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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

What to Say to Edtors to Get Free Publicity

I thought I’d share a pitch I wrote to my local newspapers in April for Earth Day. It illustrates how we authors need to figure out how to make a query work for their particular title—in whatever news cycle might apply to its theme, characters, settings, or whatever.  

This query matches my poetry book (with Magdalena Ball) called Sublime Planet with Earth Day, but you might adapt yours to other holidays or current events. I also include a few basic dos and don’ts at the end of the query letter. And, if you are a blogger or have a radio show or about anything else that would benefit from a current topic like this, feel free to contact me at hojonews@aol.com. I mean, have at it! (-: Magdalena and I have poetry chapbooks that celebrate most of the major holidays in any given year.  Here it is: 

Hi, I’m an award-winning author who knows how hard it is to find good stories for Earth Day or to fit with current news about global warming which we both know is always a topic of interest.

Earth Day is sneaking up on us but I have an idea for you that will help the environmentalists in your audience celebrate. They’ll love the accessible poems about the fragility of our cosmos by my Aussie poetry partner Magdalena Ball and I. We love to share my poems about XXX and XXX. (In fact, I welcome reprints of any of my poems from any of my award-winning poetry books!) 

Further there is a feature story in how we came to be partners living in separate hemispheres without having ever met. I can schedule interviews just about any time that works for you.

Please let my Sublime Planet poetry book help you with a feature story this month—one probably unlike one you have ever published.
Here are the tips I promised you readers of this SharingwithWriters blog:

Notice that I didn’t bother giving the editor my name. Unless your name is already known by the contact or you are as famous as J. K. Rowling, it isn’t necessary and just keeps you from the interesting stuff that will help them choose your idea for their book page, blog post, entertainment section, radio show or whatever it is that they do.

I also didn’t mention the title in the first sentence. The only time that should come up front is if it is very catchy or outrageous.

Notice how precise the idea is. Query letters need to be clear about the benefits for the media or editor (they need material for current events and holidays). Editors are perfectly capable of moving from the particular to the general or adapting one detailed idea to another of their needs.

By the way, sending media releases—even releases that get ignored--benefits you because you can contact the same editor for the next holiday or current event. Soon they will have come to expect ideas from you that are well considered for their needs. I included another script by well-known publicist Raleigh Pinsky that you can use as a template in my Appendix of my The Frugal Book Promoter. Well-known publicist Raleigh Pinksky gave me permission to reprint it and it will give you even more detail for formulating pitches—in this case telephone pitches—that work.

 Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, 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 .


Thank you for commenting at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick
www.SharingWithWriters.blogspot.com. You might also find www.TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com full of resources you can use and
www.TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog you can use to benefit your book or reading pleasure.