Monday, January 26, 2009


by Danielle Jackson

In light of our little focus on pitching—I thought I’d talk about what essentially I do all day:


Really, I do! I’m presenting your books to reviewers, bloggers, etc., making sure they know what makes your books special and different and worth reading. And that’s what I do. I try to pick out that one thing that makes your book special, so whether it’s humanoids with interesting capabilities in the bedroom or a Navy SEAL with a heart of gold, I’m going to hone in on that unique trait, and expand on that!

Now of course, that doesn’t always work the first time around. Generally, I write more than one pitch for every book—some only need one—but others need different angles for the various intended audiences. For example, let’s take Sharon’s book: Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Now Sharon, don’t think I’m singling you out for any reason—your book just lends itself easily to this demonstration. Sharon’s book is great because it is continuing the story of probably the most famous romantic couple in history (next to only Romeo and Juliet, I’d say). But of course, not everyone is interested in reading that…but what about historical fiction? A lot of people are interested in learning about the day to day life of women and men in the regency! BUT, some people just want to read the sexy stuff! From one general pitch, though, the historical fiction fans might not know about the elements of history, or the romance fans might not realize that this Mr. Darcy is the most romantic one out there… So I make a point of sending a more history based pitch to the history lovers, and a more romance based pitch to the romance fans. This way, they know what they want is in this book, and they go in knowing that what they want is coming to them loud and proud.

I’ve said this before—but the way I see my job is to find the right people to read and review your books. And if I don’t find them the first time around, I’m going to go out again and again and again (and again, if necessary) to make sure we find the appropriate audience to read and enjoy and give the GLOWING reviews you all deserve.

SO—now do you see why I’m always asking for your input for ideas? Even the CRAZY ones? Or I ask you to take on a project with a specific focus? And I know it took a big leap for all of you to send pitches, queries, etc. to agents and editors, but I think you should all know, when you’re pitching something that isn’t yours, but belongs so deeply and much to another person who is proud of what they write—it’s TERRIFYING! But I think I do a good job, and we all collaborate and get the job done!

Good luck to everyone who plans on participating in the contest!


Sorry for the late posting—I was away from a computer all weekend and was incredibly busy…


  1. I'll say you do a good job! I've read what you said about me and thought, "Wow, she sounds like an interesting person...oh, right...that's ME."

    But I'd never realized that coming up with pitches that do justice to our books was hard for you because you were afraid of letting us down.I can see how that would add an extra layer of pressure.

    Still, you handle it gracefully and manage to make it look effortless, even if it's not.

  2. You are obviously marvelous at finding the right audience/reviewers for our books! Great things have happened and we are so lucky to have you - someone who is willing to listen to ideas and help grow them and make them succeed. Hurrah to you!

  3. Danielle,

    I've been involved in promotion and marketing for most of my working life. It’s taught me how to be fearless, but it’s also taught me how important knowing not only your product, but also the business surrounding your product. I’ve certainly learned the word “no” isn’t fatal; it just feels that way at times. “No” usually means either I haven’t learned enough or the right approach. In the last 18 months I've made it a point to learn as much as I can about the business end of publishing your work as an author.

    You mention you have to tailor pitches for certain audiences, which makes perfect sense, but does this mean you first have to read the book? Or do you work from a synopsis, or something like that? I know how much time I invested in putting together a pitch and I wrote the blasted book. If you don't mind my asking,I’m curious about how you find the best angle to highlight.

  4. My agent likes to say a pitch is like a movie trailer. Limited amount of time to say the important stuff.


  5. I am so glad that we have a publicist like Danielle! My book is a good example of how hard she works, and I can attest that her persistence and quick thinking is paying off. I am getting interest from all types of websites besides the pure Austen ones. This makes me VERY happy!!

    Danielle has an amazing ability - a gift really - to see to the heart of a book as well as seeing all the angles. Like Mary Margret said, I have read some of the blurbs about me or my book and been shocked because it is written far better than I could have done! It is that ability to sum it up in a few choice words (something I can clearly NOT do!) that makes the difference.

    All praises and kudos to OUR publicist!!

  6. Hey MM--

    Thank you! And a BIG thank you for the idea on the blog today. What I do with reviewers is quite similar to what you do with editors and agents!

    And you are very interesting :) I can't make up what I write!!


  7. Hey Malena--

    Thank you! I'm glad we've had such a great time working together. I especially loved working with your book because it took the best of romance and women's fiction and put them together in a wonderful way. You got exposure with both the romance sites and the more general fiction sites.


  8. Hi Sia!

    I work from descriptions our editorial team puts into an extensive database, and I try to skim through a few chapters when advanced reader copies arrive. And luckily, I have great authors that answer any questions I have about plot, tone, etc!

    So I don't read them completely before the early promo begins. But I do read them all eventually! It's a lot of books, but I like that I get to know so many authors personally and see so much of what goes into writing a book.

    I think one thing that makes the Sourcebooks Casablanca line unique is that they are all very different from your average romance novels, so it's not too hard to pick out what makes the books unique. And we have an amazing editor who knows how to find those hidden gems--and she is also available for me to ask questions!

    Another thing--some books have more than one angle to highlight. Like I mentioned about Sharon's book, there were ultimately 3 angles I took: an Austen sequel angle, a romance novel angle and a historical ficion angle.

    Thanks for stopping by and good luck with everything!


  9. Linda--

    I agree with your agent completely--I try to find a brief and concise way to explain things!


  10. Thank you, Danielle, for giving me some insight into the process. I understand the multiple angles to a story. Sharon's story well illustrates your approach. The volume and variety I've seen in the Sourcebooks Casablanca line made me wonder how you went about it all. Great support team you have in place to promote your authors and their work.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. I can see from the comments of your authors they have a lot of respect for you and the work you do. :-)

  11. Sharon-

    I hope you don't mind that I used your book as an example! It has been fun working on your book because it has a variety of perks to show to people.


  12. Sia--not a problem! the other publicists in the department always ask me how I keep it all in order: lot's of post its, file folders and I save pretty much every email I get!

    And the authors are lovely; they make it all worth it :)

  13. Sharon Lathan said... "Danielle has an amazing ability - a gift really - to see to the heart of a book as well as seeing all the angles."

    Sharon, in my opinion, taking a book from a manuscript to a finished product is a creative process. The creative 'gifts' of a good editor and publicist is as much a gift, in their own way, as the author who created the story or the graphics artist who makes the cover. Like jeweler they take a nice looking diamond and with precision cuts and polish, make it outstanding.

  14. I know you've worked multiple angles with my books, too, and I appreciate your efforts more than you will ever know. It's great to know that someone is out there pitching while I'm here writing...and writing...and writing...

  15. Danielle, you do a great job...I always look forward to reading your drop lettters for my books, because you come up with some wonderfully eye-catching stuff that I never would have thought of! You've got a great knack, and I agree with're as much an artist as the rest of us!