Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Reading is like Four O'Clocks...

Let's talk reading and writing. Boring, right? .

Well, maybe. But there's a story in it, an anecdote if you will.

Have you ever planted those easy-to-grow flowers called Four-O'Clocks? You only need one seed because each little peppercorn-seed is so hardy it will grow for sure. It will grow like a weed--or a good read! The next year that one plant will produce enough seeds to populate an entire garden. The seeds look a little like black hand-grenades, ready to explode. And they do, but in pretty yellow-flowered plants. This story about writing and reading is a lot like Four O'Clocks.

I learned a lot by reading from Francine Silverman's book promotion newsletter early on in my own pursuit of promotion ideas for my novel, This Is the Place. By networking with my fellow subscribers, I made friends with several people, not least of whom is Christine Hohlbaum who contributed a copy of her successful query to National Public Radio for the appendixes in The Frugal Book Promoter.

Later Francine Silverman and I promoted our two separate books on marketing as pretty darn good desk companions. By this time Francine had become a career partner for me.

So, that seems more like a recommendation for active promoting than reading or writing, right? Wrong. Without reading -- reading everything - -I wouldn't have found her. My writing (that is the putting together of The Frugal Book Promoter) wouldn't have been as complete without both Francine and Christine.

And now Francine has new book out. It's Talk Radio for Authors – Getting Interviews Across the U.S. and Canada. Because she is now also a host of her own radio program, "Book Marketing with Fran" at http://www.achieveradio.com/, she is absolutely the one to write this book.

It is, as would be expected, a great resource. She includes 40 categories of radio shows. Each listing contains the show’s theme, guest criteria, e-mail address and website, along with host and guest bios. This book is designed to simplify the process of matching the guest with the show’s specialties, but those bios give anyone about to query a host the information needed to make the query personal. That's an important guideline in the promotion/query process.

Oh! Fran also called on many of her fellow hosts to tell what makes the best and worst guests. Now that's the kind of information anyone who uses radio to further their careers can put to good use!

In The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't, I advocate not only getting interviews on radio but also supporting radio by calling in. I even know of people who were invited to host realtime radio shows based on their contributions to others' shows. That, of course, is the secret -- to call in with ideas that contribute to the show or ideas that will help others. An author mentions one's book or expertise because it relates to the information she is sharing; her call shouldn't be only an advertisement.

Francine was a newspaper reporter for many years but her writing/marketing career really began in 2003 when she was author of two local guidebooks, Catskills Alive (1st and 2nd editions, 2000 and 2003) and Long Island Alive (2003), both published by Hunter Publishing. She, like the rest of us, had trouble marketing them and because she was hungry for ideas, she decided to start an e-zine for authors of all genres, the very one that first introduced me to her.

Book Promotion Newsletter was born in March 2003. She compiled a questionnaire with all her burning questions. She still does that when someone subscribes. That's how her book, Book Marketing from A-Z came about. She had so many marketing strategies from subscribers that she was ready to pass 325 of the best tactics along. I highly recommend it for beginning marketers.

Fran was spending so much time on the computer that she decided to start an on-line publicity service and began offering a membership service to her subscribers in which she sends out Expert Sheets with their bios to radio hosts and columnists. At present, Fran has 75 clients and continues to find them radio and newspaper spots.

Then she began that radio show on Achieve Radio, http://www.achieveradio.com/. If you're an author, you could be a guest on her show. If you're a reader, you could learn about new books there but you'd probably also pick up information on how to market whatever business you're in!

And that, of course brings us to her new effort, Talk Radio for Authors - Getting Interviews across the U.S. and Canada. This is one that is niche-marketed to author/readers only. (Yes, we authors are readers, too!) Find it at http://www.buybooksontheweb.com/search.asp?cat=Business%20%26%20Economics/Marketing&action=browse or call the publisher, Infinity Publishing at 1-877-BUY-BOOK.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel, This Is the Place, won eight awards. Her second book, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, creative nonfiction, won three. An instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program, her book The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won’t is recommended reading for her classes, was named USA Book News’ “Best Professional Book 2004," and was given the Irwin Award. Her second book in the How To Do It Frugally series is The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. Her chapbook of poetry Tracings, was named to the Compulsive Reader's Ten Best Reads list and was given the Military Writers' Society of America's Silver Award of Excellence. She is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community's Character and Ethics Committee awarded her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly's list of 14 "San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen." Her website is http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com/.

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