About Joan Stewart

Publicity expert Joan Stewart, a PR mentor aka The Publicity Hound, works with small business owners who need free publicity, and with PR pros who tell their clients' stories to the world. She shows you how to establish your credibility, enhance your reputation, position yourself as an expert, and sell more products and services. To receive her free DIY publicity tips twice a week, subscribe here. See all the ways you can work with Joan. Or contact her and ask a burning question about PR, self-promotion or social media.

19 ways Google+ Communities can help grow your business

Google+ Communities logoOf all the social media sites you are on to grow your business, Google+ can give you the fastest traction possible.

No longer the ghost town it was proclaimed to be two years ago when it started, Google+ now has more than 300 million active users, many of whom are your customers or people in your target market.

Do you really want your competitors, who are also on Google+, to catch their attention before you do? 

Google-certified business coach BL Ochman, who teaches Google+ strategy to big PR firms and solopreneurs, will share tips on How to Use Google+ Communities to Connect with Influential People during a webinar from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, April 17. Register here

Google+ Communities are teeming with important business leaders, experts and influential industry leaders. In many ways,  Communities are far more powerful than LinkedIn groups. Here are 19 ways Google+ communities can help you grow your business. 

 

Better Results in Google Search

1. Google indexes your content shared in public Communities and elsewhere on Google+ almost immediately, which means it shows up in search results within minutes.

2. Because Google’s new search algorithm favors it, content on Google+, including within public Communities, dominates Google search more than other social network including Twitter, Quora, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

3. If you have created Google Authorship and linked your Google+ profile to content you create, your thumbnail-size avatar will often show up in search results and be the only avatar on the page. It will call attention to your content and make it more credible. This includes content shared in public Google+ Communities. 

Brian Clark

4.  Unlike Faceboook, you don’t have to pay to have content you’ve shared in public Communities and elsewhere on Google+ pushed out to your followers. 

 

Promote Your Expertise

5. You can promote your expertise from your Google+ hovercard, the little card that pops up when someone hovers their cursor over your name.  People in an industry-specific Community with you can click on your name and immediately determine whether you’re someone with whom they need to connect.  See this handy guide on How to Create an Impressive Google Hovercard in 7 Easy Steps.

Google Plus -- Stephan Hovnavian

 

6. You can add the +1 button to content on your website or blog, thus encouraging people to share it with others in one of more of their Communities.

7. You can  promote your expertise in your Google+ profile which you must create before joining Google+. Within Communities, you can also include many links to other social sites or places you want people to visit so they can follow you, or learn more about you and how you can help them.

8. You can answer questions, share helpful content, offer links and solve problems posed by people within your industry-specific Communities. This is a fabulous way to build a huge following.

9. You can build customer loyalty by encouraging people to join a Community you have created, or one you’re in, and answer questions about things they need to  know more about.

10. If you’re a brand, you can join Communities and talk with prospects in your target market.

 

Connect with Influential People

11. You can mention influential people in a post and they’ll see it, even if you are not in one of their circles.

12. They’ll know when you’ve commented on their content.

13. You can start a conversation with them or ask them questions within Communities.

14. If people say “yes” or “maybe” to your event invitation, it is automatically added to their Google calendar and they are reminded of the event several times.

15. You can share a post in a Community in which you both are members.

16. If you see they have tagged a photo, comment on it.  

Caution: Don’t spam. If you do, you will be banned from the Community. 

 

To Become Smarter Faster

17. In Communities, you can learn more about the things you are passionate about, either personally or professionally by directing questions to specific people.

18. You can take advantage of Hangouts which can be run from within a Google+ Community, with Hangout invitations sent to all members. Many experts are hosting free Hangouts on topics that interest their target market. You can, too.  

19. Facing a business dilemma, like a printer you can’t fix or a bank that’s giving you problems with your merchant account? Join a Community that covers the issue and throw out the question. People  will be glad to help you.

 

Join Us in the Hangout

Convinced yet?

This webinar will be presented as a Google Hangout. If you’re unfamiliar with the technology, don’t worry. You do not currently have to be using Google+.  

After you register, you will get an email with instructions on three ways to participate. If you can’t attend because the time is inconvenient, register anyway. I’m sending a link to the video replay and the bonuses within 48 hours.

I’ll see you Thursday, or somewhere within Google+ communities. Be sure to connect with me. 

9 things a corporate sponsor can help you promote

Brendon Burchard--9 things Canva poster2

It took two years, but author Brendon Burchard finally figured out how to partner with corporate or nonprofit sponsors and tap into their huge marketing budgets, giant email lists, consumer research, marketing staffs and their easily recognizable names.

He says you can, too, and he’s going to share his tips during a free teleseminar tomorrow—Thursday, April 10—at 2 and 7 p.m. Eastern Time.  It’s called “How to Get Major Companies And Nonprofits To Sponsor The Promotion of Your Book, Product or Service.” Register here.

Burchard says there are nine things that major sponsors can help you promote to millions of people, while also paying for your PR campaign (PR people and publicists, share these with your clients):


1. Live events. 

This is perfect for professional speakers and trainers. And the event doesn’t have to be big. Burchard knows a corporate sponsor who came through with $300,000 to promote an event that pulled only 14 people, and was a success.


2. Educational programs.

Let’s say you’re an expert in finance, and you want to to each children and teens how to save money and be smart shoppers. The best way to do that is to get into schools. And the easiest way to do that is to partner with a company or nonprofit that already has contacts within lots of schools.


3. Corporate programs.

You’ve created an innovative program that’s perfect for CEOs and others in the executive suite. Let’s say it’s on the topic of ethics. Major companies and nonprofits would LOVE to partner with you and spread the word to their audiences because it shows they’re good corporate citizens. They already have the connections, the database and the inside track on other organizations and audiences that would welcome you. And when it comes to marketing, they’ll do all the heavy lifting for you!


4. Product launches.

You might have a new book or video series that’s perfect for staff members at nonprofits all over the world. And a big nonprofit might love let their branches and field offices know about it. You have the how-to info, and they have a huge, ready audience.


5. Contests and sweepstakes.

For a really successful contest, you need big prizes. And who better to give them to you for free than companies like hotels that offer free rooms, and airlines that can supply free tickets? Burchard arranged a deal like that and gave the winner of one of his sweepstakes a trip around the world.
 

6. A website launch.

If you’re going to build an online community, big partners can help you drive traffic, give you products that you can give away, and provide “borrowed credibility” that will make you look more reputable when visitors see their logos on your website.
 

7. Services.

This is perfect for life coaches, or anyone who provides services for those in need. During Hurricane Katrina, a major corporation paid the tab to send life coaches to New Orleans to work with hurricane victims and help them get their lives back on track. The “Doctors Without Borders” program is another example of a successful program made possible through corporate partners.
 

8. Causes.

If you can help worthy causes like disadvantaged youth, battered women or cancer survivors, there’s probably a Fortune 500 company or global nonprofit that would love to give you its stamp of approval, a budget to help, and their logo to use in your PR campaign, particularly if they care deeply about social responsibility.
 

9. Tours.

You might be a rock band that wants to do a major tour but can’t afford it. Or an author who wants to tour the country to promote your new book. Burchard recruited enough sponsors to pay for a 41-city tour to promote his book, Life’s Golden Ticket.

Now that you know just some of the possibilities, learn other techniques for recruiting sponsors and partners. Attend the free teleseminar at 2 and 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 10 and listen as Steve Harrison interviews Burchard about other things you can do to follow in his footsteps. Register here. Even though the teleseminar is free, I’m a compensated affiliate and I’m promoting this because it offers opportunities galore for Publicity Hounds who have a message to share.  

Like these tips? Your Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter followers will, too! 

Book signing pushes author’s book to top of best-sellers list

Gail Mencini headshot

By Gail Mencini

The Boys of Summer are on the field. The smell of hot dogs, beer and peanuts waft through stadiums. The sound of the crack of a bat and cheers of the home team crowd resound.

What does that have to do with being an author?

Everything.

Imagine the new baseball rookie in his first at bat. He stands at the plate, nervous and excited. The pitcher tries to stare him down.

The pitch fires at him, but he knows to let the first one pass without swinging—wide outside. Ball one. The second pitch comes quick and fast and straight over the plate. He swings. It’s a homerun!

What kind of publicity will follow that game in which the rookie’s first at bat is a home run?

Exactly.

Here’s a tip: Writing a book is not Field of Dreams.

You cannot write a book and expect the readers and buyers to come.

Are you a proven New York Times bestseller? No? How about a big name in politics or the entertainment industry? Not that, either. Maybe you’re a keynote speaker at national conferences, or the inventor of the next greatest thing.

No, no and no.

But you are an author of a well-written, engaging book produced with quality at least equal to that of the New York Times best selling books.

Odds are, whoever published your book—a large publisher, a mid-sized company, or small press—will not throw marketing dollars in your direction. This levels the playing field for authors who are independently published compared to those published by someone else.

 
How to Hit a Home Run

How do you turn this …

 

Gail Mencini in bookstore

           

 Into this?

 

Gail Mencini best seller in Denver Post 

Partnering with your local bookstore and having an event there is a great start.

Why?

Cover of To Tuscany with Love

Credibility. You’re the real deal—an author with a bookstore signing.

To Tuscany with Love is an adult coming-of-age novel set in central Italy. Eight college students come together with sizzling chemistry and rebellious humor during one whirlwind summer in Tuscany. While  uncovering the charms of Italy, they discover both friendship and love.

I have to confess, I was honored, excited and downright thrilled to see that big bookcase in the Tattered Cover bookstore filled with copies my novel, face out at the front of the store. Even better, that bookcase was there for all to see for the six days preceding my reading and signing event!

 

What were key components of getting To Tuscany with Love stocked by the Tattered Cover?

  • The book has wide distribution, including Ingram and Baker & Taylor
  • It is fully returnable by bookstores
  • It carries standard industry discounts to bookstores
  • It has an eye-catching cover
  • It is well-written and has broad appeal
  • I made a personal appeal to them

Did I do anything to make my signing a special event? Of course!

 

Little Extras and Big Benefits 

After clearing it with the bookstore, I brought food—Italian Amaretti Cookies (homemade by me), a bouquet of sunflowers for the cookie table, bookmarks and business cards. I made dozens of cookies, and left the remaining cookies for the staff of the Tattered Cover Bookstore to enjoy.

What other benefits are there to a bookstore event?

You’ll sell books, always a good thing.

What happens when you sell books (other than make royalties or profits)?

You’ll have sales stats, if they are large enough, that other stores or the big chains might notice.

You have an event to crow about on social media—Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, even Pinterest, and Google+—before and after the event.

 

Tips for Filling the Bookstore

How do you turn it into a success? It’s not hard to figure out.

Get book-buying people to fill the seats. The staff at the bookstore for my event had to bring out extra chairs, and then more people came and soon were standing in the back!

Yes, that means reaching out to your friends, neighbors, hairdresser or barber, cousins, book club, bunko, or tennis club friends, parents of your children’s friends, and anyone you can get them to bring along. Oh, what’s that? They already came and bought books at your launch party? Can they come again? If not, you need to find more people.

Tell everyone you know. Send out postcards and emails. Call friends to remind them.

Hope the weather’s good, but not too good, that night.

Last?

Plan your talk. Respect the fact that someone may bring their young child or mother, and attempt to have your words resonate to a wide audience. You have a responsibility to make it an entertaining night for your friends that attend the event.

Be gracious.

You created something wonderful and found a way to share it with the world. Have fun!

Afterward? Thank your bookseller host.

 Then, take a short break and relax. Maybe even go to a baseball game.

 *     *     * 

Gail Mencini is the award-winning and best-selling author of To Tuscany with Love, the first book in her Tuscany series. It’s available on Amazon.com and at the Tattered Cover. Connect with Gail through her website, GailMencini.com. She shares recipes and anything Italian on her Facebook page. You can also follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Develop a crowdfunding marketing plan for your book

Typewriter Showing Paper with Crowdfunding Message: Because, Sometimes, It Takes a Village

 

By Justine Schofield

Crowdfunding is a way to raise funds for any creative project or business venture from a large group of people, typically via the Internet.

Reward-based crowdfunding is a system in which the project creator offers rewards at various support levels ($1, $10, $25, $100, etc.) in exchange for the supporter’s financial pledge to their project. The higher the dollar amount pledged, the more the supporter gets in return.

The project creator also sets a funding goal that they must meet in order to receive the money they raise. On some crowdfunding sites, if they don’t meet the goal, then none of their supporters are charged and they don’t receive any of the funds.

 

More Than $5 Billion Raised

Crowdfunding raised $5.1 billion at the close of 2013, up from $2.66 billion in 2012 and $1.47 billion in 2011. In 2013, 74 million people worldwide participated in crowdfunding, and that number is expected to hit 362 million people in 2014. As you can see, crowdfunding is a fast-growing industry and will only continue to flourish.

It’s becoming an increasingly popular way for authors to mitigate the financial risk of self-publishing and gauge the initial market for their book. As we all know, publishing costs can add up quickly. If an author is choosing to self-publish, all the financial burden and risk falls on the author. Crowdfunding provides a way for authors who are publishing to raise funds that can help cover publishing costs before they have to dig into their own pockets.

Also, the reward-based model provides a unique advantage to authors because they can offer their book as a reward, which allows them to collect pre-orders during the crowdfunding process.

Crowdfunding is a tool for those who know how to successfully market themselves and their book. Finding success in the crowded book publishing market can be tough. Let’s take a look at what’s needed to be successful with crowdfunding.

 

It Takes Hard Work

The most important thing to know: It requires a lot of hard work, motivation and determination. Although it would be nice, it’s unrealistic to think people will flock to support your crowdfunding campaign. Unless you’re of Oprah-like status, the odds of being successful without putting in any effort are not in your favor. Conducting a successful campaign can be very time-consuming, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it’s completely worth it.

Another thing many people don’t realize: a lot of work is required before you launch the campaign. Since crowdfunding campaigns are time sensitive (most last 30-60 days), developing a marketing plan is the first step to help you hit the ground running and keep up momentum throughout.

 

Key Points in a Marketing Plan

Your plan will serve as a starting point and keep you on track. Here’s a look at the basics of a successful marketing plan for crowdfunding:

  • A list of bloggers and crowdfunding advocates who could help spread the word about your campaign. You should reach out to these people before the campaign begins. Be sure to let them know what makes your book unique and why they should help you market your campaign.
  • A list of go-to people (parents, siblings, best friends…you get the idea) to reach out to pre-campaign. Ask them to pledge their support as soon as your campaign launches. Securing some funds in the first few hours will provide more incentive for others to support. People are much less likely to contribute to a campaign at $0.
  • A list of other people in your network you plan to ask to support your campaign after you receive your “cushion” funds. Decide how you will reach out to each person, whether it’s via email, social media, or a good old-fashioned telephone call. Remember, personalization is key when you’re reaching out to your own network. 
  • Determine the point in your campaign when you will follow up with people who said they would support, but have yet to do so. Sometimes people feel they have plenty of time to support and end up missing the deadline. A friendly reminder towards the end of your campaign is important for the procrastinators.
  • Create or attend an event to promote your book and your campaign. Attending local readings or other places where writers and readers gather could help spread the word organically.
  • Research local book clubs that may be interested in your book and offer them a deal. (Check out Kim Hruba’s campaign for Elevator Girl to see how she used book clubs to create her reward levels.)
  • Make sure to research and follow up with all organizations and businesses that may be interested in your book. If your book has a niche, there’s a good chance there is a market just waiting for you to tap into. Using rewards to entice these types of larger groups will help you raise the most funds.

As you can see from the preliminary marketing plan, there’s a lot of researching, planning, reaching out, and following up involved in crowdfunding. Don’t get overwhelmed: dividing your plan into weekly goals will make the large task much more manageable.

Crowdfunding also provides a great opportunity for all types of literary projects, from events to app ideas. 

*     *     * 


Justine Schofield of Pubslush, crowdfunding expertyJustine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform only for books. Authors can raise funds and gauge initial market viability for their book projects. Justine specializes in social media and public relations and in the past she has worked with growing companies to develop their online presence. She has become a prominent industry voice for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding, and her work has been featured on many online publications. She tweets for @pubslush
Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Editor’s Note: Pubslush was mentioned prominently in The Publicity Hound’s webinar Crowdfunding: How to Use Other People’s Money for Your Book or Project with Judith Briles. 

 

 

Help me choose a slogan, get a $10 coupon and a crack at $100

Publicity Hound LogoSlogans, also referred to as taglines, should tell people immediately what you do and how you can help them.

A clever slogan that accomplishes that is even better. But if it’s too clever, it can confuse them.

That’s the dilemma I’m facing while tweaking my current logo above. I paid a graphic designer about $30 to create it 15 years ago, using a piece of free clip art.

There’s no better time than now, I figured, to consider a new slogan.

A few months ago, I paid $100 to Slogan Slingers, the service that lets freelancers compete for the $100 prize by writing slogans according to the criteria you outline. I received 169 entries but was disappointed with most of them because they concentrated too much on the dog theme and not enough on the topic of publicity.

I sorted through them all and chose the best dozen. There isn’t one that jumps out at me.

If you help me by completing a one-question survey that will take you less than two minutes, I’ll send you a coupon code good for $10 off the price of anything you order in the next two weeks. Tell me:

  • Which slogan you like best
  • If you think I should keep my current slogan
  • If you have a better one. If your slogan knocks the socks off my paws, you win $100 plus the $10 coupon.

When I see that you’ve completed the survey, I’ll send the coupon code, within 24 hours, so you can order any products you wish.

Thanks for helping. I promise to report back on what I’ve decided.

Take the survey here

Newsjacking: A tempting bone for the media, even when you have no news

The Secret to Getting the StoryBy Roshanda E. Pratt

There is always a story to be told. The key is to know how to tell the story in a way to draw the media into calling and chasing you down.

As a former television news producer for 10 years, my main responsibility was to gather and communicate stories in bite-sized pieces that my audience could understand. I worked closely with reporters on crafting stories that impacted the community, raised awareness, solved problems, revealed problems and yes, even made people laugh.

Most often, when watching the media, it appears crime stories dominate the newscast. However, producers are looking for something new, a twist on an old story.

The process is called newsjacking. It’s a term coined by marketing strategist David Meerman Scott in which “you inject ideas or angles into breaking news, in real time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business.”

This kind of “piggybacking” is a producer’s dream when done correctly. So how do you newsjack?

How to Newsjack

It begins with thinking like a producer.

For example, winter weather has really gripped the U.S., crippling transportation, school and work. If you are a children’s author or Mompreneur, you could reach out to the media and offer tips to beat cabin fever with the kids. This idea takes the story outside of the scope of covering delayed flights, icy roads and power outages. You are now solving a problem.

When you piggyback a news story on a national level, it is important that your pitch affects an overwhelming majority.

Recently I used this concept for a local radio show. I pitched the host on three things we can all learn from Beyonce Knowles’ album release via social media. The host loved the idea mainly because it was the “talker” story of the week. I was booked instantly.

Once I arrived to the station, I was asked to also share my opinions in two other segments. Awesome!

The media love how-to tips, statistics and facts to showcase your perspective. Your pitch can include three bullet points or tips. Also, provide any media such as videos or pictures.

The overall feel of the pitch should be outcomes, focused on values and not just selling. Think of yourself as the “Producer” for your segment. Producers appreciate people who are helpful and not overbearing.

Tips for Becoming Part of the Story 

So how can Publicity Hounds become part of the story?

1. Be quick.

Follow the news closely, act fast to create content about what is going on. News stories have a short shelf life, so time is of the essence.

2. Be simple.

Make how-to points short and sweet. Remember the rule of 3′s: three points which are easy for people to remember. Consider using an acronym. If you decided to use social media, piggyback off the news outlet’s platform.

3. Be relevant.

Whatever story you are newsjacking, be sure the news is related somehow to your brand, or find a way to relate the news to your brand.

The main object is not to look at this moment as your “Fifteen Minutes of Fame.” Your media plan is not purely to be famous but to be relevant. When you share important information, you will always be in demand.

Meet Your Media

If you have not already done so, consider connecting with your local and national broadcasters via social media. You’d be surprise to know how many broadcasters put out queries for sources on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

My rule of thumb: Observe where the media contact you are reaching out to primarily communicates. If it is social media, then send your pitch. If you usually have found communication works better via email, use that method.

If you are going to have a follow-up call, be mindful of deadlines. Do not call an hour before showtime.

Henry David Thoreau says, “Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still.” You know best what your “bone” is—what you are passionate about.

Make sure that in all your media efforts, passion is communicated in your connection with the media and in your pitch. If you do that, you will never be hungry for publicity.

*     *     *

Roshanda Pratt, Publicity Hound blog contributorRoshanda E. Pratt, is the founder of REP Communications Network, a media and marketing consulting business dedicated to partnering with businesses  to build their (REP)utation on air and online to captivate and influence their audience.  Over the course of a decade as a television news producer, Roshanda lived her dream covering breaking news, hurricanes, politics, 9-11 and the War on Terror. As a Media Messenger and Marketing Strategist, Roshanda shares what she has learned on the front lines of the news business. She creates brand messaging for corporations, nationally published authors, singers and local non-profits. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Author U Extravaganza: $100 off registration and other ways to save

 

Become Seriously Successful at Book Publishing by Registering Here

 

Here’s a fun video I created to whet your appetite for the Author U Extravaganza in Denver May 1-3.

This is the Number One event for authors and publishers because it’s big enough to attract a terrific lineup of speaker experts and publishing stars, but not so overwhelming that you get lost in the crowd. This is my third year as a presenter, and I’ve met other speakers and authors who have become joint venture partners on a variety of projects and products.

3 Ways to Save

1. Click here (affiliate link) to register and save $100 off the Friday-Saturday registration. But only if you use the coupon cod AUEX100.

2. Book airfare to Denver right now. It’s dirt cheap, even from cities like Boston.

3.  There’s a special room rate of $119 per night (includes wifi) at the Hyatty Regency, Denver Tech Center, but only until April 9.  Reserve a room here and enter the rate code: G-5AUT or call 1-888-421-1442 and ask for the AuthorU rate.

Have you been to the Extravaganza? What’s the Number One reason other authors should attend? What do you like best about it? Are you going this year? The Comments section awaits….

5 tips for getting fiction or nonfiction books into Costco, Walmart, Target

Costco store where author has a book signingA quick trip down the aisles of your local Costco might leave you wondering how—or if—you could ever get your book onto the store’s shelves.

Most of the books I saw at my local Costco in Grafton, Wisc., yesterday have “New York Times Best Seller” on the top of the cover.

That makes sense. Competition for shelf space is fierce, and those big chains only want titles that they’re convinced will sell.

A quick peek inside the covers showed that most of the books were published by one of the big publishing houses or their imprints.

But what about Anatomy of Muscle Building by Craig Ramsay? The beautiful artwork on the cover caught my eye. The oversized paperback was published by Firefly, a small press out of Ontario, Canada. The book had only six reviews on Amazon.

How do books like that one compete with those in the Big Leagues?

On the Publishing at Sea cruise in January, New Shelves book distributor Amy Collins, one of my co-hosts, did four presentations on book distribution. I was fascinated when I heard her say that, with persistence and hard work, indie authors can get their books into the giant chains as well as into supermarkets and airport bookstores.

She’ll be my guest on a webinar I’m hosting from noon to 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, March 20, on How to Convince Costco, Walmart, Target and Other Huge Chains to Sell Your Books. UPDATE: The video replay and bonuses are available here. 

Here are five of the dozens of tips she will share:

 

1. Local authors can get special attention.

At my local Costco, an endcap in the books section prominently displays books by two Wisconsin celebrities—Gov. Scott Walker and former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver.

You might find those books in Costco stores in New York or California. But I bet you won’t find Food Lovers’ Guide to Wisconsin: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings by Martin Hintz and Pam Percy. 

The book has only one review on Amazon—just one! But this isn’t Amazon. It’s Costco. And foodies in these parts would snap up a book like that because it’s about local restaurants and food festivals.

So while your book might not make it into all the Costcos nationwide, it might make it into the stores near you, especially if the fiction or nonfiction title pertains to your area.

 

2. The cover of your book must be perfect.

If you enlisted your cousin Sue to design your cover, chances are pretty good you won’t make it into any of the big stores.

Why? Because Sue most likely knows nothing about book distribution. She doesn’t know what makes a winning cover. Even if she had to guess, she’d probably be wrong because the elements of a perfect cover this year for a particular genre might be very different than what they were last year.

In other words, your cover needs to look very much like the covers of all the other books in its genre. If the cover passes the first test, it then must pass two more tests before the buyer opens the book to see what’s inside!

 

3. You can convince a store to carry your book even if it carries similar titles.

When I was at Costco yesterday, I saw two books on gluten-free food.

Why two books and not one? Because the best-seller Grain Drain by David Perlmutter delves into the dangers of eating wheat. The other title was a gluten-free cookbook. Two very different types of books on the same topic.  

 

4. You must agree to a deep discount on your book.

If you want play in the Big Leagues, you have to be willing to pay. Major chains expect you to discount the book at least 55 percent. 

There are ways around this problem, however, such as getting the book printed very inexpensively overseas. 

If you work the numbers, you’ll quickly see that selling 200 books at your regular retail price won’t make you nearly as much money as selling 30,000 copies at a deep discount.

 

5. Don’t ask a big store to carry your book until you’ve done your homework.

Go to the store. Walk the aisles. Make note of the kinds of books they’re selling. Talk to the person responsible for deciding which books the store sells.

Pay attention to the price on the stickers. How does your price compare? Is the retail price of your book correct? On Thursday, Amy will explain the sweet spot for pricing and why the price of your book has absolutely nothing to do with how much money you want to make on it.

 

The Big Payoff

If you’ve done everything Amy will teach you, and you’ve successfully gotten your book into one of the big chains, you have more opportunities.

Costco, for example, might let you do a book signing, even on the weekend. Many authors hate book signings because they don’t sell many books. 

But have you been to a Costco on a Saturday? The place is a madhouse! And that could mean more invitations to speak when a member of a local book club sees you signing books. 

Your title in Costco, Walmart or Target—or even a big supermarket chain—gives you bragging rights when approaching other specialty retailers like airport bookstores. You now have a track record. And a darn impressive one.

Register for Thursday’s webinar Order the webinar replay and increase your chances of hearing “yes.”

Need TV publicity? Don’t pitch a website. Pitch a yummy hook

gluten-free fish fry for tv publicityOne way to kill your chances of getting onto local TV is to pitch your website.

That’s what Tom Graber of Milwaukee wanted to do a few weeks ago.

Tom’s website, Friday Fish Fry Guide, lists more than 1,000 restaurants in a six-county area in metropolitan Milwaukee. Every Friday of the year throughout the entire state, you can find a fish fry at corner bars, supper clubs, mom and pop dives and five-star restaurants.

It’s a tradition here in Wisconsin, and Tom’s timing was perfect because Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, was just a few days away.

But when he came to me for advice, I told him that pitching his website might sound like he’s angling for a free ad.

 

Find a Hook

I recommended he find a hook. So I asked, “What trend are you seeing in fish frys?”

“Definitely gluten-free fish frys,” he said. 

One in three adults are interested in gluten-free diets, and that has created a $4.2 billion industry. So his hook was perfect! 

But he also needed to understand the inner workings of TV newsrooms—who’s who, how producers think, the kinds of stories they want, and the types of pitches they find annoying.

 

Do Your Homework

I suggested Tom read the dozens of pitching tips that TV producer Shawne Duperon shared with me more than a decade ago during the teleseminar How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow. That 27-page transcript, which I updated this month, is as relevant today as it was back then. It has helped dozens of Publicity Hounds get their stories onto TV, thanks to Shawne’s tips.

Tom bought the transcript, read all 27 pages, and  got to work.

Shawne, who knows that busy TV producers are always pressed for time, recommended pitching an entire segment to TV producers, particularly for talk shows. Tom recruited Tessa Santoro of Cafe Perrin in Milwaukee, who had health problems because of gluten and had to eventually go gluten-free. Tessa created a wildly popular gluten-free fish fry for her patrons and agreed to do the interview with Tom, if needed.

Tom also arranged for Tessa’s husband to provide three different types of fish fries as props for interviews.   

 

Create a Short Pitch

Tom wrote a short pitch with the gluten-free hook.

He also used LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with TV producers, assignment editors, anchors, and anyone he could find who worked at the stations.

He started calling and if he couldn’t reach the right person, he emailed the pitch. Even though a few assignment editors said they were interested, no one said yes.

 

Don’t Assume Silence Means ‘No’

“On Tuesday night, the same day I started calling people, I’m sitting there in my living room and saw Carol Meekins, one of the anchors on WTMJ, talking about fish fries and my website!” he said. “I had no idea they were interested but, obviously, my pitch made it into the right hands.”  

The TV station called him the next day and arranged for a taped in-studio interview.

He offered Tessa, his gluten-free friend, but the station declined, saying the studio would be too crowded.    

Instead, Tom took three fish frys as props. This is the segment that was aired on Thursday, March 6, the day after Ash Wednesday: 

 

 

WTMJ also owns a radio station, and somehow, Tom’s pitch ended up there. The next morning, on Friday, “Wisconsin Morning News” with Jodie Becker and Gene Mueller interviewed Tom and Tess, emphasizing the gluten-free angle. You can listen to the interview here.

The publicity resulted in about 2,000 visitors on Friday of that week alone. Even though Tom lists restaurants for free, he monetizes the site by selling bigger listings with photos and other details for $300.

“If I had it to do all over again, I’d do two things differently,” Tom said. “I’d start pitching earlier and I’d be a little more aggressive. But the publicity has given me the street cred and I feel confident that I can pitch any story.”

But he followed the advice in the transcript and did enough things right that he got three media hits in just a few days. He explains:

 

Order the transcript of How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow. 

Tips for getting booked on the more than 800 Mind-Body-Spirit radio shows

multi-colored mind-body-spirit illustration When you think of talk radio, you think politics, home improvement shows and public radio.

Mind-Body-Spirit shows aren’t as obvious, but they have huge followings.

Guests talk about familiar topics like the law of attraction, positive thinking, walking your life journey and guided meditation. Not-so-obvious topics include soulgasms, twin flames, platonic solids, and mystic visualization.

If you speak that language, or something similar to it, and you’re passionate about your topic, you have a darn good chance of getting onto some of  the more than 800 Mind-Body-Spirit radio shows and building an audience of loyal fans.

Long after the show is over, those fans can buy your products and services.

 

Tips to Help You Get Booked

Here are three tips for getting onto those shows.

 

1. Be an expert in your topic.

Mind-Body-Spirit topics include wellness, self-improvement, personal development, inspiration, spirituality and metaphysics. 

Who, exactly, is considered an expert?

Coaches, life coaches, mentors, healers, health instructors, counselors, doctors, psychotherapists, authors and speakers, to name just a few. Cooks even. If you teach classes in gluten-free eating or organic foods, you’re a good candidate to get booked as a guest on certain shows because there’s a huge upsurge in gluten-free cooking and organic foods. 

 

2. Know and speak the Mind-Body-Spirit language. 

Some of those phrases above are buzzwords that Mind-Body-Spirit shows are drawn to like a magnet. And specific niches within the Mind-Body-Spirit umbrella have their own language. That’s why, when you pitch, it’s important to use buzzwords that the stations—and their guests— will recognize.

 

3. Look far beyond traditional radio.

Many of these shows are on the AM and FM dials, but hundreds more are on Internet radio and podcasts. And some of them have cult followings and massive audiences.

 

How to Pitch the Shows

My friend, Alex Carroll, who has been on more than 1,200 mostly traditional radio shows, is hosting a live teleseminar (no charge) on Thursday, March 27, at 2 or 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The topic will be “Secrets to Getting Interviews on Mind-Body-Radio Shows.”

 

Alex Carroll and Dr. Cha~Zay

 

Getting onto these shows is very different than getting onto regular radio shows. That’s why Alex has invited Dr. Cha~Zay who is a frequent guest on many of these shows. She will explain exactly how to pitch them, and how to turn them into cash once you’re on.    

She’ll share the exact buzzwords that attract Mind-Body-Spirit shows like a magnet, where to get them and how to use them to get booked. She’ll also explain how to turn your radio interviews into bonuses and passive income.

Dr. Cha~Zay uses specific strategies to leverage her radio interviews into a massive increase in YouTube subscriptions and views, and she has an easy three-step formula for getting invited back again and again. Register for the free call here and you’ll hear her explain them all.  

 

How to Access the Radio Shows Database

If you know how to pitch, you don’t have to wait for the teleseminar to start contacting radio stations, but you might not know about all your options or who to call.

Alex Carroll has just released a new database of 808 Mind-Body-Spirit focused radio shows. These shows reach millions and are specifically targeted to your topics. They are looking for guests like you right now. His introductory offer is $397 and you can read more about it here (affiliate link).

If you’re not sure if you’re ready for the database, don’t miss the free teleseminar. I’ll see you on the call.