Author Nina Godiwalla on How to Pitch a Book More Effectively

In Chapter 5 of 22 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, author Nina Godiwalla answers "What is Your Advice to More Effectively Pitch a Book?"  She notes how pitching is but one element and that aspiring authors must embrace the process.  The process includes advice and feedback and learning how to filter this by staying open-minded, especially when statements repeatedly come up.  Godiwalla is the author of "Suits: A Woman on Wall Street". She is also a public speaker on workplace diversity and founder and CEO of Mindworks, where she teaches mind-based stress reduction techniques to help organizations improve employee wellbeing.  Godiwalla holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, an MA in Creative Writing from Dartmouth University and her BBA from the University of Texas at Austin. 


Erik Michielsen:  What’s your advice to aspiring authors in how to more effectively pitch a book?

Nina Godiwalla:  Pitching is just the beginning of it.  You have to love, love, love your topic, really enjoy it, because the process is quite extraordinary.  It’s so long and you have to live behind it.  One of the things I see with some authors is they’re very stuck on, ‘this is exactly what I want to do and I’m not going to budge at all’ and I found when I was pitching my book initially I started – I pitched it as fiction because I didn’t want to deal with the whole non-fiction aspect of it.  There are real people in there, my family was in there.  People I worked with that I still talk to, they were in there.  I didn’t want to deal with the whole ramifications of it but I was very open-minded about the process and when I pitched it, a lot of people would come back to me and say, “You know this doesn’t look like fiction to me, it reads like a memoir.  It reads like its non-fiction.”  And it was.

And I, you know, the first few people that said it, I was like whatever you know it’s – I'm not going to put it out as non-fiction so and I kind of ignored the advice that I was getting and my advice to people is you’re going to get an incredible amount of advice when you’re pitching and you don’t need to listen to all of it but certain things I heard probably about 20 times, you know, I heard it a lot.

And in the end I had to sit with myself and decide, is what they’re saying true or not true and the reality is, is yes, the whole book that I’ve written reads like a memoir.  It reads like a memoir because it is a non-fiction book and I think for people being a little bit more open to taking some feedback from people actually can make you more successful.  There are certain changes I made along the road to make the book a little bit more marketable but they were not things that I couldn’t – that were killing me.  They were things I felt comfortable with.