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Promote Your Book Through Articles
by Patricia Fry
Congratulations! Youre the proud author of your
first (or twenty-first) book. Before you start celebratingeven before you start
writing that bookyou should be planning your marketing strategy. Because that
wonderful book that you dedicated months of your life to write, wont bring in
enough money to buy a roll of stamps unless you promote it. And thats true
whether your book is self-published or you have a traditional
There are numerous ways to promote a book. But
authors have to think beyond Oprah Winfreys Book Club and sales through the
mega bookstores. One of my favorite promotional tools is the magazine article.
Just imagine how many people you can reach through magazines and its free
advertisement. In fact, you can even earn money writing informative, useful
articles for print and web magazines.
Many popular magazines use book excerpts. Of
course, they generally want excerpts from books that relate to their magazinea
cooking magazine wants excerpts from cookbooks, a travel magazine will quote
travel books and a poetry magazine wants to excerpt poetry books.
Use your imagination to come up with more
possibilities. If your book features Native American art, for example, a
California history or travel magazine might be interested in publishing your
chapter on California tribes. An excerpt from a book on tax tips for home-based
businesses might provide a good article for a writers magazine.
Submit articles on topics only remotely related
to your book and still promote it. I wrote a book called Creative
Grandparenting Across the Miles: Ideas for Sharing Love, Faith and Family
Traditions. Now Im considered an expert on grandparenting issues. Ive
sold articles featuring storytelling techniques for grandparents, how to teach
grandchildren money awareness, how grandparents can uphold family traditions and
tips for helping grandparents bond with their new grandbaby. But I can also plug
my book even if Im writing an article about snails, caregiving, the empty nest
syndrome or scrapbooking.
For the snail piece, I might mention that when I
was writing the grandparenting book, I met a grandfather who paid his 5-year-old
grandson a penny-a-piece to catch his garden snails in a bucket. Likewise, I
could draw a relating story from the book to use in the caregiving and empty
nest articles. For the scrapbook article, I could suggest that scrapbooking is a
great way for grandparents and grandchildren to bond and then, of course, Id
introduce my book.
Ive also used articles to promote my book,
The Mainland Luau: How to Capture the Flavor of Hawaii in Your Own
Backyard. There are the obvious articles: "Eight Ways to Roast a Pig,"
"Recipes for Your Backyard Luau," "Fresh-Flower Lei-making," "The Family Reunion
Luau" and "Tips for Learning the Hawaiian Language." And there are the obscure:
How about a piece on early culture comparisons for an ethnic or history
magazine, flower arranging for a floral or gardening magazine, examining the
lost continent of Lemuria (now the Hawaiian Islands) for a travel, history or
New Age magazine or the mechanics of writing a how-to book for a writers
magazine. Do you see how I could promote the luau book in any of these articles?
You can almost always get a tag line at the end
of an article. Use this as an opportunity to promote your book. I often write,
"Patricia Fry is the author of several books including Creative
Grandparenting Across the Miles; Ideas For Sharing Love, Faith and Family
Traditions (Liguori Publications, 800-325-9521). If the topic of the
article more closely relates to the luau book, the metaphysical book or one of
my local history books, I promote those, instead.
Of course, the most effective articles for
marketing your book are those relying on your expertise. Ive written articles
as an expert on the importance of grandparents in a childs life, how to be a
better grandparent, tips for traveling with your grandchildren, long-distance
grandparenting, how parents can help strengthen the relationship between their
child and the grandparents, how real life grandparents relate to their
grandchildren today and how to choose gifts for grandchildren. Anyone interested
in reading one of these articles will most likely want to read my
Many magazine editors reject articles that
blatantly promote a product, so keep your article from sounding like a sales
pitch for your book. Simply write a useful and informative article suitable to a
particular magazine and mention your book where appropriate.
Expect to be paid anywhere from $50 to $1,000
for an article based on your book, depending on the magazine and how the editors
view and choose to use your article. You might also be asked to give away some
of your promotional pieces. And why not, if it means having them published in a
national magazine thats read by anywhere from 20,000 to 500,000
By now, you probably have dozens of ideas for
marketing your book through articles. To come up with even more:
* Study a variety of magazines from cover to
* List as many topics related to your book as
* Brainstorm with your friends and
Do articles sell books? I believe so. Ive sold
(and given away) dozens of articles based on the luau book and have, as a
result, made a lot of book sales. Less than a year after self-publishing The
Mainland Luau, I reprinted it. A year later, my stock was running low again
and, because of my good sales record, I had an offer that I couldnt resist from
Island Heritage Publishing Company in Hawaii. Now they publish and distribute
Before you start madly writing articles and
sending them out to magazines far and wide, do some research. Develop a plan.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Study the market. Use "Writers Market" to
learn which magazines are looking for articles on what topics. Writers Market
also offers guidelines for writers: how to submit the article, whether the
magazine wants the complete manuscript of a query letter, contact person,
2. Research the magazines. Request a copy of
the magazine for which you want to write and study it from cover to cover.
Notice what type of articles they publish, the slant and tone. Request a copy
of their Writers Guidelines and follow them in preparing your article or
3. Write a query letter. Most editors want to
see a query letter first. A query letter includes: a brief synopsis of the
article idea, why you think the topic is of importance of interest to their
readers, a list of experts you plan to interview, your qualifications for
writing the article and your writing credits. Keep the letter to one page if
4. Keep good records. Record every transaction
with each magazine.
Writing a book is fun. Promoting it can be
terrifying and intimidating. Thats why I recommend to authors that they start
their book promotion efforts doing something they lovewriting.
© Copyright 2000, Patricia Fry
Patricia Fry is a career writer, author, speaker and editorial/publishing consultant.
She is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network)
www.spawn.org and the author
of 27 books, including The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book
Visit her informative blog daily, www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.
New book of cat stories
Patricia Fry announces her latest book: Catscapades, Tales of Ordinary and Extraordinary Cats www.matilijapress.com/catscapades.html.
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