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Tips for Getting Your Book on TV

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5 P’s for getting on talk shows:

  • Pitch
  • Package
  • Preparation
  • Performance
  • Perseverance



The hook is the most important part of the pitch. You need to get the producer’s attention. Credentials don’t matter as must as the reasons why a producer might book you. Producers are looking for timely topics, personal stories and fresh angles. Your hook should be an attention-grabbing sentence that you can explain easily, as TV producers can have a short attention span.

Who do you pitch? You have to find the right people. Don’t send your book directly to the host, as they don’t read every book that they get. Send it to the producer and associate producers. It is the producer that books the show and they are the only people looking for guests. First, mail your book and then call and ask if they received your book (if you have limited resources, email the producer and then follow up with a phone call). Start locally—the smaller shows are great practice, easier to get booked and give you sound bites and credentials to put on your website.



You need a website. You will be “Googled”. On your website you need a biography, links to articles and blogs you have written, TV & radio appearances, other books that you wrote, etc.

You also need a photo that not only shows a producer what you look like, but also shows your personality. You need to smile. Producers make judgments on how you look. They have rejected people before because they look boring in their photo.



Every phone call is an audition. You need to have energy! Treat the producer like they are the host. Practice sound bites. Work on being concise, direct, to the point and memorable. Learn how to talk succinctly and get to the point. Boil down your answers. Make it easy for the producer to say “yes” to booking you.



Every contact that you make is a performance. You audition every time you have a phone conversation, send an email or meet face-to-face. Have fun and show your personality. When talking with the producers, don’t plug your book every-other sentence. They will do that for you on the show (by showing your book cover, asking you about it, etc.) and if you spend too much time plugging your book, it will turn off the producer as they will be afraid you will do that on the show. Remember, you are selling you. If they like you, then they will like your book and the audience will buy your book!



Don’t give up. It can be a long road. Keep pursuing. Change your approach and angle with each contact. Pitch more than one producer (they might cover different topics on one show). Use every method available (email, phone call, connections). Just keep going. It will be worth it!


10 Tips for Leaving Effective Voicemail Messages for Media

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Today working with the media often includes leaving voice mail messages for your contacts. The following are 10 tips to help make your messages more effective.

Tip #1: Always go for the close!

Tip #2: Never ramble. Make your pitch in 30 seconds or less!

Tip #3: Practice leaving yourself a voicemail. Cut out all of the "ummms" as you practice. If you get bored listening to yourself then you know you're in trouble. Practice your 30-second pitch until you can say it naturally and conversationally with enthusiasm and joy in your voice.


Tip #4: Always leave your phone number twice--once at the beginning and again at the end of the voicemail. Speak at a fast pace when leaving your message but slow down and speak clearly when leaving the contact information.

Tip #5: Lead with your strengths and focus on the benefits to the contact's audience. Pick one or two benefits that listeners would be able to use immediately to make their lives better. This will not be your only chance to pitch to that media contact. Believe me, more voicemails will follow.
Tip #6: With the first voice mail, always say you will email information related to your subject matter. That way, the media contact will have something in their hands with your phone number on it, which makes it easier for them to contact you.

Tip #7: Never leave more than one voicemail per day. I usually like to keep the follow-up process to once every two to three days for radio, four to five days for TV and weekly for print.

Tip #8: Keep calling to try to actually speak to the person. Ask the receptionist when the contact person will be available. Email the contact to say that you would like to call at a specified time. Then set your clock and call. And be ready with your 30-second pitch.

Tip #9: When following up on your email, never simply ask, "Did you get my email?" Always say, "I'm just following up on my email about... and go into a few exciting points about your topic. This refreshes their memory plus allows you to get another pitch in.

Tip #10:
Never leave the same voicemail twice. Always change your "message" to include another great point about why they would want you.

Your voicemail is an audition for the interview

You must capture the attention of the producer within the first 10 seconds or else your message will be deleted. Voice and tonality are key factors. If you sound monotone and boring, you will not be heard no matter what you're saying. Be excited and raise and lower the tonality of your voice, essentially mesmerizing the listener. If your voicemail is filled with enthusiasm, credentials and knowledge, the media contact will like it--and you.


Reprinted from Independent Book Publishers Association

Better Than Bookstore Signings: Party On

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Let me ask you a question: When was the last time you attended a book signing for an author you had never heard of? Last month? Last year? Last . . . oh, forget about it; it’s not important.

Except, it is. Whenever someone decides to book a string of bookstore signings, and the “signing” part of the event is truly all that they plan, I die a little bit inside. Why? Because it’s boring. Let’s face it: what’s exciting about watching another person—a stranger—write their own name, over and over again, inside countless covers?

When a publisher, an author, or a publicist arranges a bookstore signing, we publicists can secure tour media, but we can’t guarantee potential buyers will attend. So how about thinking outside the bookstore for your events? What if you viewed each signing as a full-fledged party? Don’t you get a little bit excited to hear about a party?

Here are some ideas for hosting events that can turn a book into a cause for celebration.

A Few (Tiny) Caveats

As you’ve probably guessed, this is definitely a quality-versus-quantity strategy. Planning just one party takes more time and effort than scheduling a handful of book signings, so, bottom line, you’re looking at fewer events.

Also, holding an event at a non-bookstore location might require a little more legwork on your part, and that of the venue, to get books on hand for buyers, whereas regular bookstores are accustomed to stocking their shelves with a title right before its event.

And finally, planning a book party is a little like planning a mini-wedding: It’s easy to get carried away and start sweating the details. What if my helpers are late? What if my guests don’t like these hors d’oeuvres? What if disaster strikes?

But don’t worry—these concerns are manageable, and the measurable upsides compensate for any additional stress they entail. You’ll have fewer events, but each will be magical. You’ll work a little harder on book-order logistics the first time, but then you’ll have the new knowledge forever in your mental files.

The Setting

When selecting a non-bookstore venue for your party, first take a look at your book. One of our authors wrote a guidebook about shopping at a regional, chic antique fair, so she held her event at an upscale home furnishings store. A memoirist who wrote a book about a year she spent in Italy threw her book-launch party at a mom-and-pop Italian restaurant in her hometown.

Here are some other examples of book types paired with party locations:

• cookbook: a farmer’s market
• historical fiction: the site where the story takes place (if possible) or a
theme-appropriate museum
• faith: a Church
• alternative health: a private room inside a Whole Foods Market or other
natural foods store

As you can see, the key here is honing in on the main theme of a book—or even one of its distinctive plot points or subsidiary themes, and imagining where the people inside the story would hang out. If that doesn’t work, think about your readership: Is it mostly males or females? What age bracket? Where do these folks go for fun? Deductive reasoning like this will help you land on a productive spot.

The Entertainment

Like the setting, the entertainment for your book party will largely be dictated by the book’s subject matter. But it doesn’t have to be limited by that. Here are the entertainment elements that the most successful book parties seem to have in common:

• free-flowing foot traffic (set out just a few chairs to create a cocktail party feel, or
lose them entirely)
• unusual hors d’oeuvres or some other offbeat food item (more on that in a minute).

The two examples may be worrying you a little bit. Drinks? Food? How do I pay for that? You don’t, if you play your cards right. The key is finding local sponsors. If you or you and your publicist are working hard to get recognition for this event, you may attract hundreds—even potentially thousands—of people who will see your sponsors in the press and/or on various social media channels. That’s free publicity for those businesses.

Here’s what we do to find them:


  • Research all our local restaurants and/or bakeries.
  • Find out who is the marketing director at each.
  • Send the marketing director a note at least a month and a half before the party, explaining the event and how we’d love to help them get some exposure from it.
  • Finally, we ask: “How can we work together?”


The goal in these situations is always to have the business trade product for the free publicity you’re offering.

Let me give you an example: A wonderful Austin author, Jennifer Ross, recently published a novel called The Icing on the Cupcake. She and her publicists contacted a local distillery, which offered to serve a “cupcake-themed” cocktail at the party. Not only did that unique detail help secure abundant media for the event, it also drew lots of attendees—and had people talking about how delicious the drinks were.

Parties like these are a win-win for everybody: Your guests get free drinks; you get more attendees at your event; those people leave talking about how fantastic the drinks and/or the food was. Isn’t it a beautiful formula?

Extra Goodies

Small, special touches can make a big difference. Remember that cupcake party I was telling you about? The author/publicity team invited everybody to bring homemade sweets to the event to enter in a cupcake contest, held at the party site and judged by both restaurateurs and regular guests. Ingenious.

Here are some other clever ideas:

Goody bags. Encourage early arrivals by putting together goody bags for the first 10—50 people who show up. What to put inside the bags? Research local businesses, find out who the marketing directors are, and ask if they’d be up for donating products for free publicity. Then distribute all your donations among the bags.

Prizes. You can hold a contest like the one for cupcakes, or simply offer door prizes. One author who wrote a book about gardening got local businesses to donate seed packets, gardening kits, and potted plants to her event. She then gave away tickets at the door, and winners walked away with plantable fun.

On-site activities
. An amazing local business here in Austin called The WonderCraft is made up of four arts and crafts teachers and an Airstream trailer. Inside the trailer (named “Stella”), the teachers conduct craft classes and sell craft kits. An author here in town who wrote a colorful guide on knitting/stitching projects booked The WonderCraft for her party, and had the proprietors design a simple stitching project guests could sit down and make right there.

As you can see, there is no end to how special and one-of-a-kind your book party can be. True, it does require an adventurous spirit, but these parties can make people happy, and happy people are book-buying people.

Tolly Moseley is a publicist with PR By the Book, LLC. She reports that she has worked in media and publicity for more than 10 years, that a version of this article appeared in the San Francisco Book Review, and that she enjoys helping authors and publishers plan events, no matter how wacky.



Color Your Way to a Best-Seller

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"Do your darndest in an ostentatious manner all the time," advised General George S. Patton. It's advice that can be applied to the business of selling books. Maybe the word "ostentatious" is a little strong; but if we want to be successful as booksellers, we must have our books (and ourselves) stand out from the rest of the pack. The use of color is an inexpensive way to help ourselves achieve that goal. Here are three "colorful" suggestions:

1. Order some self-stick labels in bright colors

to be used in a variety of ways. When my first mystery book was published, I ordered bright-colored address labels to put on the envelopes of my correspondence. The first two lines read as follows: Gail E. Farrelly; Author of BEANED IN BOSTON. My address was on the last two lines. It really helped to create a buzz. Friends, relatives, neighbors-even the mailman-wanted to know all the details about Beaned. These address labels can also be used on envelopes to the bill collectors. Why not let the people from the phone company know about your books?


2. Handouts on colored paper, rather than white, may be quite effective

. Whenever I make presentations at libraries, bookstores, or conventions, I always provide at least one handout for the audience. I do this for two reasons: (1) To be helpful and provide the audience with some information; and (2) To ensure that everyone has my name, the name of my book, and author contact information-should this be needed (and I hope it will be) in the future.

For example, I recently gave a talk at the Bronxville, New York Library and provided four handouts. Two of them gave some general information for people interested in the mystery genre: names, addresses, and phone numbers for mystery bookstores in New York City as well as for the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime; names of two mystery magazines; and some information about Bouchercon, an international mystery conference to be held in Philadelphia in October of 1998. The other two handouts were copies of op-ed pieces that I had recently published. Each handout was a different pastel color. The variety of colors helped to brighten up the "presentation" table and also made it easier for the attendees to check whether they had all four handouts.

3. Order full color flyers, postcards and business cards.

Brand recognition is a very successful marketing tactic. You can apply the same principal to your book. Put your book cover on everything. The more people see your book, the more they remember it and the more likely they are to recognize it when they see it for sale. They might not remember how the flyer or postcard told them that this book was exactly what they needed, but they will remember what it looks like and hopefully be compelled to purchase it.

When I was a kid, coloring was one of my favorite activities. Now I'm doing a different kind of "coloring." But as you can see, I still love to color!

Gail E. Farrelly is an associate professor of accounting at Rutgers University in Newark and the author of the mystery novel, "Beaned in Boston," named to the 1997 Washington Irving Book Selection List. The sequel, "Duped by Derivatives," was published in 2000.

Reprinted from Independent Book Publishers Association



How to Find Potential Buyers in Special Markets

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If you want to sell 10,000 copies of a book through a bookstore, you must get roughly 10,000 people to go there and buy it. If you want to sell 10,000 copies in non-bookstore markets, you can find one person to buy them.

The first step in making large-quantity sales is identifying prospects—companies that may want to buy your books and people in the companies who are the right contacts.

Miners searching for gold prospect where the gold is most likely to be found. Follow their example by narrowing down your likely buyers as much as possible. Define your target readers and list the benefits your content provides to them. Divide targeted readers into groups with similar needs, and then search for the names of potential customers in each segment.

Prospecting Tools


You can prospect in person or indirectly, since there are techniques to fit any personality. Here are some of the most widely used ways to find the names of potential customers.

Networking. Linking from people you know to people they know expands your base of prospects. Network online using linkedin.com to identify people who can connect you to target companies and key individuals.

Trade shows. You can find a list of conventions for your target markets at biztradeshows.com. You do not have to exhibit at them, but attend as many as possible to learn about the industry and to talk with the exhibitors and attendees who may be potential customers.

Advertising. Ads can generate leads, and the cost can be zero if, for example, you arrange for a relevant association to use an excerpt from your book in its newsletter in exchange for free advertising space.

When considering paid advertising, evaluate each medium on its cost-per-thousand (CPM) and its ability to reach the readers who will be most responsive to your book.

Associations. To find other prospecting opportunities that associations offer, search their Web sites and contact membership chairs (executive directors usually redirect you to the proper chairperson) about using your book as a fundraiser or a premium to increase membership.

Explore weddles.com/associations/index.cfm for associations related to your topic, and look for the bookstore manager, program director, or meeting planner who might hire you to speak to the association or become its spokesperson.

A database of more than 85,000 nonprofit organizations is accessible at guidestar.org.

“Expert pull.” Get prospects to come to you by increasing your visibility and reputation as the expert in your field. Stimulate word-of-mouth communication through personal presentations, by publishing articles, and by blogging on your subject.

The publicity you get from winning awards or getting positive reviews can stimulate attention among potential buyers too. These honors also give you credibility when you make your telephone pitches (see below).

Businesses. The many sources of leads for corporate prospects include annual reports and Web sites. You can search using the NAICS (formerly SIC) database (census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html), which classifies companies by the type of products or services they offer.

Access to the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers is free at thomasregister.com. And you can also discover information about corporations at hoovers.com.

Remember that people read both fiction and nonfiction while traveling and vacationing. And search for potential buyers at hotels; cruise ship, passenger train, and bus tour companies; as well as travel agencies, airlines, limousine services, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, and the like, as appropriate for your title. Suggest your book as a premium or gift to be given to people for doing business with one of these companies.

Newspapers. Explore usnpl.com, a free directory of newspapers worldwide with links to many newspapers’ Web pages. Read articles for names of companies and individuals who could be prospects.

The Web.  For a free device that searches all search engines and eliminates duplicate sites, go to copernic.com. Also join forums and discussion groups to increase your visibility and extend your reputation as the expert in your field.

Postcards, letters, and email. List brokers such as USAData (usadata.com) sell lists of consumers, , businesses, new homeowners, physicians, accountants, boat owners, churches, insurance agents, new parents, voters, and many more. All these lists may be segmented in a variety of ways.

Customer referrals. Ask your customers for the names of potential buyers who could use your book as a promotional tool.

Trade magazines. Become more familiar with your target industry or industries by reading the articles in trade magazines and studying the ads for names of companies that could be prospects. Write for the magazine(s) to boost expert pull.

Links to major magazines in the United States are available at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_magazines.

Webinars and seminars. The key to a success here is an inexpensive way to offer a solution to a problem that your target market really wants to solve. Costs for in-person seminars include room rental, refreshments, audiovisual equipment, and promotion. Teleseminars are less expensive, the only costs being conference phone line rental and promotion. Your Webinars can be successful prospecting tools if you attract people who will be prospects for big special sales.

Your Web site content. Build a prospecting element into your Web site. Along with benefit-laden descriptions of your titles and a catalog that is easy to download, you need a Contact link that appears on every page. Gather names of visitors by offering something free. Add links so people can call or email you, and reply to them quickly.

Next Steps


At this point you have lists of names, but some people on your lists will be more interested in your content than others. And no matter how interested they are, some will not be able to purchase your books in large quantities because, for example, they are already using competitive titles, they have no budget to buy items as premiums or for similar purposes, or they recently concluded a promotional campaign and another one won’t interest them for a while.

Go through your lists to disqualify those who cannot buy, and then rate the remaining prospects according to their ability to purchase your books, ranking them in descending order.

Once you have ranked your prospects, the telephone may be your most productive prospecting tool. Write a script to guide you through your calls. The script should not be something you read word for word. It should be a list of points for you to bring up, arranged in chronological order, with questions you can ask to get and keep the prospect involved in the call and lead the conversation toward its logical conclusion.

Start by identifying yourself and explaining quickly why you are calling, and always check to make sure you have called at a convenient time.

In most cases your telephone calls will be answered by voicemail. The likelihood of you getting a return call is directly proportional to the quality of the message you leave. Create a 20-second voicemail message

that includes your name, a brief attention-getting statement about why you are calling, the reason it will benefit the recipient to return your call, your contact information, and the best time to call you.

Prospecting for new business is like exercising. It is good for you, and it will produce positive results if you do it routinely, preferably every day. It takes time, but a sales pipeline always filled with potential customers can mean positive revenue flow for the foreseeable future.

Of course, finding prospects is only the beginning. Now you must convert your leads into customers. The remaining articles in this series will show you how to do that.

Written by Brian Jud. Used with permission from IBPA.


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