Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Be The Exception Rather Than The Rule

Recently I read this post from the Book Editor at The St. Louis Dispatch newspaper about why they don't review every local authors book. Editor Jane Henderson has been working at the book review editor for 13 years. Notice in general they don't review self-published books--yet have reviewed them in rare situations.

She makes it clear they are actively looking for great books from local authors to write about in their newspaper. Also she clearly states why they turn down the books--besides the sheer volume of the books--saying, "Some reasons we (and most book editors) choose not to review a book: poor quality, poor writing, little new material, obscure or boring subject matter. For first novels, if a reviewer doesn't think much of it, we'll usually decide not to review it rather than smash a young writer's ego. Some local authors don't let us know about their books or don't communicate in a professional way, indicating that the publication may not be well done either." The author will never know but often it is a kindness to send them a form letter rather than deliver the honest truth (which often they are not ready to accept or want to argue with the editor--which means even more correspondence for the editor--and I have learned the hard way).

I do not live in St. Louis and haven't approached this editor with my book to review. If I lived in St. Louis, I would be trying to figure out the best approach with my book and certainly be trying to entice her to review my book. Why? Because that local newspaper is in touch with a large audience. Their Sunday newspaper circulation is over 400,000 and their daily newspaper (Monday through Saturday) is over 250,000. Now that is a lot of people to reach with your message--and worth doing.

If you have a book to sell, how can you reach your local newspaper editor with your message. Several things you can do:

1. Be committed to quality with what you are pitching. You would be shocked to sit at the desk of that book editor and see the poor quality material which comes in for consideration. Also you would be shocked at the volume or the onslaught of material. It's a constant challenge for any of these editors or reporters. Learn how to meet their needs through your own education.

Last night I was reading the new book, I See Your Name Everywhere by Pam Lontos and Andrea Brunais. The president of a long-running public relations form (Pam Lontos) teams up with a prize-winning journalist (Andrea Brunais) go give the inside story about how to work with the media--and attract them rather than irritate them (you'd be surprised at innocent mistakes people make--like sending out their press releases as attachments--which most newspaper journalist consider SPAM unless specifically requested).

2. Beyond quality for your pitch and product, be committed to smart marketing with attractive hooks to grab that editor or reporter or reader. It takes work on your part but you can do it.

3. Be committed to continued marketing and perseverance. The road is long and the struggle consistent to get out there in front of people with your idea or book proposal or your new book. It is not easy but you need to continue ahead.

4. Your personal connection with the editor or reporter is important and should not be minimized. You need to keep working at developing these relationships. They eventually pay off for you.

5. Finally I've got even more hints about how to become the exception rather than the rule in my Straight Talk from the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. It's a free Ebook so get this tool, download it, study it and apply it to your writing life.

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3 Comment:

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Audra Krell Left a note...

Just this morning I was apologizing to an editor for formatting problems when I copy Word into AOL email submissions. She said she would much rather have it enclosed in the email rather than a perfectly formatted attachment. (She doesn't like the spam/virus risk either) Hopefully others are just as understanding.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger KINDRED HEART WRITERS Left a note...

Terry, you are always a source of good ideas and new books to read. Great wisdom, Thank you. Jean Wise

At 3:10 PM, Blogger KINDRED HEART WRITERS Left a note...

Terry, As I started this post I realize my critique partner has also posted. I still want to let you know how much I appreciate your daily comments and your suggestions for books to help us as we write and market. We often share your comments with the group.Thanks.
Clella Camp


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