Here’s a great success story on how authors can get exposure at high-traffic websites by writing a regular column. Mike Archer of Firebomber Publications emailed it to me and I’m reprinting it here.
My ‘Firebombers Incorporated’ novels relate the adventures (and misadventures) of a high-tech wildland firefighting outfit that employs a high percentage of ex-military personnel. The latest, ‘Firestorm’, is dedicated to the men and women of the U.S .Armed Forces.
It received an excellent review in an issue of The VVA Veteran (the magazine of the Vietnam Veterans of America). As a result, I began approaching military and veterans groups about offering my books to their members. Many turned me down. One organization I approached, Military.com, said they were interested. Since Military.com has over 8 million subscribers who are active-duty, veterans, and folks interested in military affairs, I was estatic!
As with all things that seem too good to be true, there was a catch. The Military.com editor (Ward Carroll) asked that I write a 600-word article about real firefighters with a military background as a means of introducing my book to their subscribers. This started me on a quest in September 2006.
I began interviewing firefighters all over Southern California and heard some pretty interesting stories (you can read interview notes from some of them here. By December, I had accumulated enough stories to provide the basis for the requested article, which I entitled ‘Hearts of Fire’. It was envisioned as an article that would not only relate the stories of military personnel who had successfully transitioned to jobs in the emergency services, but could also help provide useful info to those contemplating life after the military. I sent it off to Ward just before Christmas, and waited…
The article was received far better than I ever could have imagined. Ward liked the article so much that his Content Editor contacted me in February 2007 about writing a monthly column for Military.com in which I would offer advice to veterans on how emergency services could be an ideal post-military career for them. As part of the column, I am allowed to display a picture of my novel ‘Firestorm’ along with my bio, have a bookstore link so people can buy it online, and have a link to my website. You can read my column here.
Since the article was posted on their website and circulated in two of their ezines, the number of hits on my website has increased twenty-fold, many of them return visitors. Book sales are increasing, and the fact that I have a high-profile column is opening up more doors at fire departments than ever before.
So the moral of the story is never give up doing publicity, be it to a multi-million dollar company or to a lowly website, because the results of your effort may astound you. The only ones who lose are those who do give up. And as for me, I plan to write another book (this one will be non-fiction: ‘Chicken Soup For The Firefighters’ Soul’ perhaps?) That will be a compilation of all the great stories I’m hearing from veterans who are firefighters that are still putting their lives on the line for us all.
If you’re an author who wants to mimick what Mike did, go to it! But if you want to start writing columns and pitching media outlets, check out my “Special Report #34: Secrets to Becoming a Columnist in Newspapers and Magazines.” It explains how to write a column and offer it for free.