Share this article on Facebook
One Stop Self-Promotion
by Patricia Misiuk
Do you spend more time convincing editors to publish your articles
than, well, writing? I spent years doing just that until I found
a way to visit 20 to 30 prospective markets for my writing under
My old drill was frustratingly familiar. I made appointments for
interviews. Then I donned my dress-for-success clothes. Next I had
to persuade a budget-conscious editor that my proposed article would
spike magazine sales. Then I battled lunch-hour gridlock, prowled
for a parking space, and delivered yet another two-minute spiel
to the next gatekeeper. Then I waited for them to give me the green
Then I worked smarter, not harder. I discovered one-stop shopping
I’m a sucker for freebies: pens, refrigerator magnets, notepads,
and even mouse pads. I’m a slow learner so my light bulb moment
came after years of attending senior extravaganzas, job fairs, health
expos, and state fairs. Exhibitors promote their products. Why not
do the same and offer your writing expertise for their companies?
Think outside the box. A local theme park relies on tourist dollars
and probably showcases area celebrities. Think feature for the local
newspaper. A growing company could boost employee communications
with an in-house newsletter…written by you. The wellness center
wants to promote a healthy lifestyle but hired nobody with the necessary
credentials to draft a pamphlet. A start-up alternative publication’s
web site is growing and receptive to column ideas. Go for it.
Below are tips I have gleaned from “working the expo hall.”
Stay in the Loop
Scout local newspapers, supermarket flyers and the Internet
for events in your area. Sign up for snail mail and cyber mailing
Casual business attire is acceptable. Lose the flip-flops, tank
tops and fringed jeans.
Take along handouts: business cards, resume (keep it to
one page--writer related information) and a selection of published
All in the Timing
Crowds pounce when doors first open and during the noon hour. Plan
your visit during lulls, usually mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
Get the Big Picture
Most expos hand out maps listing participants and booth sites. Plan
your stops wisely.
The Two-Minute Pitch
Early on, visit the areas that seem the most promising and compatible
with your areas of expertise. Best case scenario: No other visitors
at your choice booth. Keep your presentation friendly but brief.
Emphasize you will be in touch and request that they do the same.
Over the years, I’ve discovered expo sites can provide a
mother lode of assignments. Like written queries, you may experience
what you feel are disproportionate doses of rejection. Don’t
be discouraged and remember the three Ps: prepare, pursue and persist.
Assignments often tumble your way when least expected. In the meantime,
load up on those free handouts. You’ll need them, especially
the pens, to sign your royalty checks.
© Copyright 2008, Patricia Misiuk
Patricia Misiuk could have been the sole interviewee for Studs Terkel's "Working." Her jobs have ranged from migrant work in New Zealand to the replenishment of sanitary products in the "Big Apple's" restrooms. When she grows up (she is 61) she wants to be a columnist. She still works at "McJobs" but "writing is what she does."
Other articles by Patricia Misiuk :