Thursday, August 7, 2008

Write Feature Articles to Publicize Your Book

I just listened to a telephone seminar on this topic. Lots of useful information from successful writers and big-time magazine editors. Here are my takeaways:

1) Writing articles and getting mentioned in articles is powerful, free advertising.
  • People believe articles more than ads.
  • You're reaching readers, who are more likely than listeners to purchase a book.
  • The articles have lasting power. They can remain in doctor's offices or archives on websites.
  • You can use the article for blurbs "As mentioned in Womans Day Magazine."
  • You can attract other media people who may read the articles.
2) Know the magazine you're targeting and show them you know it. Most don't. Perhaps compare your article to a previously-written article in the magazine. Call to make sure you know who to address by name as the "Articles Editor." Ask if it's appropriate to follow-up with a call or e-mail.

3) Get to know media contacts personally. Time spent face-to-face can reap rich dividends. Make it a two-way street: How can I serve you?

4) Offer all the bells and whistles. They're busy and would love an interview format, with you asking your own questions, a side bar with five tips for a broad audience, etc.

5) Offer yourself as an expert who can either provide the information or give them someone who can. Are you a life coach, psychologist, pet expert, etc.? They're always looking for experts to interview and quote. They want to have relationships with as many experts as possible. How can I put myself forth as an expert in personal money management?
  • Have written a book on it.
  • Raising seven boys.
  • Worked with youth and trained youth-workers for 30 years, both nationally and internationally.
  • Write resources for educators.
  • Am an investor.
  • Have done noteworthy research and fresh interviews.
6) If they don't want your article, it's OK to ask, "Is there anyone else on staff who might want to see this article?"

7) Show yourself as one who knows how to consolidate concepts into sound bites. Give them a brief, catchy title, a descriptive subtitle and a brief summary.

8) Tie your book into current trends and news. One expert on how to prevent dog attacks goes to Google Alerts to automatically receive e-mail alerts from breaking news, videos, blogs, etc., about about dog attacks. He then contacts the press in that area to find if they want an article by an expert on how to prevent them in the future. Was there a recent study released on your topic of interest? Tie the study into the topic of your book and suggest an article. You don't have to make the news or be the news. Rather, piggy-back on what's already news.

9) Track the impact on your book sales on When a lady published an article concerning her book on caring for an Alzheimer's patient, she looked under the category "Alzheimer's" and found that she was #1.

10) Find a common link with someone important in the organization. One author wrote a book about succeeding without goals. He had heard that Oprah had succeeded without setting goals, so he contacted her to let he know he'd written a book on it. She was fascinated and interviewed him.

11) Keep learning about your niche, so that you become that most respected person for the press to call upon when they need an expert.

12) Send notes of appreciation to reporters when they've written a good, substantive article in your field.
If they respond, offer them a copy of your book, your web address and phone number, letting them know that if they need you in the future, you're available. Say that if you don't know the answers, you'll refer them to an expert (This person refers to an expert about 50% of the time, getting him in good with the expert as well!)

13) Use e-mail to make your first contact with a magazine (or whatever method they request).

14) Think outside of the box concerning which magazines might be interested.
One author wrote a self-help book for young people getting jobs. She pitched an article to ESPN magazine (sports) with this angle: "How many people read your magazine because they love sports, don't have the athletic ability to compete, but would love to work in the sports industry? What about an article on all the ways to work in the sports industry? They took it! Concerning my money book, I could write for a sports magazine on how sports figures have lost their money and how to handle it more wisely.

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