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How do you get book reviewers to look at your book?

An analysis of the ways to get more book reviews

How do you get reviewers to look at your book?

Getting reviews is to me just one form of publicity, and it’s not even the best form of publicity for generating sales.

I’ll try to explain how I perceive the process and seek to explain what I believe we are up against.

Book reviewers are people who review books and like many people, many of them are trying to make a living writing and publishing their reviews.

They are media! They are best viewed as fellow publishers who are writing to sell. They make money writing and publishers and make decisions based on how their writing and publishing impacts the number of subscribers and the advertising revenue the number of subscribers allows them to receive as well.

They have limited amount of time in a day they are forced to make decisions as regards what to read and write about. They choose to focus on the areas that interest them the most because they will write best about subjects that they care about the most. They also choose to spend their time on books that they will enjoy reading and that will interest their audience.

Even bloggers ask “what’s in it for me?” because they want to publish articles that at the very least increase the number of eyeballs on their blog and hence drive whatever income they make off their blog.

What they seek then is good books. Books that command attention and allow them to drive traffic.

So when you pitch a book to a reviewer you have to make them see and understand how reviewing your book will impact their income. You have to understand who they are, who they are writing for, and what that audience wants and are willing to pay for.

The pitch you send it very important because that news release is the very proposal that influences what they then do. A news release is not an advertisement. It is not designed to sell a book. It is a proposal for media coverage, and it explains what you have and why it is important and to whom. It also give the media what they need to do their job, or at least contains an offer by you to help them do their job.

So this pitch is very important.

Media look at this pitch even before they look at the product – your book. They ask three key questions:

1. How many people in MY audience are going to be interested in this?

2. What’s in it for MY audience?

The answer to both these questions has to be A LOT!

You have to demonstrate and even prove to the reviewer that lots of people will be interested and the story and content of the article they get to write and publish, or the show they get to produce and air (whether it’s radio or TV of even blog radio or streaming TV), has lots of news, education or entertainment value.

Those are the first two crucial hurdles. If you make it over those hurdles, you reach then next big hurdle.

3. How much time, effort, and money or people will it take for me to do
my job?

The answer to this has to be “so little I can make a profit”.

In other words, you hand them a ready to go published article or even a review that can be modified easily.

And that’s just to get them to even be willing to look at your book.

Then you get to send it to them. The book and package you send is the next decision point. This is where the rubber meets the road. What happens next is dependent on what they experience and how they feel with the book and your pitch in their hands.

What they first and foremost are looking for is VALIDATION. They need quality content that offers relevant timely and value laden news, education or entertainment for their particular audience. If it helps them sell subscriptions, you can get in.

That’s what you’ve got to communicate to them. That’s what you’ve got to offer and that’s what you have to deliver.

If you do that, you will succeed in getting them interested no matter what type of publisher you are. The door will open and media will let you present more information and you might get media coverage for you or your author and the book. Getting reviews and getting feature story coverage for an author and a book is a process.

So very simply, when you deliver the book and your detailed media proposal for coverage, the content and the quality have to be sufficient to carry the day.

Whether it is self-published or not doesn’t matter that much. Even if you publish as an ebook, the product format is not that important.

But the publication quality has to be good enough so that the media has the confidence in the credibility of the author and isn’t turned off and scared off.

It’s the essential validation that helps persuade another publisher that it makes good economic and business sense to publish a story and not regret making that decision later.

So what do you need to do?

You need to create a quality product. The cover has to be quality, the layout needs to be professional and the writing and content has to be quality.

Then you need to create a develop, test and re-test and refine your communications so that you have a persuasive pitch.

Now to me this is the miracle of the microcosm because we have 330 million media trained and indoctrinated people in this country and they tend to respond the same way to media communications. We laugh at the same jokes, cry at the same sad stories and get turned on by the same scantily dresses celebrities. We see media messages everywhere that are designed to get us to buy things.

The miracle to is that you can do this anywhere as long as you pay attention to what you say and do and learn what it takes to turn YOUR people on. You get this feedback whenever you speak about your book to people. You figure out whenever you make a sale what you said that resulted in the interest and the sale. You capture that.

Then you use it in your Marcom. You find out what to say that gets people to want more of what you have to offer. You use it to sell product and you use it to get media coverage and reviews.

What’s the very best galvanizing media publicity you can get that will produce the maximum ROI? I don’t think it’s a book review. I think it’s a three to five minute piece that galvanizes people with you doing what you absolutely do the best.

So how do you develop this? Here’s what I recommend you do:

Imagine being in front of 20 to 30 of the very best people you think would be most interested you and what you do. Describe these people so that you have a picture of who they are and what they look like.

Now identify the absolute most interesting topic, challenge, or problem situation you can think of, that will interest the maximum number of people just like them.

NOW give me your eight to ten best tips, problem solving actions, ideas, jokes, or lessons learned for this audience. Can you give these people your ten commandments? Can you knock their socks off so that half of them come flying out of their chairs with their pocketbooks or wallets open? (BTW that’s a 50 percent response).

I want you to pretend you have three to five minutes to give a these people eight to maybe ten absolutely phenomenal show stoppers. That means for ten items, you have less than 20 seconds or less for each one, plus a one minute intro and a one minute ending.

This is what we put into your news release. This is what you pitch to media people for reviews and articles.

The goal is to create a vision for the media that clearly illustrates and allows them to see in their minds — How you can help or entertain or educate the people you can help the most. You have to focus less on passive ideas and more on actions that people can take to deliver immediate or tangible real time or near term benefits, impacts, or predictable
consequences. This forms the core content to the news release/show
proposal pitch.

That is what you need to do to get more reviews, and better still, get more lengthy and detailed and galvanizing feature stories, which in my experience sell lots more books.

In a POD publishing world, you get to optimize this process inexpensively since your printing costs are so reduced. You also get to maximize the profits if you sell direct.

What you need to remember is that every media publisher has a unique audience and unique set of needs. And you need to address their needs if you are going to gain their cooperation and get what you want.

Case in point: I’ll give you a real life example from today. This is one of the most memorable rejections I’ve received of late and it illustrates exactly how media evaluate a proposal.

I wrote and transmitted a news release for a self-published POD author Eileen Dey, who wrote a book about Reiki. The book teaches about the benefits of Reiki. Veterans day is approaching and we have two live wars in progress so the news release focused on how war veterans and other people affected by post traumatic stress were enlisting Reiki in helping achieve relief. The targeted media list included personal health media, military and veterans, mental health and of course I included the new age media and those interested in paranormal phenomenon.

Media responded with requests for review copies and in many cases their emails indicated how they viewed the subject and the proposal. The medical media with a narrow focus on the evidence based medicine and a pathological basis were close minded since Reiki is not exactly mainstream medicine. Others who are more open to the Eastern alternative health practices and mind, body, spirit were favorable and interested.

The most noteworthy of the media responses of the day was this one.

The email came back from the editor of Witches and Pagans magazine. The editor said and I quote:

“Unless your author is a self-avowed Witch, Pagan, or Heathen, we wouldn’t be interested.”

Paying for Book Reviews – Is it worth it?

Paying for book reviews - costs compared to normal book publicity

Discussion of the new program to charge $149 for book reviews at Publishers Weekly. One person asked “Is it worth it?”

I write lots of news releases and send them out to lots of media and one of the primary goals for each and every one of my book author clients is to get their book reviewed.

I personally think that paying for reviews is just one way to achieve the goal of reaching and persuading people in a given target audience. I am seeing more and more media now say that they are charging for reviews. This is happening in many categories of media we deal with regularly. There are real reasons why this is happening and there are important tactics that those of us who promote books must pay close attention to.

To me the media are best viewed as publishers who make their living from writing, or using other people’s writing, to create something people will pay for. They only have two income streams for the most part, subscribers and advertising. To date, the core content that people who pay require of them, is usually a cost to the publisher. They have either employees, or they use freelance writers, and must pay for articles, or reviews. They create publications that they sell to buying audiences. That’s how they make their money.

Hence certain requirements exist when you want to be featured in a publication. The first is that you make sure you create something that matches or exceeds the quality or needs of the target audience, and the defined character of the media you wish to be in; and 2. That you then persuade that media that the audience in fact will be interested in what you created and 3. That you make it easy for the publisher to do their job, which is write something favorable that triggers sales.

Now for people who wish to get book reviews in library and publishing industry journals, the book review is helpful to getting the book before librarians and booksellers. So a book review in certain media has value.

More and more of these media are charging because they see the time and effort needed as a significant issue. It takes people, time, and physical space to manage a book review program that receives hundreds of books a week from authors and publishers all over the world. So the costs and manpower to do this is considerable. It is no wonder that media have decided to place a price on the process, to cover and defer these costs, and yet make no promises whatsoever on whether the review conducted will be helpful to an author or a publisher at all. I mean if you want to truly control the message that gets placed before a target audience, these media have a clearly identified process for doing that. It’s called advertising.

On the other hand, if what you seek instead is a bona fide objective review then you are forced to use methods of persuasion like sending news releases, books for review and media kits that contain the information needed to make a really favorable impression on media professionals, demonstrate to them that lots of people will be interested in the book, why, and what value it will have, and that even writing their review or story is easy with the extra materials you can make available to them to do their job (and defray their publishing time, effort, and costs).

This is what you need to really think about these days when presenting a review proposal to media.

To me, $149 for a review is a little high. Not only that, if all you do is send a book and wait for a review, then you are missing the opportunity to influence and control the outcome. That’s what you do when you work with a publicist.

If an author or a publisher invests $500 in an outreach effort, it is not unusual for me to see them get 20 to 60 requests (or more) for review copies as a result of their effort. One average, one can expect 50 percent of the requests to actually result in a review. So that means that the cost per review averages from $10 to $50 per review achieved. Follow up will improve the media response and performance.

Other publicists will cost more than this to achieve the same thing. You pay for the time, effort, technology and expertise and this is the business of strategic communication and persuasion.

However, book reviews may not be the only outcome or consequence from pitching to media.

The same PR outreach effort and $500 cost also triggers interviews and feature stories and even requests for speaking engagements. The actual outcome depends on the author, the topic, what we give to the media to share with the audience, the prior media coverage of the same topic or genre, the specific media targeted, and in many cases most importantly, the bottom line quality of the book. The value of this coverage is very hard to place a real value on. A single placement on FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC may result in hundreds or thousands of book sales and it may not. A single well conducted interview on NPR may launch a best seller. It also may not. Then again, a single well written and galvanizing story in the middle of nowhere but to a captive dedicated audience may also sell a great number of books. But then again, it may not.

The quality of the book and how it fits in the scheme of things is very important. But sometimes that doesn’t matter to the media. The content of the message is what matters the most. Timely content with high value to the audience gets the best coverage regardless of whether the book is fresh and new or old and musty. I’ve gotten many an author great publicity opportunities that failed to ripen into coverage because the book quality, content, and timeliness falls short of delivering the quality needed to validate the needs of the media for their audience. That is the challenge with many a self-published author and publisher.

Getting More Interviews on Radio and other Media

Advice on how to get more talk show interviews and how to get the maximum ROI from the interviews you do

Start with the end in mind.

The real key to evaluating your media performance is your sales. Radio is an instantaneous communications medium. To evaluate your performance you might want to see if you can figure out whether you can trace book sales to the time and place of your interview.

Many a small radio station or show in the middle of nowhere have captive audiences who are very dedicated. They trust their hosts, and they do what the host advises.

I’ve done five minute interviews on small stations in the middle of the morning that produced thirty to as many as fifty book sales on a toll free number literally while I was talking. This has outperformed 30 minute interviews on big Arbitron rated stations and shows in major cities. This is because of the quality of the audience and the interview.

So when a guest does an interview and really shines, they can sell a lot of books very quickly. But whether this happens really depends on the quality of the performance.

Your success on radio (or any other medium and technology) really is determined by what you communicate to your listening audience. That is why you need to evaluate what you said and identify exactly what happened and when.

In my opinion, it is a mistake to say “My book”. It labels you as a person who is selling a product. It’s a turn off. Experience shows that saying this reduces or diminishes your success. So you want to prepare the host and make sure they have products and information in advance. It’s better to be a galvanizing guest and have people call up to learn more about you than to be seen as a salesperson hawking a product.

You want the host to be the one to mention and talk about your book. You want the host to lavish you and your writing with praise and point the audience to what you have available. You want them to be the ones who do the sales talk for you.

Your job is to be the best guest you can possibly be. You don’t talk about you and your life unless you really know that it is interesting and impresses people. You don’t talk about your book and your writing and your marketing unless you really know it interests and engages people.

What’s the very best galvanizing media publicity you can get that will produce the maximum ROI?

I believe that it’s a three to five minute piece that galvanizes people with you doing what you absolutely do the best.

So if you are a story teller, tell stories. If you are a horror writer, scare and horrify people. If you write sci-fi, then talk about the future. Give people and experience. Engage them and let them experience something that is truly emotionally engaging.

Don’t be boring. Be stimulating. Choose what you say carefully. Plan it out, test it, select and rehearse, like an actor or an actress on stage.

What you do is you talk about the ideas and concepts in your book and how it affects others. People are really only interested in things that have value to their own lives or others that they care about. That is what you must offer. I have a little poetic like formula which I wrote which describes what you need to do which goes like this:

Tell me a story
give me a local news angle (my audience!)
touch my heart (make me laugh or cry)
teach me something new
astound or amaze me,
make my stomach churn with horror or fear,
hit me in my pocketbook
or turn me on.

And do this as many times as you can in two to three minutes.

That is what you have to do when you are interview on radio.

The goal is to have a meaningful communication with the right real people on the receiving end. The message is matters, the medium matters, and the effect matters. The real value to the recipient is what determines whether they in fact are affected to the point of action.

So, did you turn people on to the point where they were motivated to take the action you wanted?

Do you know how to turn people on? Were you galvanizing? Were you funny? We your education or entertaining? Did you entrance people with your story telling? Did you plan and communicate your very best talking points? Were you boring or were you memorable?

You have to decide in advance what your goal is and then carry it off without a hitch. Then you have to evaluate whether you achieved your goal.

This is the key thing you are out to learn and to achieve. If you goal is to sell books, then ask yourself honestly, did you sell books? If not, then maybe you need to revise your script and your strategy until it does do what you want it to do.

Technically, you need to be on a single land line when you do your interview simply to achieve the best sound quality. Cell phones, Skype, even portable phone are all at risk for interference and reduced sound performance. You also must turn off all intrusions, such as other phones, door bells, cell phones, and call waiting. You need to be where you can conduct your interview quietly without anything distracting your attention or introducing unwanted sounds. Close all windows, close the doors, tell the kids and any other people that you need quiet and no interruptions while you are on the air or taping. Make sure no one in the house picks up another phone on the line you are using to make a call while you are using the phone.

BTW, I’ll go out on a limb here and offer up a point of some controversy. I’m not a big fan of blog radio simply because to date, my clients don’t sell a lot of books using the technology, or at least it is rare. It can be done. Some blog radio shows have developed some pretty nice dedicated audiences. Blog radio interviews also tend to be saved online in audio file formats that can be readily played on people’s computers (MP3, MP4, etc). So the potential is there for people to discover and play your interview again and again.

But does it compare to regular radio? There are over 6500 radio stations and shows out there in the US and Canada. When me and my clients do campaigns, it’s not unusual for a single news release and phone campaign to net us dozens of interviews. Some radio stations and shows have tremendous geographic reach. There are 10,000 to 50,000 watt stations in the Midwest that can be heard from Mexico all the way into Canada. There are radio network shows and syndicated radio shows that can result in a single interview being played in dozens to hundreds of affiliate stations. This is what you can do when you hire a publicist who has the ability to create custom media lists for you and help you pitch to hundreds and thousands of media.

The proof of whether it works for you or not is what you need to zero in on and document. The technology is not as important as whether you created and communicated a message that got the people you want to reach and influence to take the action you want them to take.

So, the bottom line is that you evaluate your talk show experience by whether you sold product. Were you successful?

If it works (and you sell product) then you are achieving success. If your interview sold books, then do more interviews just like it. If not, then study your message. Don’t conclude that the technology is at fault.

Your success with radio is just one of the many ways you can learn to be successful promoting your writing.

Learn what you can say to turn people on in your own backyard anywhere. This is how you’ll get the most effective publicity you’ve ever experienced. Once you create and prove this little script and once you really get it down and prove to yourself that it’s repeatable, you can use it again and again everywhere you go.

We’ve got a country of 330 million media indoctrinated people. They react to media messages in predictable ways. You can learn what it takes to get people to get interested in you. You can even learn what to say to get people to buy something.

And once you learn how to galvanize them in your back yard, you can use technology to repeat the message and reproduce the response again and again. Whether it’s radio or print or online it won’t matter. That’s the miracle of the microcosm in America.

Book Publicity for Fiction Writers

22 Questions for Fiction Writers to Answer and Use to Get More Book Publicity

One core set of quality content that’s entertaining, educational and sheds light on your personality and the unique things you bring to your writing and the value it has for people all make for a good recipe for author success with the media.

What can you talk about that’s interesting and invites people to learn more about you and your book?

1. Describe your book in 50 words or less:

2. How did your book come about?

3. Can you tell us about the story and a bit about the main characters?

4. What has been your experience with (the subject of your book)

5. How does it relate to what happens in your story?

6. What are some of the rules or prejudices you’d like to see changed about (your subject)?

7. How did you do your background research?

8. Where do you research information for your books?

9. How has the community responded to your work?

10. How did your work on this get started? Where do your characters come from?

11. What can you say about (aspect of writing) and what it plays in your work?

12. What do you find to be most exciting about (name the issue)?

13. How did you get your start in writing? What, if anything, lit the “spark” to get you started and keep you motivated?

14. What are you currently working on?

15. What are your favorite and least favorite things about being a writer?

16. What do you do in your spare time, when you aren’t writing?

17. What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?

18. How have the books you’ve read influenced the books you write?

19. What do you do when you’re having writer’s block to “shake” it off?

20. Have you ever had to overcome real tragedy or hardship in your life?

21. What makes a good (type of book, e.g., thriller?)

22. What do you enjoy more, writing or discovering other people’s work?

If you write 50 to 100 word answers to these questions you can then offer them to media as a news release, feature story content about your book, an email questionnaire for bloggers, interview article, and Q & A’s for a radio or TV talk shopw interview.

Actions to help people will get you more publicity

Best professional branding publicity comes from problem solving tips articles and advice

This is one of the most common suggestions I have for people who seek publicity.

Help the people you can help the most.

When you write a news release the best professional branding will come when you ask media to publish something that helps people and show them you can really do it well.

You can’t do this by simply talking about a subject. Too much talk and discussion and passive explanation and you will lose attention. Text dense prose lacks direct tangible, immediate effect. There’s no way to achieve or experience real results right now. So if this is what you place in a news release, you are likely to fail.

You need to shrink wrap the dialog and explanation. You also can’t preach.

What you do instead is simply define a problem and then tell people with that problem exactly what to do to make progress solving that problem.

Action pack your article and dialog from now on with the specific ways to take action that produces a predictable result, contribution, effect or impact.

Let’s just say you were a romance expert and you wrote a book about romance and intimacy. Now to get publicity you want to propose an article or interview talking points that improve intmacy between people. Well there are five types of intimacy you identify. Intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, physical.

If you offer up two ways each that’s ten. Three ways each that’s fifteen actions.

Take all your ideas and turned them into carefully organized specific set of actions. You need to offer actions designed to produce specific feelings and sensations and experiences that create intimacy.

This does not necessarily need to come out of your book if it wasn’t done this way. When you seek publicity you are free to go outside your book and simply focus on being expert at the subject matter of your book. So go a head and be free. Grow new ideas out of what you wrote in your book.

In fact, now that your book is published your new goal is to turn people on wherever you go and offering entertaining, educational, and galvanizing suggestions in the form of actions can make a truly great and memorable impression.

So no matter what you’ve written, try to learn to speak this way (action focused) from now on when you talk to and present to media and your public.

People don’t want to hear platitudes of just how they should think. They want to be told what to do that produces the results you are telling them to achieve. Your book explains. In your PR and interviews you have to offer things that are more immediate. This is work book time. Your PR are the recipes for action.

People will not remember the why or the how come. They will remember only specific things you tell them to do, that THEY LEARN REALLY WORK. If they experience even a glimmer of success then they will remember and attribute it to you. This is what you need to achieve for AND with them. Give them the actual steps to real success. Then they will trust you and buy everything you have available in every way you make it available.

The fact that what you now offer up goes beyond your book does not matter as long as you can own the words here and make these your own. We can leave the words in the book behind. You can talk beyond the book and help the people you can help the most by giving them what they need and what the most, which is to be told what to do. Right now.Now we have to learn how we (YOU) can talk and present (in person, in interviews and in media articles) so that we (YOU) really turn people on and HELP THEM.

That’s what PR does.

Free Book Publicity Podcast – Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book?

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book? You betcha!

On November 19th, 2009 I had a wonderful time being interviewed for Authors Access with Victor R. Volkman and Irene Watson about whether Press Releases are still revelant to marketing and promoting books.

We covered a wide-range of talking points, including:

* So What Exactly Is A News Release?

* Why Is This So Hard To Do? What Makes This So Special?

* So What Exactly Do Media People Look For When They Receive A News Release?

* So What Do You Need To Do To Write A News Release That Really Works & Truly Gets Media Attention?

* How do you know when you’re ready?

* What Specifically Should Authors Do To Create This Galvanizing Candy ­This Magic Script.

* What is the Magic Formula (DPAA+H)? (“Dramatic Personal Achievement in the face of Adversity, plus a little Humor”)

* Which Are Better For Authors To Aim At – Book Reviews Or Feature Stories & Why?

* How do you know when you achieve success with a news release?

* So once you have a trash proof news release, what do you do with it

Download the free Authors Access podcast interview free at:

http://authorsaccess.com/archives/164
A pdf file that summarizes all the talking points is also available here:

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book? http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/arepressreleasesaneffectiveway.pdf

The Trash Proof News Releases is available as a free ebook at Smashwords:

Trash Proof News Releases

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5921

If you write what you think is a trash proof news release, send it to me and I’ll send you my extra two bits!

Paul@DirectContactPR.com

Being bumped by the media – what do you do when this happens to you?

Tactics for responding to media when interview is postponed by other news

One of my clients just shared his experience of being bumped by a big media for a TV interview.

This does happen people some of the time. The question is ‘what do you do when it happens to you?’

You can strategize and come up with actions and ideas to best position yourself when it happens if you stand in their shoes and seek to understand what happened to them when they made the decision.

Media are businesses that are best viewed as publishers (in the case of print) or producers (in the case of radio, TV or some other electronic medium) who make their living from two income sources:

1. Paying subscribers
2. Paying advertisers (the number of whom is dependent upon the number of paying subscribers).

Media decisions are almost always made in favor of one proposal for media coverage over another because of the perceived value of the news, entertainment, or education offered and the direct impact it has on these two income sources.

Media evaluate these story by story, day by day, for each income producing media coverage opportunity that they have to offer. There are three key questions they ask:

1. How many people in my audience will be interested in this?
2. What is the value of the information to my audience? and
3. How much time and efforts (or people and money), will I need to invest to create this story?

The pass-fail answers have to be:

1. A lot of people 2. A lot of value and 3. Very little cost

So when something out competes you, you can at least you can empathize (or sympathize) with the media as a fellow publisher!

So the key thing to do is try to be understanding and professional when you follow up and speak to them.

Now this next step is the crucial one.

Never let conversation die. Don’t think that ‘not now’ means ‘not ever’.

The key action is to make another proposal for media coverage. Ask them:

– Can we re-schedule?

– What is the date and time for the interview?

If the planned coverage is based on a current event or issue and the timing or opportunity passes by, then look ahead and create another proposal.

Say

– If we can’t do this show, then how about we do this one instead?

– Can I send you more information and another proposal?

– Would you like to see some Q and A’s on this topic?

Never let the conversation stop. Once you have opened the door to a relationship as a professional guest, entertainer or contributor always offer to send them some additional ideas or information.

In fact, it is a good policy to never let a media person (or in fact any book sale prospect), get away without you making another proposal to send them something more, so you can keep them mentally engaged with you, and ensure they are taking steps towards doing something to help you promote or sell your products or services.

Just remember that these are very important people who hold the key to placing your message and magic words in front of thousands, even millions of people. Think about what they do for a living and give them ideas and answers to help them do their job.

Of course, “the magic words” have to be there. Your media pitch, whether it is in a phone call, a personal email or in a news release, has to offer the media content and value. Your proposal has to turn them and their audience.

That is how you can turn a cancellation, or even a no, into a new interview or feature story opportunity.

Why book reviews news releases don’t work

Why book reviews news releases don't work

OK, you’ve written a book and now want to get some publicity?

I recommend that authors stay away from news releases that simply say “I’ve published a book and am marketing it…..” It may get you local publicity and it may get you some book reviewers, some of which my end up getting published.

But you do not see too many book reviews that result in stellar book sales and movie deals.

That’s what comes out of galvanizing feature stories and interviews that contains significant human interest or promise of tremendous value-added.

That’s what you need to offer to media and that’s what you need to place into your news release.

Content wise, you must remember the differences between the media and make sure the needed elements are present or are offered:

Print wants the best information. Radio and TV want to be told why you have the best entertainment.

Notice the difference: To the specific information or topic is of lesser importance than it’s entertainment value to the producer. Print speaks to the head. Print requires more written words — it is intellectual and focuses on getting you to think.

Radio and TV speak to the stomach. Radio and TV focus on provoking emotional response. They speak to your heart and soul.

Did you know that radio provides out-pulls print and tv when it comes to motivating people?

Did you know that more people respond to audio speech than written speech? Did you know who proved this point better than anyone else in the entire 20th Century?

Adolph Hitler. His oratory motivated the Germans to start a World War.

Listen carefully to the speeches given by our President. Look at the powerful emotions they can evoke with very few words. The speech writers are media masters.

Ha! I know you may get bored after a few minutes, but oh well, they are the ones who are “on the air”, so pay attention as long as you can get something out of it.

You can learn a lot by listening to others, and paying attention to the powerful and successful people around you, especially those who are featured in the media. Study what they do. Learn what they do.

You can modify and improve your media success by learning from the masters all around you. They are in print everywhere you look, on the radio everywhere you go, and on tv day in and day out.

If you become a student of the media with the goal of improving your media success, you will seek to learn and apply what learn, especially if you focus on people who successfully pitched to media, and are now “on the air’.

When you pitch to media, you must ask yourself three simple questions:

What do they want?

What can I offer?

How can I present it so I can be more persuasive than others who are also vying for the space, or air time?

So if you have a fiction book, and want to find out ways of publicizing your book, what you must do is start studying the publicity that has been acquired by other fiction book authors.

You find the critical intelligence you need in the latest issue of whatever media you want to be in.

You can also use search engines to find and get you access to the online counterparts to media.

You can also use news search engines to follow specific key words on your topic and study who’s getting publicity and on what topics.

You can use my 3 I Technique:

1. Identify the success stories

2. Imitate the success stories

3. Innovate with your own information.

This simple process works so use it.

Start paying attention to what is out there. Head to the magazine rack. Open up the magazines you want to be in. Use the magazine search and news search engines.

If you are a fiction book author, start studying the publicity acquired by other fiction authors.

Identify the feature articles about fiction authors. Cut them out and create a scrap book. Then use these for ideas.

Watch TV and listen to the radio and do the same thing. Tape the shows, watch them or listen to them several times, and learn the behaviors. List the questions, study the good answers.

Accumulate enough examples from your particular target media that you can craft news angles, headlines, and content in a comparable style. Then prepare your own materials using the successful models and mentors as a guide.

There is another way to describe this process:

Search, Find, Match and Apply.

You SEARCH for the opportunity what you want.

You FIND — an opportunity or a place where you think the opportunity exists.

You make sure you MATCH their needs with the right content.

And then you APPLY by presenting your news release to see if you can be selected for the opportunity you identified.

This process works as well for searching for getting publicity as aweel as it does for creating letters, business proposals, getting contracts, agents, publishers, or even for a soulmate.

The articles and interviews you find will tell you to the types of news release you will need to create to pitch this type of feature article story, or get interviews based on the themes you discover. Analyze them. Identify the content, length, style, and other characteristics of the information. Then create information about your book that parallels what you have found.

If you pay attention, you’ll see the types of things that turn your particular media on.

And you’ll be able to do it, too.

Boiler Plate for a News Release

Guidance to a novice self publisher about writing a news release

A new author self-publisher on the Self-Publishing Yahoo list wrote:

> Can anybody direct me to a boiler plate for a press release that I
> can use to create my own? I have heard a variety of different things
> should be included. Most say that it should be only one page and
> other say it should be three to four pages. I would like it to be
> brief and to the point and something I can send out via email to a
> variety of sources. … I need to get this done in the next couple of days
> because my book will be back from the typesetter by then to go to
> Amazon, so I truthfully don’t have the time, nor the money to be
> purchasing several books and wading through them.”

Goodness, this looks like you’re hopping on the first and fastest and cheapest train to go by without looking where you are going. You run a real risk of ending up somewhere down the river with no hope of getting where you really want to go. Are you really hoping this will help you achieve publicity and publishing success?

I urge you to slow down and first really take the time to create a marketing message that truly inspires people to take the action you want. Learn to walk and talk with people about your book and learn to sell and speak about your topic first. PR and news releases aren’t a guaranteed trip to the bank. You need to learn how to connect with the people that matter the most to you.

If you don’t really focus on creating a pitch that works and refining it until it reliably produces a good response (as in they buy into YOU and your book), then you will encounter failure no matter what media you present your boilerplate messages to and no matter what technology you use to spread the word.

On the other hand, if you do slow down you can create a short set of talking points that educates, entertains and galvanizes the people that you help the most. Then once you have proven that your MAR-COM works, you can use it in your news releases.

But this is what you need to do first and you can do this right at home with the people around you. What you say (or write) will depend on who you are trying to connect with, what they need (in the way of guidance or advice or inspiration or entertainment) that you can give them, so that you make such an impression on them that they want to buy what you have to offer.

To really figure out if you are ready to do publicity you might want to read the following:

The Magic of Business
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=105

If you are indeed ready and your goal is to persuade them you have valuable ideas that can help them, then I would recommend you emulate a problem solving tips article or a feature story article format, or a radio and TV interview format.

One of the most popular sections of my web site is the free news release samples — pdf file downloads of numerous types of news releases for you to use as models for your own efforts. You can find examples of news releases for you to use as models.

http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-downloads

Once you have a goal for a news release in mind, then you can use my 3 I Technique.

Create a Better News Release with “The 3 I Technique”
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=52

You may also want to go directly to the hot button theory article to get more insight and education in making the media fall in love with you.

The Hot Button Theory: Maximizing Media Response to Your News Releases
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=35

If you’ve never really written a news release or have experienced limited success when you do, you might benefit from reading the following articles:

Why News Releases Fail — The Most Common Reasons & What to Do About It
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=22

Press releases – which types of news releases really work the best?
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=122

Copywriting – The blood, sweat and tears of getting publicity
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=121

If you really don’t have the time and energy to put into doing your publicity yourself you may choose to work with a publicist.

Evaluating the Range of Publicity Options – Making the Right Decision for You
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=41

Finally – once you do create a news release you’ll need to then figure out how to transmit it to the right media. That’s where a good publicist can come in handy.

If you need help identifying who they are give me a call anytime, I help people in creating custom targeted media lists, book reviewer lists, and systematic action plans and tactics to identify the best web sites, newsletters, libraries, article repositories, blogs, forums, search engines, ezines, audio, video, radio sites and even social networking sites to contact to get the word out.

There are several other highly experience people on this list who can provide you with quality professional publicity guidance and assistance if you choose to make use of them. I highly recommend you take some time and do indeed read their books, study the articles at their web sites and contact them directly before you invest any more time and effort in your publishing endeavors so you avoid the personal pain and harsh financial impacts of failure.

One last little thought for you. I just am reading Reality Check, Guy Kawasaki’s newest book. I highly recommend this book to all serious business minded publishers, along with his previous book, The Art of the Start.

Chapter 41 is titled and devoted to DIY PR. He begins the chapter with a quote:

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.

~ Bill Gates.

Smart, Intelligent, and Broke… and What to do about it

Tactics for creating a writing or services business that makes money and helps the people you can help the most

I’m a copywriter and a publicist and an author so I guess I do make a living writing. I’m happy to share with you what I’ve done and what I’ve learned.

I wrote my first news release in 1977. I went online with my first website in 1993. I’ve built up my copy writing and publicity services company at home and online over the past 15 years.

You can read the story about how I created my business in the book “Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul” published by Health Communications in November 2006. It’s titled `Ripples’. Fun story.
If you want to see it click here Ripples

The marketing I do is pretty nominal but it is consistent, and I take baby steps to keep it going nearly every day.

I’m of the belief that if people and companies have employees doing work that you can do and have more work that you can do than they have employees available to do that work, then getting paid is easy.

Can you do it?

Yes you can!

You just need to present them with a very desirable alternative turnkey to hiring you as an employee. Make it attractive and make it easy and it’s a done deal.

I’ve found that if they have employees doing something, then outsourcing to you is often a very attractive option. You can normally charge four to six times the hourly rate of pay that they pay full time employees to do exactly the same work, but without them having to carry the overhead that they have to carry for an employee. So if top technical or professional employees are making $50 an hour, then you can charge $200 an hour. Most companies will not bat an eye at these rates these days. You can run the numbers and see, at these rates, it’s not hard to bill over $100,000 a year and do it part-time from home. The Internet and email can be a wonderful place.

So no matter what the employees or you do, you can create a short menu of options and fees that break both the services you will provides (just like an employee performs, or the deliverables they create), and format this into a short list of the fee based time or product deliverables that you can perform or deliver on demand or by schedule.

So instead of a resume, create a one page brochure that says “menu of options”. Then itemize options so people can hire you in bite size chunks of payable time or for products or services by known typical units of performance (by the hour, by the day, by the week, by the page, by the document, or whatever).

This menu allows you and the client to select what you do and price it in advance, and build this into a one page contract or an email or even a phone call.

I’ve found that the best marketing tactics that work in this business are ones that allow you to leverage professional branding with your target audience. You should not waste time, effort and money unless it brings a professional branding message in front of someone who will potentially be amenable to doing business with you.

So I recommend you experiment, test and most importantly and track and analyze what you do, to identify how you are getting clients and where the biggest income streams come from. Then apply the basic rules of systematic continuous improvement to what you are doing. Simply put, if it works, do more of it, and if it doesn’t stop and do something else.

You can use my business as an example. To this day, I get most of my new business by:

* meeting people at conferences at which I exhibit, and giving short but personal consults on the fly, and once I hear what they are all about giving them recommendations that help them a little and indicate what they can get by involving me more.

* writing and publishing articles (problem solving tips articles) in magazines, to demonstrate skills, expertise, ability, knowledge and wisdom, and create desire once they realize they want more of what I can offer.

* posting articles and responding to posted questions in newsgroups and on discussion lists, to do the same.

* adding more free articles and free downloads to an extensive highly educational and focused website, to educate and motivate people to do more themselves, or hire me if they can’t do it themselves.

* adding more success stories and testimonials to my portfolio, to again demonstrate and affirm.

* sending really value added email introductions to prospects, to supply them with a plan of action that leads them to hire me.

* doing 30 minute consultations by phone, learning what clients need and delivering strategic advice and one page action plan proposals by email.

* answering prospect questions as though I was already working for them.

* carefully cultivating word of mouth off prior exceptional performance.

* speaking engagements, giving workshops and training sessions for free and for fee, but only to the right targeted company or audience.

* meeting people for lunch and listening to their project needs or dreams.

* sending them one page email proposals.

* building off referrals, and speaking engagements, and seeking to leverage host beneficiary relationships.

This last one is perhaps the most crucial. As you satisfy clients, of course, you can get repeat business. If you do work for a headquarters or a home office of a company with lots of offices all over the country, your host contact can lead you directly to many other prospects. You then get to pitch them all or better still, the headquarters contact shares you and everyone in that business network then contacts you. This situation can be phenomenally beneficial. Lucrative in fact. Same thing can happen with speaking engagements at associations. The local speech or workshop travels up to the headquarters.

Once every few years I create an innovative post card and do a mailing. My most recent mailer was a one pager back-to-back. If you want to see my most recent one, send me an email message request and I’ll send you the pdf file. I was using US Mail for mailings until two years ago. Now we participate in coop mailings and use email.

Nowadays I also use a show off business card. It has a picture of me fishing. It’s a memorable experience to look at and to hold. It brands me as a distinctive writer.

I use email, short letters and one page business proposals extensively to close deals by email and phone. In fact, I have a rule which basically says that you never have a conversation with a prospect without making a customized personal proposal. It works very well.

I actually don’t need or use formal contracts at all. I just take credit cards and bill them at the time of performance. I take very few checks and only in advance if the client insists upon paying that way. Client satisfaction with this arrangement is nearly 100 percent for many years now.

I spend NO money on advertising at all and do not care about search engine placement or ad words. Clients who call me have either heard about me or find me online through research or referral. They basically have decided to hire me before they call me so I actually do very little selling.

I’ve actually found that in my business, the people who search using search engines aren’t the clients I seek to work with. Most of them don’t have the products or businesses that I enjoy and can be successful with. The people who find my site online rarely are quality clients. So search engine ranking and placement mean very little to me. I can be found very quickly if people search for me nonetheless. In fact, search on my name and you’ll see thousands of links going back 15 years.

I’ve also found that the decision to hire is based on people having convinced themselves that you offer needed value that can be acquired no where else at the costs that you present. What you need to do is just learn how to make the product or service you give remarkable and personal, unique, and phenomenally effective. You also need to learn how to communicate this to them quickly.

Do that and your business will grow consistently with everything you do. The key to enjoying yourself along the way is to simply focus on helping the people you can help the most. You also need to know when to say no to a project that is problematic and where you know won’t be able to satisfy yourself or the client. The rule should be `no unhappy clients’.

I learned this business model by studying a variety of other consultants and copywriters. This model is actually very easy to operate and fairly low cost. I incorporated a few years ago as a full C Corp to take advantage of the tax structure since the business bills over six figures a year. I pay myself a salary. I also just use QuickBooks Pro to do the day to day bookkeeping myself but do hire a professional accountant to do the taxes each year. I use the merchant credit card services offered with Quicken and it does the bookkeeping entries as it processes the credit card authorizations.

The skills I acquired to conduct my business the way I do is mostly out of books. I am a voracious reader. This is in addition to reading or skimming all the client books that come to me (Fed Ex and UPS stop here nearly every day Monday through Friday). I read at the health club, I read during the day and at night, and in front of the TV. I basically am reading (or searching and surfing the Internet) if I am not writing or on the phone.

My house is totally wireless and there are two computers on plus two laptops available for use by me and the rest of the family at all times.

I can even take my cell phone and my wireless laptop in my boat and take client calls and work while fishing along the Columbia River because of the many hot spots and homes with unsecured wireless routers along the river. It’s amazing! The technology really is wonderful these days. That makes for some very pleasant days working (yes really working) while catching salmon, steelhead and walleye! If you’ve ever called me during the day you may hear me tell you that if I get a fish on I’ll have to get off really quick, but I’ll call you back! OK, enough bragging.

I just looked over my library and I highly recommend you basically commit to reading most every business, sales and marketing book published and get whatever you can out of each and every one of them. I still probably spend $100 to $200 a month on books in this area and have for years. My wife says it takes more to keep me well read than it does to keep me well fed. I have a 25 year collection and I still refer back to them constantly.

My favorite book authors and the books I can point you to for the best answers to this question the most are:

* Harry Beckwith (everything he writes is golden including: Selling the Invisible, What Clients Love, The Invisible Touch, and his new one, You, Inc.)

* Bob Bly (again, anything he writes is worth owning. The Copywriter’s Handbook, Secrets of a Freelance Writer, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Write More, Sell More, which is still one of the best books ever written on running a writing business).

* Ralph G. Riley (The One Page Business Proposal is perhaps one of the most important books you’ll ever find. It has made me tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars).

* Dan Kennedy (The Ultimate and No B.S. series)

* Seth Godin (Purple Cow, Free Prize Inside, and Unleashing the Idea Virus)

* Mark Stephens (Your Marketing Sucks)

* Jay Abraham (Getting Everything You Can Out of All You Got)

* Dr. Jeffrey Lant (this dates me! No More Cold Calls, Cash Copy, The Unabashed Self-Promoter’s Guide, and Money Making Marketing. Good luck finding these but if you do, consider yourself lucky)

* Jeffrey Fox (How to Become a Rainmaker and How to Become a Marketing Superstar).

If you need attitude adjustment to get into the right frame of mind for running a business, then I highly recommend:

* Jack Canfield (The Success Principles)

* Napoleon Hill (Law of Success)

* Steven Scott (Mentored by a Millionaire)

* Brian Tracy (Maximum Achievement and many others)

* Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul (Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Bud Gardner)

The real trick to reading is that you have to create a written plan with the ideas that come to you.

Reading and not writing simply isn’t productive. Writing a plan of action turns the idea into something tangible. You must add in the tasks and place dates and performance measures so that you know that you have completed the task.

Knowledge is valuable but to turn a fantasy into reality you must take action and try, try, try till you actually succeed.

You need to create two independent processes:

The first is the process for creating quality work (writing) that you can get paid for.

The second is the sales process that you use to get customers and get money.

Once you create these success processes for yourself then you apply technology to get more of each done in less time, with less effort and expense.

In fact, if you do both of these enough, it all becomes second nature, much like riding a bicycle or a car.

At some point, it can even get boring. To avoid losing faith and being unhappy, you have to find your happiness in delivering whatever happiness and help you can to others.

And that is my belief in what life is all about. .It’s my definition of success:

You achieve happiness and success when you help the people you can help the most and get rich at the same time.

The bottom line is that I believe that the opportunities to be a well paid writer right now are simply phenomenal. You can specialize and focus on any one or more of hundreds of markets. The country is huge. There are 300 million people in the US. There are 30,000 towns. There are simply millions of companies all of whom can be helped again and again.

Don’t be shy. This isn’t that hard to do and you’ve got the skills. Focus and go for it.

BTW, here’s the link for the pdf file containing the story `Ripples’ from Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul, or if you want the latest flyer I used in my mailings, just send me an email request. I’ll send you the pdf files.

Hope this helps. Questions welcome!

Paul J. Krupin – Direct Contact PR
Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
800-457-8746 509-545-2707
Paul@DirectContactPR.com