The Dos and Don’ts of Pitching Your Book to Retailers

Pitching your book to retailers for in-store placement consideration and events is essential for book promotion and sales. To a first-time author, this process can be difficult to navigate. We’ve outlined our dos and don’ts for pitching to retailers below to make things a little easier!


  • DO know what your retail pitching goals are.
    • Is your goal to secure a book signing and reading event? Do you want the store to carry and sell your book? Do you want both? It is important to know what your goals are before reaching out to retailers. Oftentimes bookstores will have one contact for event inquiries, and one contact for book buying and in-store placement consideration. Additionally, it is sometimes easier to secure in-store placement after you have already had an eventthis gives the bookstore an opportunity to see how popular the book is amongst their customers.
    • DO make your pitch email clear, concise, and to the point.
      • While it can be tempting to dive into the book’s details, it is better to keep your pitch as concise as possible. Bookstore and event managers are very busy, and they are more likely to pay attention if the information is presented to them in a clear, simple way.
      • DO include the book title, 13-digit ISBN number, and retail price in the subject line.
        • In addition to keeping the pitch email concise, be sure to include the key information about the book in the subject line. This again will make bookstore and event managers more likely to open your email.
        • DO follow a loose email template, but be sure to tailor your pitch based on where you are sending it.
          • While it is important to include necessary components of your pitch emailgreeting, brief book synopsis, distribution and buying informationit is also important to tailor your pitch based on where you are sending it. Bookstores will like to see that you have done your research and are interested in their particular store. 
              • First, begin with a greeting. If you do not have the contact’s name, use a blanket term, such as “event manager”.
              • Then, include a sentence explaining why you are writing (whether that be for in-store placement consideration or an event).
              • Write an explanation as to why this book would be a good fit for their store. This is where you can tailor the release, and show the store that you have done your research on what kinds of books they carry and events they host.
              • Include a brief synopsis of your book. Be sure to cover the important components of your story, but keep it succinct.
              • End with a  closing statement explaining where the book can be purchased (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Mascot Books, etc.) and what documents you have attached for more information (one-pager, press release, etc.)
        • DO include relevant media hits, in-store placements, and events.
          • Don’t be afraid to brag a little bit! By mentioning other media hits, events, or in-store placement opportunities you have had, the bookstore will see that your book is getting traction and attention with other outlets.
          • DO be prepared to provide the bookstore with event logistics.
            • About how many people do you think you would be able to guarantee at the event? How will you market the event to your family, friends, and followers? Do you have an up-to-date author headshot? 
            • DO go in person if the store is close by.
              • If you live close to the bookstore that you are pitching to, it is always beneficial to pitch your book in person! Be sure to bring a hardcopy of the book, along with any other information that may help the bookstore move toward a positive decision.


            • DON’T follow up every day.
              • If you do not receive a response immediately after reaching out to the store, don’t be discouraged! With the sheer volume of emails bookstores receive, it may take them a while to get back to you. The best strategy is to reach out about once every two weeks, rather than every day.
            • DON’T take rejections personally.
              • Every bookstore has their own policies, preferences, and book-buying specifications. If your book is not chosen for in-store placement or an event, do not take it personally! There are many other bookstores out there that may be better fits for your book in the long run.
              • DON’T commit to an event before you are 100% certain that you will be able to participate. 
                • So you have secured an event with a bookstorefantastic! Triple check your schedule to ensure that you are available before committing to the bookstore. 

              • DON’T begin pitching to bookstores until the books have arrived at Mascot’s warehouse and have been registered with distributors.
                • Until your books have arrived at the Mascot warehouse and have been registered with major distributors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc.), bookstores will not be able to place orders of the book. It is better to wait until these steps have been taken to ensure that the retail pitching and ordering process runs smoothly.

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