Monday, December 17, 2007

Have Some Fun! Write Opinion

In the Frugal Book Promoter I suggest that one way people who hate to promote (read that "be in public" or "sell") can get noticed is by doing what they love and that is writing or letting people know what they think.

Authors or other business people can get their names out there by using letters-to-the-editor or public forums. It's a way to build credibility in your field. And, yes, you have a field even if you write fiction or poetry. Your job is to find out what that field is. Mine is tolerance and all the things affected by it or the lack of it. With the world the way it is, I find tons of stuff to write on the subject, both locally and nationally.

The secret is to watch for a news item (either in the public forum or in the news pages) that relates to your book or field of expertise and write about it. Here are tips on how to do that:

 Follow the newspaper or magazine's guidelines for the letters, if they have them. You'll usually find guidelines on their website but you can also tell by watching the letters page.
 If you submit frequently (and get published), you'll position yourself to get freelance work with those newspapers and magazines. Perhaps even a column.
 If you don't get published, contact the opinion editor and offer to do a longer op-ed essay for him or her. Op-ed pieces are often paid-for material.
 When your letter is published, follow up with a proposal to the editor for a freelance article--preferably related to the subject of your book or your field of expertise. Yes, mention that they published your piece.
 Follow that up with a phone call.
 If that doesn't work, send a query to the book review or entertainment editor with a feature story idea or request for a review. Mention that you've often been published as an expert in their very own newspaper.
 Follow that up with more letters to the editor.
 Then you might offer to review books for that same publication. One more way to do what you love to do which is to write.

Keep in mind that this is a process. You want to measure your submissions and proposals. The trick is to make contact (and get published) often enough for the editor to remember you but not so often that your approach feels forced. Certainly submitting a letter-to-the-editor every few weeks is not too much.
CHJ

PS: Many people who do not consider themselves writers enjoy this process, too. Retirees. People interested in local government or politics. Gadflies.
Have at it. Have fun.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author THIS IS THE PLACE; HARKENING: A COLLECTION OF STORIES REMEMBERED; TRACINGS, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T; and THE FRUGAL EDITOR: PUT YOUR BEST BOOK FORWARD TO AVOID HUMILIATION AND ENSURE SUCCESS.
Her other blogs include TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com and AuthorsCoalition.blogspot.com, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler.

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