Monday, July 27, 2015

Getting Your Book Out There

PR Tips for Writers
Tools for promoting and publishing your dream book
By Michelle Tennant




So you have written that book you have dreamed of writing for years and now want to get it published. What next?

For more than 20 years, I have represented numerous authors through my company, Wasabi Publicity. I also worked in a publishing house soon after graduating college. I have seen many publishing strategies, some more successful than others.

The Web gives you opportunities not only to publicize and sell your book, but also to develop your work interactively with your readers. Give yourself the best chance for success by using both traditional and online PR tools to build interest in your book.

Traditional PR opportunities include things like radio and TV interviews and print book reviews. Online tools include email, blogs, social networking and free media query services such as PitchRate.com that connect you with journalists seeking experts in your subject area.

The Internet offers all kinds of ways to get your book published that weren’t even dreamed of a few years ago. Just be aware there are pros and cons of self-publishing online or through on-demand printers versus the traditional route of going through a publishing house.

Many people choose to self-publish because it is cheaper and allows them to keep a higher percent of profits. Some authors create their own companies and then have their books printed on demand through a company such as Bookmasters (www.Bookmasters.com).

Bookmasters, iUniverse (www.iUniverse.com) and Lulu (www.Lulu.com) are a couple companies that can help you self-publish. Keep in mind that some self-publishing companies, like major publishing houses, take a large share of profits, so carefully review any contracts you sign with your lawyer.

If you don’t want to publish yourself, you can go the traditional route of putting out queries to publishing houses and keep self-publishing as a fallback if you don’t land a deal. I always advise aspiring authors to get a book called Writer’s Market. It allows you to see what books are planned for publication in the coming year and what kinds of books publishers are hot to publish.

A third choice that is becoming more and more popular is to publish your book initially in a digital format only.

Books can be great marketing tools, a way to parlay who you are to a larger audience. Combine them with speaking programs, book signings, radio interviews and Web seminars and you have an overall publicity program that both promotes and draws from your published work.

Many of the clients my company serves are experts in various fields who get national publicity, some before they ever published a book. One client used a series of TV appearances around the country to build a platform for a book and later got snatched up by an agent.
Several of my current and past clients are self-published authors. Dr. Jill Murray, a California psychotherapist who specializes in domestic violence, published her book on Iuniverse and had great success getting publicity. We were able to get her on Dr. Phil, and she was also on Oprah and 20/20.

Another client, Dr. Amy Tieman, created her own publishing house called Spark to publish her works. She was later picked up by a larger publishing house. The PR and media platform we helped her develop helped attract the larger publisher willing to invest money to print her book on a larger scale.

However you choose to publish, keep in mind the tremendous potential the Web affords you to make your book a truly interactive experience for readers. Compile email lists of people interested in your work and share useful information, surveys and newsletters with them. Use interactive blogs to let them give input.

Use free online services such as PitchRate and HARO to connect with journalists interested in your area of expertise. Use social media to build interest and get ideas for your work.

Some authors, even ones already carried by large publishing houses, have taken to publishing a chapter at a time online or even allowing readers to give them feedback on first drafts.

Interacting through blogs, social media and traditional media, such as radio call-in shows helps you reach the largest possible audience. Take advantage of every opportunity to build relationships with individuals who will make up a community of supporters for your book. All of these tools will help you to produce the best, most meaningful and relevant work.

Tips to keep in mind:

§                  Use all media opportunities to direct people to your website. One great way to entice visitors is to offer checklists, questionnaires or book excerpts to draw their interest and keep them engaged.
§                  Find out who’s clicking in. The most effective sites today ask visitors to share their email addresses to receive newsletters and information. Compile these lists of interested site visitors and potential customers. You can do many things to develop their trust and loyalty. It might be asking them to participate in research or surveys, special reports or feedback on your products and services, or offering them free advance excerpts from your book.
§                  Offer free Web seminars. Publicize them free through social media sites, and of course you’ll want to notify everyone on your email list.
§                  Get to know the needs of your local media. Don’t just send out press releases. Cultivate relationships with editors, reporters and producers. They may be thrilled to print an expert column if the only “payment” they have to make is to mention your website.
§                  Use free weeklies and alternative health publications. These will often welcome free content and give you valuable exposure. You can find free lists of the media in your area at www.USNLP.com.
§                  Have a catchy and thorough online press kit to make the media’s job easier. At Wasabi Publicity, we help clients develop online press kits using Online PressKit 24/7, a program developed by us. These include ready-to-use biographies, background information, suggested story angles and interview questions.
§                  Use social media and blogs to reach your audience. In today’s rapidly changing media environment, these can help give you an edge (not to mention, credibility).


About the Author: Good Morning America Producer Mable Chan calls Wasabi Publicity’s Chief Creative Officer a “5 Star Publicist.” Michelle calls herself a “storyteller to the media.” For 25+ years, media friends have solicited her help in crafting news stories by requesting sources, sound bites, and statistics. An award-winning writer, Michelle peppers campaigns with insight from her master’s degree in human development, BFA from a top 25 drama school, and expertise seeing PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. She’s either spinning stories or spinning at the gym. After hours, she savors the Smoky Mountains with her husband, husky, and backyard chickens.

Monday, July 13, 2015

10 Tips to Put Pizzazz in Your Pitch-- Getting Radio Hosts So Excited They Demand You!



By Jackie Lapin, Founder of Conscious Media Relations

Getting one radio station to promote your book may just be good luck. But getting dozens or even hundreds of radio shows to book you means that you must have a compelling pitch letter and subject matter that are irresistible.

Hence prospective radio show guests need to know the “10 Tips to Put Pizzazz in Your Pitch--Getting Radio Hosts So Excited They Demand You!”

Before someone tackles self-booking on radio, they should have some basic knowledge of what a show host or producer is looking for and how to write a letter that excites the booker. We’ve perfected this art for our clients and are willing to share the inside scoop on making yourself appealing to the radio show.

So here are some guidelines that will certainly help if you are proposing yourself for radio shows:

  1. Make it a Memorable Pitch. It is imperative to get the attention of the host or producer immediately. The power of the lead paragraph cannot be underestimated. Especially in an email world, you have less than 30 seconds to grab their attention. So a concise first line must shock, excite, intrigue or create a great reason to read on. 
      Some of the ways that you can make it interesting are posing a question; making a bold statement; creating an unexpected juxtaposition; stating a problem that you are the person to solve; making a revelatory declaration; be topical and keying the interview to something newsworthy or an upcoming holiday; stating something only you can say; or tweaking and teasing the host.
  
  1. Essentials To Make It Compelling. There are some key elements that you can provide to make yourself irresistible to a host.  First you must establish that there is a problem that engages the audience and for which you have the solution. Second, you must advise the host how your interview will benefit the listeners. Third, you have to establish what you can say that they’ve never heard before. Even if they’ve heard similar topics, your voice must be distinct. Succinctly tell your own powerful story of growth and transformation, so that you position yourself as an expert who can lead the listener in a similar transformation.
Tell the host how you can illuminate, motivate, inspire and make the listener feel something. Lastly, dare to be different—but not TOO different so it is off putting, especially to mainstream media.

  1. Take Advantage of Holiday Themed Pitches.  Look for holiday tie-ins, but still maintain your focus on the benefits to the listener. Work far in advance since many shows book their holiday segments as much as a month early.
  1. Mold the Message to their Specific Audience. Depending on genre, topic and type of demographics different shows are looking for guests that fit a specific profile. Seldom can one letter work for all. You will need to tweak the message for each media segment, while not diluting the appeal. Know the host and the show you are soliciting and tailor the pitch letter to the host, subject and the audience. 
  1. Making Sure It Has All the Right Elements. In structuring a compelling pitch letter that makes them say “Yes,” you must have certain key information. These elements should be included in the order noted :
    1. An attention-grabbing lead
    2. Subject introduction/reason for interview
    3. Your credentials (keep these brief and pertinent)
    4. Benefits to the audience. Specifically state or spell out what will be learned by the listener
    5. Brief review quote from an endorser or reviewer, an objective party. In some cases you may want to state where you have been booked before. (Not on a competitive show, however.)
    6. Offer a copy of the book or product, and ask the host to advise if he/she would like one sent
    7. Provide contact information to call for interview
    8. Restate in one line why you’d be a great guest and the benefits.
    9. Close and provide signature
    10. Keep it to one page
  1. Create a Great Interview Packet. A radio interview packet is different from a general media kit. It has certain elements directed specifically to make it easy on the host to prepare for the interview. Your Interview Packet should include a release on your product or book, your biography, talking points or bullet-point summary of the content you want to cover, a brief two-paragraph introduction of you and your product that you want the host to read to the audience when introducing you, a list of things you want to promote (book, website, coaching program, upcoming teleseminar for example), a list of suggested questions that you are offering the host in the event he/she chooses to use them and a JPG photo of yourself in case the interview is promoted on the show’s website.

  1. Test Your Pitch. Before sending it everywhere, test it on a few shows. See whether it’s effective. Tweak it a bit, or try a different approach altogether until you find one that resonates with the hosts and producers.

  1. Perfect the Follow Up Call. Now that you’ve sent the email, fax or letter, it’s time to make the follow up call. Try not to blow it here! After all, if you are dull and verbose on the query call, why should they book you for a full interview? So get to the point, don’t rattle on, and keep it to a 30-second sound bite. Don’t over introduce yourself. They don’t need all of your credentials, just why you are the proper person to present this subject. For example, keep it to a description like, “I am the bestselling author of….” Sound exciting; but not excited. Be professional; but not monotone. Practice your pitch in advance on others to make sure you have it just right and can get it out without tripping over yourself. Leave your number twice—once at the start and once at the end of the call.

  1. Don’t Overlook Internet Radio. You can take advantage of Internet Radio in a way you can’t with mainstream. Internet radio show hosts may not have as big an audience, but they have a more targeted audience and will let you aggressively and enthusiastically sell your product or service. You get more plugs over a longer extended amount of time. Internet radio hosts tend to be better educated and more focused on the subject matter. They often will post the interview as a podcast where it will get more listeners afterward, and can be provided to you for your website. Many times you can arrange other business ventures with them to market your products. Some will post your book or product on their site so that listeners can immediately click through to your website or to Amazon.com. Most importantly, Internet radio hosts are accustomed to letting you drive listeners to your website for newsletter signups, free ebooks and other incentives to get people on your opt–in list.

  1. Hire a Pro. So once you realize the amount of work it takes to create this kind of appeal and then research the thousands of radio shows that are potential portals for your message, you may find it easier to retain an agency that has a special  Radio Media Tour, an exclusive turn-key agency package that strategically positions the spokesman for the marketplace and then connects with radio shows across the nation to arrange interview bookings.


Jackie Lapin’s Conscious Media Relations creates Radio Media Tours especially for authors, speakers and coaches by offering them to an exclusive list of more than 3000+ radio hosts who seek interviews with leaders in personal development, health, spirituality, prosperity and conscious living—anything that transforms humanity or the planet. For more information go to www.ConsciousMediaRelations.com or call 818 707-1473.