Issue #883 Jan. 6, 2015
Publisher: Joan Stewart
“Tips, Tricks and Tools for Free Publicity”
In This Issue
- My Tacky Foil Christmas Tree
- Easy Keyword Research Tool
- Authors: Jan. 15 Deadline
- Hound Video of the Week
This Week in the Hound House:
If I were a bird, I’d want to live in my backyard in the cold Wisconsin winters. Check out the cute bird seed wreath I made with my sister during Christmas vacation. For a firm wreath that doesn’t fall apart, pack the seeds into the Bundt pan as tightly as possible. After it dries, pop it out of the pan and give it several more days to dry before hanging it. Makes a great hostess gift.
1. My Tacky Foil Christmas Tree
When Jen Thames pitched several guest blog post ideas to me recently, she included a P.S. that made me smile.
She said her grandmother had a tacky foil Christmas tree, the same kind my family had back in the 1960s. She even referred to the big spotlight that you place on the floor about four feet from the tree. The bulb is attached to a rotating piece of plastic that reflects on the silver tree and makes it change colors: from yellow to red to green to blue.
“I thought she was the only one who did this, but apparently not,” Jen wrote. “Maybe it was a northern Ohio thing?”
She said she’s from Willoughby, Ohio, where I spent 14 years on my first newspaper job.
I didn’t know Jen when I read that pitch. But I knew immediately she had done her homework.
She knew about the ugly foil tree because she read the blog post I had published that week about the childhood photo of my sisters and me that I framed and gave as gifts. If you missed it, you can read it at my blog.
But how did she know I worked in Willoughby? Because she read my bio.
That tells me that if she’s willing to do her homework before she pitches, she’ll do the necessary research needed to write a compelling blog post.
I loved all her ideas and I’ll be featuring her tips at my blog in the next several weeks and sharing the links here.
Lesson: Don’t pitch anyone unless you’ve researched them.
I explain how in the video replay of a webinar I hosted on “11 Fast, Free, Easy Ways to Research Journalists, Broadcasters and Bloggers BEFORE You Pitch.” It includes a cheat sheet that lists 11 things you can offer them periodically, regardless of whether they’ve covered you.
2. Easy Keyword Research Tool
When you’re in a hurry and you need to do some quick keyword research, or you need an idea for a blog post or article, use the Ubersuggest tool.
Type a term in the box. Choose a language. Use the drop-down arrow to specify where you want the tool to search (Web, Images, News, Shopping, video, Recipes).
Click “Suggest” and you’ll instantly get hundreds of keyword ideas from real user queries.
Thanks to Penny Sansevieri for the idea. It was one of hundreds of book marketing tips she shared during the webinar “How to Launch a Book, Promote It and Sell a Truckload–-Without an Expensive Publicist.” This video will keep you busy marketing for months. See what the huge bonus package includes.
3. Authors: Jan. 15 Deadline
Unable to publish your manuscript because you can’t scrape together the money for things like a cover design and marketing help?
You’re in luck.
There’s still time–until Jan. 15—to enter the “Draft to Dream” Book Competition that will help you turn your manuscript into a published book.
Four talented authors will walk away with a grand prize package valued at $10,000. Here’s a small sample of what it includes: copy editing, cover design, interior layout, ebook creation, advanced reader copies, free title setup, and distribution from Ingram’s global network of bookselling channel partners for one year.
The contest is sponsored by AuthorU.org, a nonprofit member organization for serious authors. I’m proud to be a board member.
Registration closes Jan. 15. Your manuscript must be in the AuthorU office by Jan. 16.
Read all the rules and check out the prizes valued at $500 that will be awarded to the 20 finalists.
4. Hound Video of the Week
Here’s another in the dog shaming series. When this Border Collie is chastised for chewing up her new foam bed, watch her tail and see how she reacts.