Friday, August 22, 2008


Saying 'Thank you'

by LuAnn Schindler

I wrote my first freelance piece when I was a high school junior. My class attended a career fair and I sat in on the journalism panel. I liked writing. I was good at it. I always knew I inherited the I-love-English gene from my dad, who was my high school English instructor.

The editor of the local newspaper led the group discussion, and we brainstormed story ideas and angles, just like a "big-time" newspaper would develop articles. It was fun and I was hooked. So at the end of the panel, the editor asked me if I would like to write one of the stories I'd mentioned during the discussion. Naturally, I said yes.

After the story was published, the editor sent a personal, handwritten note to me that said thanks for the story and keep up the good work.

I never forgot about the power associated with that thank you note.

When I was editor of a literary magazine, I always wrote a personal thank you note to authors of the stories I selected for publication. It just seemed like the right thing to do. Those writers made my job enjoyable, and I felt lucky to be able to promote their writing talents.

Now, as a freelancer, I think it's important to say thank you to those people who play a part in helping me develop a story. After one of my stories goes to print, I send a thank you postcard to sources I interviewed for the article. I thank them for their time, their expertise, and their stories. I also let them know the publication date, in case they missed it.

Those thank you notes are a good piece of PR. It keeps a writer's name in front of a source. And sometimes, those sources have called or emailed and led me to another story.

Consider the power of a thank you note the next time someone offers a story. It just might lead to more opportunities.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Red Hot Internet Publicity

Book Marketing for Authors

If you’re ready to make your foray into the 'Net, here are some easy ways you can access your success online.

1) Forget about getting a web site: get an online brochure that sells books. I think one of the biggest problems with web sites is that people think they need to be fancy and colorful and most of all: complicated. While color on a site is not a bad thing, don’t let the design of the web site mar its effectiveness. The best web sites are often the most drab. Let’s take a look at two very successful sites: Google and Craig’s List. Now we all know about the Google site, but have you looked at the Craig’s List site recently? It’s quite possibly one of the worst looking sites in history, but you know what? It does the job and it does it very well. That’s the key: a site needs to do the job and do it well, if that means having a chartreuse web page then that’s what it means.

2) Social networking: you may hate real-time networking, but don’t miss the boat with your online efforts. Sites like MySpace, Eons, Gather and Linkedin are all fantastic places to network *and* they’re additional portals to your book, product, or message. You can be on one or all of these sites, it just depends on how aggressive a marketer you want to be.

3) Craig’s List as a promotional tool: have you ever tried driving traffic to your site from Craig’s List? If you haven’t, you should. Craig’s List is a unique promotional tool and while it can have an impact on your promotion, you need to use it with care. Take a peek at the sight and start reading some of the other ads and blurbs that make the cut. Posting to this site requires a certain casual, maybe even campy language approach. And keep this in mind: Craig’s List is very anti-sale so whatever you do, offer help, a solution, or some other freebie, but don’t sell. Using a loss-leader to get people to your site is often a great idea when it comes to Craig’s List promotion.

4) Article syndication: Online article syndication is the way to go to maximize your online exposure. The thing is, a year ago we were telling you to load your articles onto as many syndication sites as you could - one hundred or more was even better. How has that changed? Well, now loading your articles on more than five sites could be the kiss of death and get your articles sent into oblivion instead of getting exposure.

5) Are you social bookmarking? Here’s how it works: Social bookmarking allows you to generate high quality backlinks to your sites and promote your web presence.

Some of the most popular social bookmarking sites are: Technorati,, Flickr. In its simplest form, social bookmarking is the collective act of bookmarking (tagging) and sharing Internet links and resources. By sharing, of course we mean promoting. There are different types of social bookmarking services – you can upload, store, bookmark (tag) and share photos, news stories, links. So how does it work? Let’s say you have a book web site that you like, using one of the social bookmarking services like you can assign that webpage a tag and put it up on your page, which can be accessed by anyone. Your page can be used for promotion or to create a resource page or customers. You can also share your page with other people and have them link to it, or put links to your new web sites on your page to get inbound links.

6) Got a blog? Then try adding your blog to Blogburst. Access to this site could get your blog entries picked up by Reuters, the Associated Press, and USA Today online.

Getting on the 'Net doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be effective. Using tools (most of them free) can really drive some traffic to your site and interest to your book. Remember that when it comes to Internet marketing, more isn’t always better, sometimes it’s just more. It's easy to get lost in the noise of the 'Net, but the simplest way to bypass the clutter is to stay on message and connect with sites that have good ranking. Why? Because their ranking is your ranking, if you’re getting listed on a high traffic site, guess what? Sooner or later that traffic could find its way to you.


Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007


Carolyn Howard-Johnson Helps UCLA Play the Career Game!

Yup! It's true...

Veteran publicist and promotion how-to author Carolyn Howard-Johnson will teach UCLA students winning plays for their budding careers. Students will play The Career Game during Career Week 2007, April 9-13. Howard-Johnson will appear on Tuesday April 10 at 5 pm at the James West Alumni Center on campus.

Students will learn to develop special strategies through one-of-a-kind workshops and meetings with presenters from various industries. Career themes will be played around the themes of traditional games including Scrabble, Sudoku and Pictionary!

We all know and love author, Carolyn Howard-Johnson, but did you know she was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment? It's true, the 43rd and 44th District of the California Legislature gave her that well-deserved title for her first novel, This is the Place, and her book of creative nonfiction, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, which are both award winners.

Carolyn's fiction, nonfiction, and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She consults on publishing and promotion and is an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program where she will be teaching a course called "Savvy Marketing for New Authors"-- April 14. Her book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T was USA Book News' Best Professional Book and an Irwin Award winner. Her THE FRUGAL EDITOR will be released this spring.

Howard-Johnson may be reached at (
Information is also available at


5 PM
WHERE: James West Alumni Center on the UCLA Campus

Visit Carolyn and learn more about the consulting and strategies panel at -- click on the link to find out more.

Hope to see you there!

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Friday, March 23, 2007


Brief Anatomy of a Press Release

A Press Release can be anything from a simple ad for your website, company, product or service. Basically, in writer's terms, it's a short newsworthy blurb of a couple paragraphs or more. Like a flash fiction contest, you're going to have to trim the filler to get to the main course -- a scrumptious, bite-sized piece that's easy to digest. So, let's examine the ingredients:

Headline (Title):
A short, snappy, relevant headline that grabs the reader's attention.

A brief paragraph, or blurb that tells a story at a glance and makes the reader want to dive in.

This is the content of your press release -- the main course. The points you want your reader to digest, eat up, and have an appetite for more! The sole purpose of the content is to attract an editor's attention (much like a query). Keep it succinct. Don't ramble. Your goal is to garner a feature article, story, or simply get an editor to publish your material. (Note: most press releases -- even web -- have the city and state listed first, then the date of the release.)

Contact Info:
How should an editor contact you if they wish to acquire additional information? That's what you need to include here. Don't forget your name, email, and website address! (Note: This information can be placed before the headline, or afterward)


Here's an example of a Press Release that Beryl wrote for our current issue:


Beryl Hall Bray and Angela Miyuki Mackintosh
Editors, WOW! Women On Writing

An Extraordinary Find for the Literate

Summary: Enjoy and explore the wonderful world of publishing, access rare, important interviews with Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, Ann Moore/Time Inc., Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins and other informative articles.

Anaheim, CA -- March 5, 2007 -- Everyone from NY publishers, through editors, agents, and authors on to readers will unearth something of interest in the latest issue of WOW! Women On Writing? Why? Because The Big House issue has rare interviews with three of the top women in the publishing world, giving us insights into the empire affecting the very books on booksellers’ shelves--that feed our hearts and minds.

These articles afford us an unexpected glimpse into remarkable, professional, successful women who garner the cream of the crop in the literary world: Ann Moore/Time Inc., Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, and Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins.

But, there is more. The feature Deconstructing the Big House was meticulously researched--clearly laying out how the big six publishing entities are set up. It makes it easy to identify the niches, the specialties, of various publishers, within the hierarchies.

This article describes the big houses, Who they are, What they own, Where they are located, When they merged, and Why they do what they do. The Big Six List contains tons of useful links for aspiring authors and readers who wish to discover different publishers to locate more of their favorite genre.

WOW! has been consistent in interviewing award-winning notables from the world of writing, while becoming a showcase for up and coming new talent. The three interviews, the overview of the Big House, other articles and columns make this an excellent resource for learning more about your literary world.



  • Include a compelling, but relevant headline
  • Keep it brief
  • Don't make any wild claims or exaggerations
  • Don't send out a press release just because you want to create traffic -- make sure that you have interesting material to submit to the press
  • Keep it under 500 words
  • Proof read
  • For web -- include links back to your website within the press release body if appropriate, and of course, in your contact details.
Including your link within your press release body and contact details will help you get picked up by search engines when submitting to press release distribution services. This is a handy way of creating internet buzz!

For your reference, here are some free press release sites:
(Note: some require a sign-up)

**We do not endorse these sites, but provide them for informational purposes only. Please read all of their guidelines and terms before submitting.

These sites provide great general press release distribution, but for specific content, such as advertising your book, new writer's website, or writing service, we suggest that you submit directly to publications that you wish to garner interviews, buzz, or articles with. Targeting your PR is much more effective. Just be sure to make your press release enticing, as you would a query, and you'll be sure to get some well-earned buzz. Good luck!

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