How to Handle Rejection from Media Regarding Your Book

checkbox marked no


When it comes to marketing your book, you are in control. You get to decide what gets promoted and what gets covered.


With book publicity it takes a little more elegance, creativity, persistence, and hutzpah to get coverage. You’re dependent on someone else to say yes to helping you. In order to do that, you have to pitch them a great idea that they love enough to want to take a chance of you and  cover it.

Quid Pro Quo: (Although no one says that!)

And remember, it isn’t just about you getting visibility and getting your message out there. It’s also about the media outlet getting attention too. They want to draw in new listeners, viewers and readers to them as well. Can you help them do that? That’s the question they’ll be asking themselves. You both want the same thing: more audience. The more you understand that while you’re formulating your pitch, the better chance you’ll have of being successful. Then, when you get this kind of buy in from the media, well, you just can’t buy that!


The benefits of publicity are enormous. Third-party credibility is what it’s all about, from social proof for your potential customers, to media gatekeepers who give you access and visibility to a much bigger audience. Credibility is everything. And because of that, there are some hoops to jump through.


This post  is not about what those hoops are. We’ve covered that in the past, and no doubt will again in the future. For now, this is about what to do when you hear the word “no.” And I guarantee you’re going to hear it. It’s inevitable. Not always. You’ll get some yeses too, but those are pretty easy to deal with. I don’t see too many “how to” articles explaining how to handle all your success in three-easy steps.  Dealing with “no” is another matter.

But what does “no” mean anyway?

Does “no” always mean “no,” or could it mean something else?

When you pitch a media outlet that you think is absolutely perfect for you and your book’s message, and they say “no,” what do you do?


Well, one of my little tricks is to respond with: “Is that “No, never in a million years?’ or just ‘No, not right now.’”

In all the years I’ve been doing book publicity, I’ve only had one person say, “No, never in a million years.” One time out of thousands — maybe hundreds of thousands. Once.

Then, I always follow up with, “If I come up with another idea that I think will work for you, is it OK for me to run it by you?” They always say yes.  It’s a very effective phrase and clears the way for you to approach them again later.They’re looking for good ideas all the time. Trust me on this.

Still, No is No Fun:

But I understand. Rejection is not fun. It took me awhile to build up the necessary strength to understand and believe the person wasn’t saying no to me personally.

What “no” usually means is one of the following:

  • I don’t get what you’re about so I’m going to say no.
  • You’re making me work too hard so I’m going to say no.
  • I just covered this recently so I’m going to say no.
  • You asked me at a bad time, so I’m going to say no
  • My boss just yelled at me so I’m going to say no.
  • I’m frustrated today so I’m going to say no.


Do any of the above have anything to do with you?



That’s not entirely true. If the response is the first or second one on the list above, then it is your responsibility. They are asking for clarity and so far you haven’t given it to them. Once you do, you may have yourself a yes. The point here is that the clearer you can be right at the beginning, the sooner you may get that yes. Yahoo! That’s what we want.

There are a million reasons you may hear no, and most of the time you’ll have no clue as to what the real reason is. In fact, when media does tell you why they’re rejecting your idea, it’s icing on the cake. At least it’s feedback you can take and possibility revise the pitch and get them to say yes later on.

Bottom Line:

Hearing “no” is going to happen, but there is no need to feel bad about it; It’s normal. Thank goodness there are plenty of yeses too, otherwise it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun getting publicity for your book. Just remember, you have to go through a lot of nos to get to those yesses and see if you can make a game out of it. That’s when it really gets fun.

Next week I’ll share some tips to increase the number of Yeses you hear!

To your success!


P.S. If you know someone who would benefit from the information contained in our Savvy Sunday News, use this link now. If they sign up, both – that person and you –  will each be entered in a drawing to win a complimentary book and media strategy session with me. I always love learning what you’re up to!

Scroll to Top