: You’ve arranged to write 17 guest blogs and do 4 interviews on other writers’ blogs, so you list your characters and write about 500 words about what kind of pet each one has, how they like their coffee, and what their favorite kind of cookie is. Then you answer the interview questions for each blog, trying to sound cute and fun to be with. And that’s it. Now you can sit outside on the first warm day of spring, reading about a clever maid who solves mysteries in New York City. True or false? False. What makes you think that every one of those blogs gets thousands of viewers or that those viewers will whip out their credit cards to buy your book just because you wrote a cute blog post about how much your cats enjoy hearing you read out loud?

Four: You’re invited to participate in a panel discussion about music and literature because your latest book is about a psychopath who murders anyone who sings under-pitch. You can’t tell when the singing isn’t perfect, but your best friend takes it seriously and criticizes nearly every performance she’s ever attended. She loved all three of your books and has no idea that the murderer is based on her because you cleverly turned her into a man. When interviewers ask for the origin of your story, you tell them all about your friend and how her constant patter about “poor intonation,” and “scooping” inspired you to write the series. True or false? False. Absolutely not. Take that secret to your grave. Make up something about how your mom always said certain performers should be dragged through the mud, and you extrapolated from that.

Five: Your cousin introduces you to her author friend who self-published eight books in a cozy mystery series set in Skokie. You agree to read each other’s latest books, and hers turns out to be about a jittery Brittany Spaniel who solves murders in and around Oakton Park. Still, you agreed, so you write a brief review about how fun it was to walk down memory lane and give it 3 stars on Amazon even though it wasn’t worth more than 1. She gives you 3 stars even though your novel is complex, nuanced, and on a completely different level than hers, but at least it’s another review. True or false? True, but don’t worry about it, because Amazon will remove both reviews – they hate author swaps.

G. P. Gottlieb
Author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series
Host, New Books in Literature, New Books Network
Writer's Notes

Guest Post: How NOT to Pitch Your Book to Bloggers and Reviewers

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G.P. Gottlieb’s Smothered
A Whipped and Sipped Mystery

Today’s guest is a prolific author/blogger, G. P. Gottlieb, who shares her tips for pitching. Great pointers here!Thonie

By G. P. Gottlieb 

“I would be delighted to be interviewed for the New Books Network. Thanks. Here’s my email.”

I just deleted that message. I am host for New Books in Literature, a podcast channel on the New Books Network. Although I interview authors of both commercially and independently published fiction, I focus on independent presses, which I believe deserve more attention. My purview is contemporary literary fiction and I have recently also started interviewing one literary mystery writer each month. To find authors, I review pitches from publishers and publicists, read journals, get recommendations from other authors, and scroll through my social media groups.

I am also an author (my first culinary mystery was released in 2019) and know how hard it is to find readers, so I’m surprised that so many authors and publicists don’t take the time to prepare before contacting me. They don’t look me up on the NBN website or listen to any of my podcasts, all available on the site for free. If they checked, they’d see that there is a place to pitch their books, they’d notice that there are many different NBN channels, and they’d learn that I’m the host for New Books in Literature.

For my own marketing purposes regarding my soon-to-be-published second culinary mystery, I’ve spent hours researching potential mystery book reviewers, podcasters, bloggers, and other sites. Before sending a request, I check the host’s review policy, I triple-check the spelling of the host’s name, and I confirm that the host is interested in culinary mysteries. I bet that most people who accept pitches would rather get books that interest them, presented thoughtfully, than three pages of blurbs about a book they won’t read or shot-in-the-dark messages which, like me, they’ll just delete.

I like to think of it as creating a relationship instead of asking a favor of someone I’ve never met.   Thonie Hevron, a mystery author who posts guest essays and book reviews on her website and in all the usual places, talks about professional courtesy. “Don’t waste another’s precious time. This business is about relationships, not what you can get from another,” she says, adding, “Some of the most satisfying professional and personal relationship I have are with authors I’ve met online.”

She’s way friendlier than me, but I finally figured out how important it is to become Facebook friends with authors I’ve interviewed and with bloggers and reviewers who have helped me publicize my culinary mystery. Even if I just follow them and they don’t follow me back, I get more of a feeling that we’re all in this together.

There is no guarantee that these suggestions will assure you a successful book launch or wonderful sales, but maybe they’ll help you establish a better relationship with bloggers, bookstore owners, and podcast hosts who just might dedicate some time to helping you publicize your book.

Be clear and upfront in the subject line. Type: “Book Review Request,” or “Guest Blog Post.” Remember that your e-mail could be one of hundreds in their inbox. One of my colleagues always responds, even if the subject line says, “You Must Read My Amazing, Award-Winning Novel.” That colleague is a sweetie-pie. I’d delete it in a heartbeat.

Acknowledge a human being in your greeting. Don’t start blabbing about your book without some kind of greeting. “Dear G.P.” is fine, or “Hi, Best Blog in the World.” Being friendly goes a long way.

Acknowledge the site before launching into a pitch, maybe say something about it. “Brilliant questions in your penetrating interview with W. Shakespeare. My novel is also set in England!”

Don’t give a host work to do. If it’s a mysterious title, explain it. If you message my Facebook page, say you’re requesting an interview and give me your FB link and email address. I’m not going to take the time to google you. And one message will be sufficient – I hate how FB Messenger interrupts whatever I’m doing.

If you don’t hear back, don’t send a follow-up request. Just put that host/blogger/reviewer in your ‘Not this time’ file. You can try again with your next book. Or the one after that. For this book, I sent out nearly 100 requests for reviews and received about 25 responses. It’s a numbers game. Just send out a lot of requests.

Don’t argue with a potential host/blogger/reviewer: If I tell you I’m not interested in ‘Mystery of the Lost Shoe,’ don’t tell me that it’s completely different from anything I’ve ever read. As my NBN colleague, C.P. Lesley, the friendly host for New Books in Historical Fiction writes, “If the host tells you she has no time in her schedule, don’t write back demanding to know when space might be available.”

Make sure to ask what format the host prefers: Don’t add attachments until they are requested. And if the host prefers reading a physical book, don’t go into a lengthy explanation about why it’s only available as an eBook. Yup, that happened once. You are asking someone to invest time in helping you market your book, so offer to send the format they prefer, even if it costs more.

Follow the host/blogger/reviewer on social media: Denise Fleischer, who reviews books and offers book promotions at Gotta Write Network says, “This is the single best way of thanking someone who helps publicize your book.” Denise also suggests that you consider the nominal fee sometimes charged for coordinating a blog tour and thank the host/reviewer/blogger on your social media.

I’m sure, or relatively sure, that I don’t need to mention this (I can ‘hear’ you rolling your eyes) but it would be nice if you conclude your request with a “thank you.”  

Good luck, fellow authors!

About G.P. Gottlieb: (
G.P. has worked as a musician, a teacher, and an administrator, but she’s happiest when writing recipe-laced murder mysteries. Battered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery and Smothered: A Whipped and Sipped Mystery take place in the spring and summer of 2019 and a third book in the series will center on a murder that occurs during the city of Chicago’s lockdown in May 2020. G.P. Gottlieb has always experimented in the kitchen and created her delicious vegan cookies and cakes in direct opposition to what she learned in courses at Chicago’s French Pastry School. She is host for New Books in Literature, a podcast channel on the New Books Network, the mother of three grown children, and lives with her husband in a Chicago high-rise that is strikingly similar to the building portrayed in the Whipped and Sipped Mystery series.

Smothered A Whipped and Sipped Mystery

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