1stNews from 1stBooks, June 4, 2003
1stNews from 1stBooks, June 4, 2003

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Table of Contents

Editor's Message

Major TV and broadcast journalists share 11 secrets of getting their attention, courtesy of John Kremer and the ever-helpful Book Marketing Update. And for the writing article, something different: a list of some of the best websites for writers to hang out and learn.

Finally, if you aren't already, be sure to read News From the Publishing World every issue. If you want to become an award-winning author, that column is for you. We'll even repeat some of the most important ones.

Get More PR by Doing More for the Media: Notes from the Radio TV Interview Report National Publicity Summit

By John Kremer, Editor, Book Marketing Update

Major print and broadcast journalists presented at this event. Follow their advice, and get more coverage.

1. Know the Media.
Before submitting stories, read three to six recent issues to understand the magazine's style, content and direction. For TV shows, watch several episodes (videotape them and fast forward through a week's worth of shows in an hour).

2. What's in it for the Reader?
Producers and editors want to know immediately what their readers/viewers will get out of your story. Pitch your story through their eyes. How will you entertain, inspire or educate their audience?

3. Fit Into Larger Stories.
Can you provide background information on a breaking-news story or ongoing crisis? Focus on how the content of your book ties into something bigger.

4. Do Their Job
Nona Aguilar, editor of Leadership Strategies, emphasized, "do my job for me." If you help a reporter by providing contacts or filling in gaps, you're more likely to get coverage. Freelance business writer Srikumar Rao agreed. If you give him a story on a platter, then he can write a story around your work. Rao wants to know about the things that don't work as well as what does. He likes "the dirty" on a company—or at least the names and contact information of competitors so he can incorporate both sides.

Note: All media like to appear objective, so they appreciate any help in locating people with alternate points of view. Why not provide that info in your initial pitch?

5. Be crisp
When phoning or emailing media, be short and precise with your pitch. When calling, make your key points—fast. If you want to get past articles editor Stephanie Abaranel's assistant at Woman's Day—or any busy media person—create a sense of urgency. Demonstrate why they need to talk to you right away, not three days later.

6. Move quickly.
Pat Towers, features director of O magazine: "When you have a really good idea, move quickly," before someone else pitches a similar idea.

7. Be surprising.
Again, Pat Towers: "Tell me something I don't already know." Surprise the media, and you'll get coverage. Bore them, and bite the dust. Pitch the new slant right up front. Give a startling new statistic. Report on a new survey. Tell a story that zings. But don't tell them that God told you (unfortunately, they hear that one every day).

8. Include print clips.
Sum Min, producer at 48 Hours, noted that TV people are impressed by print clips; include any articles about you or your book in your media kit.

Min noted that 48 Hours is not character driven but plot driven. That's great since we can pitch a great plot, but we can't manufacture celebrity status.

9. Answer their questions.
Claire Berman, freelance writer for Woman's Day and Family Circle, begged people to answer journalists' questions. Once you've done that, you can add your story line.

10. Be Energetic.
Gwen Gowen, field producer for ABC's 20/20, stressed being energetic and passionate during any contact with media. People who really like and believe in what they are doing make great guests.

11. Email works.
Almost every participating journalist preferred email contact—a significant change from even a few years ago. As anyone who does regular pitching knows, voicemail and other screens make it almost impossible to pitch by phone. Calls interrupt their days—but they can read email at their leisure. Plus, email is far easier and quicker to deal with than snail mail or faxes.

Condensed with permission from Book Marketing Update. For a $1 (yes, just $1!) trial offer that includes access to all back issues, visit http://www.freepublicity.com/transcript/?10012

Success Profile: Pat Mullan, author of The Circle of Sodom

From Ireland, Pat writes:

"I have done a 30 minute interview on Irish Radio. I have been reviewed by the prestigious crime author Ken Bruen (interview is posted at$1415). I am being reviewed in the next issue of our local regional magazine, Connemara Life. The Circle of Sodom is being carried in four of the local prominent bookstores: Clifden Bookshop (which did a major center window display), Joyce's, Charlie Byrne's, Keohanes. Five Hollywood producers have asked for copies of the book."

You can view Pat's book at http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/9624

News From the Publishing World

This year's winners were just announced—but it's not too early to begin thinking about awards for next year, for books published in 2003. We'll start with two of the most prestigious:

ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards
Deadline: January 15, 2004
Entry fee: $50
More details at https://www.forewordmagazine.com/photos/botya2003.pdf

Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards
Deadline: December 15, 2003
Entry fee: $100/1st entry; $50/additional entries
More details at https://www.writersdigest.com/contests/self_published.asp

And then, some we haven't run before:

The 2003 Banff Mountain Book Festival's international book competition
Deadline: June 20, 2003 (a second round, for books published after that date, closes august 15, 2003).
Entry fee: None
Categories: Mountain Literature, Mountain Image, Adventure Travel and Mountain Exposition.
More details at http://www.banffcentre.ca/mountainculture/forms

L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest
Deadline: Every quarter; next is July 1
Entry fee: None
More details at http://www.writersofthefuture.com/contest/writers/rules.htm
Misc: For science fiction, fantasy and horror with fantastic elements. Open to writers who have not had professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits.

Last but not least, a writing conference just 40 minutes from 1stBooks...

Where: The Five Seasons Country Club (1300 E. 96th Street - 96th and College area, Indianapolis, IN)
Who Will Be There: Fellow writers, editors (even some from Writers Digest!), Patrick Finnernan, a 1stBooks author will be on hand to speak about his writing journey with 1stBooks
Contact: Andy Murphy at 317/432-9804. Mention 1stBooks and receive a 50% discount on your ticket

Where Writers Hang Out on the Web

By Shel Horowitz

You could spend every waking moment on the Web, immersing yourself in the thousands of useful articles, discussions, virtual communities, market listings and more. It's overwhelming—where should you start?

These are a few of my own favorite sites for writers—all of which offer a great deal of content at no charge. This is not intended to be comprehensive or objective—just to get you started exploring. No particular order.

Midwest Book Review, http://www.midwestbookreview.com
Hundreds of resources assembled by Jim Cox, who is a frequent contributor to this newsletter. Information on book reviewing, censorship, the writing craft, and marketing.

Writing World, http://www.writing-world.com/admin1/siteindex.shtml
One of two sites that evolved out of Inkspot, one of the first and largest writing magazines on the Net, which folded a few years ago. Suffers from an excessive number of ads, but has tremendous useful content: contests, markets, craft articles, classes, and survival-as-a-writer resources (including rip-offs to avoid).

PubLaw, http://www.publaw.com/legal.html and Ivan Hoffman, http://www.ivanhoffman.com
Two well-regarded publishing attorneys share a great deal of information.

Para Publishing, http://www.parapublishing.com
From Dan Poynter, author of "The Self-Publishing Manual"—laden with information about writing, the publishing process, and vendors.

BookZone Pro, http://www.bookzonepro.com
Dozens of "from the trenches" articles on writing, publishing, and marketing.

BookMarket, http://www.bookmarket.com
Marketing and publicity-focused site for self-publishers, from John Kremer, author of "1001 Ways to Market Your Book" and frequent contributor to this newsletter.

Gropen Associates, http://www.GropenAssoc.com/gropenas.htm
Useful articles and resources about publishing from an accountant's point of view.

Writer/Client Clearing Houses, http://www.freelancewriters.com, http://www.guru.com, http://www.elance.com
Three sites that act as clearing houses between writers-for-hire and their clients.

Two sites to help you get treated fairly as a writer (both are dues-collecting membership organizations, but they also offer useful content to nonmembers): http://www.nwu.org and http://www.authorsguild.org

If you've got a favorite writer's site that was not included, drop us a suggestion. If we get enough of them, we'll run a Part 2 in a few months.

Shel Horowitz is the editor of this newsletter.

Seasonal and Topical

Father's Day
Title: Got to Go Now by Paul Colvin
Description: A father/son project featuring letters written from Europe during WWII

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