Thursday, March 19, 2009

Q&A a la Ann Landers: Using Tip Sheets to Promote

In The Frugal Book Promoter I talk about including a tip sheet in the media kit you send out to editors--particularly newspaper and magazine editors. I always get questions about the use of tip sheets. Perhaps Diana's questions and my answers will help you with the concept of tip sheets.

Diana Dodson Asks:

I recently sent you a copy of my, "Tip Sheet." I had told you that a paper had asked me for a press copy and we did not know what they meant by a “press copy.”. The paper wanted a copy of my book to look at.


I think we were both assuming they were referring to a ocpy of the tip sheet. Interesting how communication can get blurred.

Diana asks:

I did have another question though. I had thought about this when I was reading your book. If we sent tip sheets to newspapers, why would they necessarily want to use one, where they know nothing about the author or the book?


For them to be interested, you want to make your tips something that would interest the public. Or the specific audience of the media you are submitting to. Example, one of my tip sheets is on “Everything You Wanted to Know about Utah but Were Afraid to Ask.” I only send it out right after there is a big brouhaha in the news about polygamy or some such thing. My book This Is the Place is set in Utah. So the tips aren't about the book but they are related to the book.

Diana asks:

Is there a form letter that should be included with the Tip Sheet?


You may adapt the query letter examples I’ve given in both The Frugal Editor and The Frugal Book Promoter (they’re all a little different). You tailor them to become a query for your tip sheet. Remember, when you submit a tip sheet it is like any other submission, you are in effect ASKING for something to be published. Thus you would want to send along a query letter, not a cover letter. There is no possible way to provide templates or samples to cover all the exigencies for anything an author might submit for consideration to a variety of people including agents, editors and publishers. Thus, the samples in both books are templates and you will need to make them fit your different needs.

Diana asks:

Do you feel papers will put these in, even if they know nothing about you?


When you write a query letter you let the editors know a little about you. Did you see the section on building relationships with editors in my book? If you submit releases, tips sheets, etc. often enough, eventually they WILL come to recognize you.

And, of course, the whole idea of tips sheets is that editors often need--really NEED--little fillers. So, if a tip sheet that might appeal to their audience comes along, they very well might use it, whether they know you or not. Don’t forget to tell them they can use it at no charge and be sure to include a 25 word or less credit line, usually only your name, the title of your book and maybe your e-mail or Web site.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of 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. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal". Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog.

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