This month’s Blog is a Guest Blog by someone very special.
I’d like to introduce you toCarolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning
HowToDoItFrugally series of books, one for writers and one for retailers
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as an instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award.
Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named toPasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. Her first novel mentioned in this article is out of print but is still available using Amazon’s New and Used feature ( http://bit.ly/ThisIsthePlace ) and her agent is shopping her second, This Land Divided.
Today’s blog will be brought to you in two parts- The first half will be posted today and the second half will be posted next week. Please follow her on her links, buy her books, share this post and enjoy!
15 Publicity Commandments that Work for Getting Free Press for Everything
If we read the newspapers or watch TV we know that advertising sells. But even those big guys who do all the advertising aren’t sure what works best when it comes to advertising. A huge retailer once said that advertising works, we just don’t know how, why, or where it works best.
Publicity is advertising’s less mysterious cousin. It is the more reliable relative because it is judged on its merit alone and carries the caché of an editor’s approval. It also is surrounded by the ever-magic word “free.”
The two are easily identified as kin. They often walk hand-in-hand and yet they can be incompatible. The editors of good media outlets will not allow the advertising department to influence them. Still, in an effort to be completely impartial they reserve the right to use advertiser’s stories editorially if they deem them newsworthy. That is why it is helpful to use advertising in a vehicle that plays to the audience you would like to see standing before your cash register or clicking on your Amazon buyer page.
Advertising can be an entrée to the decision-makers. A contact in the advertising department may be willing to put a news release on the desk of one of his editors, maybe even encourage her to look at it. They can make no promises, but it does sometimes work. If you’re going to try this route, choose a “little pond”, a bookish brochure or an “arty” weekly so that the dollars you spend will be noticed.
Sometimes a magazine or newspaper runs a special promotion called advertorial. These are sections where you pay for an ad and then the newspaper assigns a reporter to cover the story you want told. The article carries some of the prestige of editorial copy—that is the general reader may assume the article has been chosen only on its merits because of its copycat character. The writer or editor you meet can be approached later when you have an exceptional story to tell. Erin Shachory handles consumer publicity and consults on advertising strategies. She knows that her clients hire her—at least in part—for her “great database.” It is something that, over time, you can build for yourself.
Still advertorial isn’t FREE if you have to pay to see yourself or your book featured. If you can’t really afford to approach a publicity campaign this way, carve out some time to do it yourself and follow these 15 commandments for doing it yourself:
- Educate Yourself: Study press releases that come to you from suppliers, stores, and other authors. Read books like the multi award-winning Frugal Book Promoter now in its second edition. Take a marketing class especially designed for people in your field. Authors will find online classes given by most universities these days. Why take a chance with the vagaries of the Web when these classes have been vetted?
- Read, read, read: Your IBPA and writers’ groups’ newsletters. Your newspaper. Your e-zines. Even your junk mail. My daughter found a flier from the local library in the Sunday paper stuffed between grocery coupons. It mentioned a display done by a local merchant in the library window. Now we’re going to install one for my book, too! Rubbish can be the goose that laid the golden egg.
- Keep an open mind for promotion ideas: Look at the small details in your book. There will be angles there you can exploit when you’re talking to editors. My first novel, “This is the Place,” is sort of romantic (a romance website will like it) but it is also set in Salt Lake City, the site of the 2002 Winter Olympics © and, though that’s a reach, I pitched it to sports desks, and as a related idea to feature editors as Olympic © fervor grew and after the Olympics when editors needed still needed stories but they weren’t receiving as much information in their e-mail boxes..
- Cull Contacts: Develop your Rolodex by adding quality recipients from media directories. You reference librarian can help you find amazing resources that list every newspaper or every magazine in the US. A good research librarian is like a shark; she’s tireless and once she has her teeth in something, she won’t give up until she has what she wants.
- Etiquette counts: Send thank-you notes to contacts after they’ve featured you or your book. This happens so rarely they are sure to be impressed and to pay attention to the next idea you have, even if it’s just a listing in a calendar for your next book signing.
- Partner with your publicist and publisher: Ask for help from their promotion department—even if it’s just for a sample press release.
- Publicize who you are, what you do: Reviewers aren’t the only way to go. E-books are big news right now. What if you’re very young? What if writing a book is a new endeavor for you? Several editors like the idea that I wrote my first book at an age when most are thinking of retiring, that I think of myself as an example of the fact that it is never too late to follow your dream.
Instructor for nearly a decade at the renowned UCLA Extension Writers’ Program
Author of the multi award-winning series of HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers
Amazon Profile: http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfile
The Frugal Book Promoter: http://bit.ly/FrugalBookPromo
Web site: http://www.HowToDoItFrugally.com
You pin one of my book covers, and I’ll pin one of yours!
Let’s Network Today!
And stay tuned next week for Part 2