Thursday, April 2, 2009

Week Three: Contacting Newspaper Columnists

How do you get newspaper columnists to write about your book? The secret? It's all about them, not about you and your book. Keep that in mind and you may go far.

1) They need to produce a column each week. Give them something that would delight their readers and make the writer look good. The fact that a new book is out isn't typically a great headline. Think deeper. Here's what I'm saying in an introductory e-mail to financial columnists:

e-mail title: Financially Illiterate Graduates

Dear ____,
Thanks for your column, which helps so many with their personal finances.
With graduation season just around the corner, I knew that many of your readers would want advice for graduating high school and college seniors, who, as we are well aware, are typically clueless concerning getting jobs, excelling at jobs, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. Also, readers might want recommendations for graduation gifts (why not the gift of financial wisdom?)
My book, targeting young people (ages 16-27), just came off the press. I'd love to send you a free copy for review. I think you'll find it well-researched and documented, but written in story form to make it a quick, fun read. It covers getting and thriving in jobs, as well as saving and investing money. It's called: Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It.
Hopefully, during these difficult economic times, the book can help young people catch a vision for working hard, living beneath their means, etc., before they get into serious financial trouble.
If you're interested in a free copy, let me know an address and I'll send it on.
Thanks again for your life and writing!
J. Steve Miller

Put yourself in the columnist's shoes. Every year at this time, she's got to come up with something new that relates to the graduation season. My book gives great ideas. It's a win/win!

2) Find the columnists.

I Googled "Major Newspapers" and found them listed by state here: . By going to each newspaper site and looking through the sections and columnists, I was able to find their e-mail addresses.

3) Personalize your e-mail to each columnist. That way, it doesn't come across as a chain letter. I'm sure they get lots of books to review.

4) Offer them something. In other e-mails, I spoke of linking to their sites from my site, recommending their books, etc. If I publicize their projects, their more likely to publicize mine.

I've sent out my first four e-mails to columnists at the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and Washington Post. To prep for each of these syndicated columnists, I read a book by each one and am recommending their books from my Website. All but one have replied that they want me to send them a book. Cool!

5) When you send a book, include a brochure, press release and sign the book. Since they requested it, I wrote "Requested Materials" on the front of the mailer, to ensure it gets opened.

Hey, this is fun!

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