Sunday, March 24, 2019

Great American Book Festival Brings Agent Pitch Sessions to Rapid City

 Rapid City, SD
As anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming an author can attest, the world of publishing can be quite intimidating.  First, there’s the task of crafting a manuscript.  Then there’s the oft-told tale of trying to find an agent and publisher.  Then, once the book is ready for production, there’s the chore of promotion.  All in all, the prospect can be as exciting as it is unnerving.  The Great American Book Festival, now in its second year, is bringing the GABfest Writers’ Conference to downtown Rapid City once again.  Free and open to the public, local authors, aspiring authors, and those who are just curious to learn more about the world of publishing are invited to attend a full day of conferences in May. 

The GABfest Writers’ Conference will be held on Friday, May 10th at the Dahl Arts Center, in the John T. Vucurevich Center.  There are a variety of sessions to appeal to those in all stages of their writing career.  There will be an authors’ round table session in which attendees are invited to participate in a Q&A with seasoned authors, all of whom are recognized in their field.  Other sessions include topics on self-publishing, book marketing, writing tips and strategies, and how to find an agent and get published.  There will even be a session by local author, Dorothy Rosby, on writing and revising for humor.   

One exciting new addition to this year’s conference will be the opportunity for authors and aspiring authors to attend live agent pitch sessions.  Pitch sessions allow individuals to meet one-on-one with agents to propose a completed manuscript.  This is a rare opportunity and not to be missed by those seeking representation.  Quressa Robinson of Nelson Literary Agency from New York, and Jennifer Flannery of Flannery Literary in Chicago will offer private sessions throughout the day of the conference on Friday, May 10th.  Because space is limited, these sessions are by reservation only and include a small participation fee. 

 Jennifer Flannery of Flannery Literary
Quressa Robinson of Nelson Literary 

In addition to the writers’ conference, other events include the 2nd Annual GABfest Lit Walk, a literary-themed pub crawl which begins at Firehouse Wine Cellars and ends with live music and literary readings at Hay Camp Brewery the evening of May 10th.  The main event is, of course, the Great American Book Festival which takes place on Saturday, May 11th at downtown Rapid City’s Main Street Square.  Featuring nearly forty authors (local and from around the world), Great American Book Festival events include readings, book signings, performances, kids activities, and food vendors. 

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Great American Book Festival is funded in part by the generous support of the following organizations: i2i Technologies, Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews, Author.Pub, Firehouse Brewing Company, Denny Menholt Rushmore Honda, Denny Menholt Toyota, Firehouse Wine Cellars, Hay Camp Brewery, Who’s Toy House and Wobbly Bobby British Pub.  To learn more visit

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Author.Pub Pitch Perfect: Finding an Agent

Author.Pub Pitch Perfect: Finding an Agent: by Caitlyn Brooke Hello writers! So you’ve finally finished your book! Congratulations! Now it’s on to the terrifying process of tryin...

Finding an Agent

by Caytlyn Brooke

Hello writers!

So you’ve finally finished your book! Congratulations! Now it’s on to the terrifying process of trying to find an agent. Yikes! Where to start?

Before you begin looking for an agent, make sure your manuscript is complete and has had a solid edit. In my experience, I didn’t pay anyone for editing services, but I did make sure all the words were spelled correctly and I used proper grammar. Most agents require a synopsis, plot outline, as well as several sample chapters for a submission so have those prepared as well. I found a fantastic website called when I was first starting to research agents. This website is a wonderful resource that organizes credible agents by genre, so you can be confident that your manuscript and submission will end up in the correct hands. Once you have your submission ready, the website provides you with the agent’s email address and tracks their responses.

So you’ve submitted your manuscript. It’s time for you to chew your fingernails to the quick and check your inbox every two minutes. Some agents respond immediately, while others might not reply back for six months. Don’t be discouraged if you receive an instant, “Sounds great, but it’s just not what I’m looking for right now.” I received hundreds of “nos”. Some were polite, but many others were very blunt. It is incredibly hard to swallow rejection, especially if this is your first time putting your book out there. The most important thing is to keep going. Check that agent off the box and move on to the next one on the list.

During this process, try to make your submission stand out. Agents are reading dozens of queries a day; put your personality into the email while remaining professional. There are many templates online that help detail the wording of the query. Use that for the bones, but tailor it to each individual agent. Research other books that they have represented too. If they rep something similar to yours, mention that in your email because it might pique their interest and show that you’ve done your research.

I myself queried my YA thriller/fantasy Dark Flowers for two years. I would sit down and email three or four agents a day. With each sent email, a new flame of hope blossomed in my chest, only to be smothered immediately. But I never stopped. Then, one afternoon, I sent a submission and the agent I queried said, “This sounds really interesting! Can you please send me more?” My jaw hit the table and I twirled around my dining room. I gathered several more sample chapters, along with more information about my characters and sent it away, dreams of becoming a National Bestseller flashing in my head like a movie.

A few days passed and I continued to query, walking on air every time I saw the little Yes in my tracker statistics. Three weeks passed and still, I heard nothing back. To this day, I have yet to receive an email from the agent. Obviously, he read more and wasn’t interested in offering representation and I was such a small thought in the back of his mind that he forgot to tell me.

After this experience, I decided an agent wasn’t for me, so I turned to Indie Publishing. A friend of mine is a writer and gave me the information on the publishing house she signed with to submit my work. Hesitant, I sent along my submission and I heard back the next day. They were very interested in my novel and offered me a chance to join their team. That was three years ago and I have written and published two multi-award winning novels with my amazing publisher BHC Press.

BHC Press introduced me to my incredible editor, took my ideas to mold the perfect covers, and spent countless hours promoting both me and my novels on numerous social media sites. Overall, I didn’t need an agent to be an author. I didn’t need an agent to be successful. I do feel that querying agents is a very helpful process because it helped me develop my book and get to know my characters better through the in-depth information they required, however, it is not the only way to succeed. I wish you great luck with your writing career!

Caytlyn Brooke is a multi-award winning author who loves to explore the darker side of fantasy. She lives in the Southern Tier of New York with her husband Daniel, her son Jack, and her daughter Joanna. Her cat Ana is always lounging beside her in the sun and is only slightly overweight. Caytlyn loves polka dots and cannot wait to skydive. You can find out more about Caytlyn and her books at her publisher’s website

Her novels are also available at:

Thursday, January 17, 2019

10 Tips to Put Pizzazz in Your Pitch--Getting Radio Hosts So Excited They Demand You

By Jackie Lapin, Founder of Conscious Media Relations

Getting one radio station to promote your book may just be good luck. But getting dozens or even hundreds of radio shows to book you means that you must have a compelling pitch letter and subject matter that are irresistible.

Hence prospective radio show guests need to know the “10 Tips to Put Pizzazz in Your Pitch--Getting Radio Hosts So Excited They Demand You!”

Before someone tackles self-booking on radio, they should have some basic knowledge of what a show host or producer is looking for and how to write a letter that excites the booker. We’ve perfected this art for our clients and are willing to share the inside scoop on making yourself appealing to the radio show.

So here are some guidelines that will certainly help if you are proposing yourself for radio shows:

  1. Make it a Memorable Pitch. It is imperative to get the attention of the host or producer immediately. The power of the lead paragraph cannot be underestimated. Especially in an email world, you have less than 30 seconds to grab their attention. So a concise first line must shock, excite, intrigue or create a great reason to read on. 
      Some of the ways that you can make it interesting are posing a question; making a bold statement; creating an unexpected juxtaposition; stating a problem that you are the person to solve; making a revelatory declaration; be topical and keying the interview to something newsworthy or an upcoming holiday; stating something only you can say; or tweaking and teasing the host.
  1. Essentials To Make It Compelling. There are some key elements that you can provide to make yourself irresistible to a host.  First you must establish that there is a problem that engages the audience and for which you have the solution. Second, you must advise the host how your interview will benefit the listeners. Third, you have to establish what you can say that they’ve never heard before. Even if they’ve heard similar topics, your voice must be distinct. Succinctly tell your own powerful story of growth and transformation, so that you position yourself as an expert who can lead the listener in a similar transformation.
Tell the host how you can illuminate, motivate, inspire and make the listener feel something. Lastly, dare to be different—but not TOO different so it is off putting, especially to mainstream media.

  1. Take Advantage of Holiday Themed Pitches.  Look for holiday tie-ins, but still maintain your focus on the benefits to the listener. Work far in advance since many shows book their holiday segments as much as a month early.
  1. Mold the Message to their Specific Audience. Depending on genre, topic and type of demographics different shows are looking for guests that fit a specific profile. Seldom can one letter work for all. You will need to tweak the message for each media segment, while not diluting the appeal. Know the host and the show you are soliciting and tailor the pitch letter to the host, subject and the audience. 
  1. Making Sure It Has All the Right Elements. In structuring a compelling pitch letter that makes them say “Yes,” you must have certain key information. These elements should be included in the order noted :
    1. An attention-grabbing lead
    2. Subject introduction/reason for interview
    3. Your credentials (keep these brief and pertinent)
    4. Benefits to the audience. Specifically state or spell out what will be learned by the listener
    5. Brief review quote from an endorser or reviewer, an objective party. In some cases you may want to state where you have been booked before. (Not on a competitive show, however.)
    6. Offer a copy of the book or product, and ask the host to advise if he/she would like one sent
    7. Provide contact information to call for interview
    8. Restate in one line why you’d be a great guest and the benefits.
    9. Close and provide signature
    10. Keep it to one page
  1. Create a Great Interview Packet. A radio interview packet is different from a general media kit. It has certain elements directed specifically to make it easy on the host to prepare for the interview. Your Interview Packet should include a release on your product or book, your biography, talking points or bullet-point summary of the content you want to cover, a brief two-paragraph introduction of you and your product that you want the host to read to the audience when introducing you, a list of things you want to promote (book, website, coaching program, upcoming teleseminar for example), a list of suggested questions that you are offering the host in the event he/she chooses to use them and a JPG photo of yourself in case the interview is promoted on the show’s website.

  1. Test Your Pitch. Before sending it everywhere, test it on a few shows. See whether it’s effective. Tweak it a bit, or try a different approach altogether until you find one that resonates with the hosts and producers.

  1. Perfect the Follow Up Call. Now that you’ve sent the email, fax or letter, it’s time to make the follow up call. Try not to blow it here! After all, if you are dull and verbose on the query call, why should they book you for a full interview? So get to the point, don’t rattle on, and keep it to a 30-second sound bite. Don’t over introduce yourself. They don’t need all of your credentials, just why you are the proper person to present this subject. For example, keep it to a description like, “I am the bestselling author of….” Sound exciting; but not excited. Be professional; but not monotone. Practice your pitch in advance on others to make sure you have it just right and can get it out without tripping over yourself. Leave your number twice—once at the start and once at the end of the call.

  1. Don’t Overlook Internet Radio. You can take advantage of Internet Radio in a way you can’t with mainstream. Internet radio show hosts may not have as big an audience, but they have a more targeted audience and will let you aggressively and enthusiastically sell your product or service. You get more plugs over a longer extended amount of time. Internet radio hosts tend to be better educated and more focused on the subject matter. They often will post the interview as a podcast where it will get more listeners afterward, and can be provided to you for your website. Many times you can arrange other business ventures with them to market your products. Some will post your book or product on their site so that listeners can immediately click through to your website or to Most importantly, Internet radio hosts are accustomed to letting you drive listeners to your website for newsletter signups, free ebooks and other incentives to get people on your opt–in list.

  1. Hire a Pro. So once you realize the amount of work it takes to create this kind of appeal and then research the thousands of radio shows that are potential portals for your message, you may find it easier to retain an agency that has a special  Radio Media Tour, an exclusive turn-key agency package that strategically positions the spokesman for the marketplace and then connects with radio shows across the nation to arrange interview bookings.

Jackie Lapin’s Conscious Media Relations creates Radio Media Tours especially for authors, speakers and coaches by offering them to an exclusive list of more than 3000+ radio hosts who seek interviews with leaders in personal development, health, spirituality, prosperity and conscious living—anything that transforms humanity or the planet. For more information go to or call 818 707-1473.