Getting traditional articles published online and in print, linked to the theme of the book, is a time and cost-effective means of promotion. They do not necessarily translate directly into any sales, but it is a good way of establishing your name, building up a reputation as an "expert" in the field, and can lead to further openings, even regular columns.
What we do
In the Publicity section of your Marketing Page you will see "+upload an article". If you enter one there before the publicist starts work (two to three months before publication) they will send it to some appropriate magazines. Success here varies, sometimes it's not what they're looking for, they might be full for some months ahead. We had 700 articles appearing last year, in magazines around the world, out of 1500 submissions.
What you can do
Do follow on with contacting magazines that the publicist hasn't got around to.
We have only entered on the website, as a general rule, the major subscription magazines, unless there are ones closely targeted to our constituency (around 3500 in total). There are ten times this if you count magazines with press runs of hundreds rather than thousands, and a hundred times this many if you count various newsletters, e-zines and blogs. If your chosen field for instance is more creative writing, whether in essay form, fiction or poetry, invest in a book like Poet’s Market, published by Writers Digest Books, which lists 2000 smaller magazines. Alternatively, most literary magazines in particular are moving online – there's a list of several thousand at Duotrope.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented social-networking service, it is mainly used for professional networking.
Join the social network LinkedIn and post an article making sure it follows the style and content of other LinkedIn articles. And always mention your book clearly at the end of the article. Your article may get picked by the editor and reach tens of thousands of potential book readers. Always submit an article to your college alumni magazine editor. This is a surefire way to reach a friendly readership.
For instance, the most recent example of something good happening here, one of our authors, Louis Profeta, used LinkedIn to post some articles around his book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God, published in 2010. Sales had trickled down to single figures per month, with occasional boosts if the author had been active with TV or Radio. So he used the LinkedIn site to post some articles and this put him in front of the blogging community and the editors there. He chose a topic that was hot news in October 2014 – Ebola, and wrote a great article. His sales in the month following jumped to three figures. Although the sales dropped afterwards they didn’t disappear and Louis followed this article with a second in June 2014, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/were-living-age-cell-phone-cowards-louis-m-profeta-md?trk=prof-post which went viral and again the sales of the book rose to hundreds. The editor of LinkedIn then decided that he would publish all of Louis’ articles. The latest such offering was January 2016, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-know-you-love-me-now-let-die-louis-m-profeta-md?trk=prof-post and the sales are now in five figures.
So if your title is appropriate, join the social network LinkedIn (there are many others) and post an article making sure it follows the style and content of other LinkedIn articles. And always mention your book clearly at the end of the article. Your article may get picked by the editor and reach tens of thousands of potential book readers.
I saw the Ho'oponopono article in Soul and Spirit Magazine (UK), which looks wonderful. Thank you for your continuous support. Your co-operation is highly valued. Bruno R Cignacco, author of How to Become a Miracle-Worker with Your Life and How to Manifest Money Effortlessly.
Judy Hall is a world renowned author/expert in the Mind Body Spirit field. Her articles appear regularly in the UK Spirituality media. You can see examples of this in recent issues of top UK magazine Kindred Spirit. Judy also has her own regular crystal column in Spirit & Destiny Magazine. So there was little that we could do to build Judy’s profile with the British MBS press. Instead we looked to the USA. Judy’s sales are strong across the pond, so introducing her to specific MBS press was not difficult. Pitching blog/articles to a variety of MBS magazines and blogs, allowed us to place a number of them in smaller sites, Bellésprit Magazine, subscription magazine Crystal Resonance and a mention in Fountain International Magazine. I have to say that in this particular PR push, the publicist contacted over 35 editors of magazines and blogs. We did secure a regular column for Judy, in a new blog site OtherSide Press, which this year is going to print. This is a start, and as more books come though from Judy and her titles continue to sell another 500 copies, every couple of weeks, we keep this kind of promotion activity going.
Writing the article
Tailor the approach and length to the position of the magazine. Concentrate on a central theme; make it short, sweet, meaty; give it a beginning, middle and end. The most popular articles identify readers’ problems and help solve them. Mention your book if it fits the piece, but do not focus on it too much or it will come across as a sales piece, and be rejected.
Top and tailing: start with "An extract from title by author". End your piece with a short biography, where you can list your published books, and your online links. Add ISBNs for ebook and print, price, page extent, and publication date if that is still ahead. The magazine editor may not include it all, but leave it to them to edit down rather than add it in – or the book itself might not get a mention.
- Make it unexpected.
- Keep it simple.
- Say something to grab attention.
- Make the reader curious.
- Make it concrete.
- Explain in terms of human action, sensory information.
- Be credible, build a case.
- Use examples rather than numbers.
- Get people to care about your ideas. We are hard-wired to feel things for people, not abstractions.
- Tell a story.
Do not put copyright notices on the manuscript. To editors, it signals the work of amateurs distrustful and paranoid about having work stolen. Copyright notices are not necessary for protection. There is more in the Appendices on copyright.
Every local newspaper in the country has a reporter covering local people and events. Provide them with a good story, and say something of interest about the book that will prompt your locality to buy it, get your local bookshop to feature the article. Always submit an article to your college alumni magazine editor. This is a surefire way to reach a friendly readership.
There’s more on writing a promotional letter further along in this chapter.
Sending the article
You can upload articles/extracts to the Marketing page. In Publicity there is a place for uploading articles.
If you want the publicist to offer this article to particular magazines, then please add a note in the “Promotional Plans” section. We offer this in our initial press-release mailing.
If you are sending the article then enter the article as an “Activity” on the Marketing page. If you are submitting an article speculatively, enter the stage as “Offered”; however if the magazine editor has approached you, then enter it as “Requested.” And when publication has been confirmed, enter it as “Completed/printed” with an estimated or known date and a link and some copy for the trade and publicists. Some national magazines won’t accept submissions direct from authors but will from the publisher. The publicist working on your title will contact these about two months before publication, and contact you. More generally the majority of articles accepted for publication tend to be negotiated directly between the magazine and the author.
- Magazines accept somewhere between one out of ten or a hundred submissions they receive, depending on the magazines. Intelligent use of the contacts in the website, sending the right kind of articles to magazines who are becoming used to publishing our authors, will improve that ratio enormously.
- Check the relevant website first to see that the article is suitable (there will usually be sample articles or the latest issue), and for the submission guidelines and calendars. Some editors for instance want the article in the body of the email rather than an attachment, to reduce the risk of viruses, and will not open an attachment or respond to the email. Others prefer an attachment. Others prefer hard copy. Some will accept articles previously published elsewhere, others will not. Some will take extracts from a book, others want a different angle from the book. Some want exclusive rights, particularly if they are likely to pay something, others do not. Some want short pieces that run to 500 words or less, others are looking for something more substantial that runs to 5000.
- If the article is “Accepted” or “Published” include the date it actually prints.
- Magazines often ask for an exclusive on the article. If they are paying you for it, or/and if you sign a contract, you need to stick to the terms. If they are not paying you for it, it can seem unreasonable. On the other hand you can understand their position, in that if the reader sees the same article elsewhere it can make the magazine look second-hand. It is best not to approach two or more magazines of the same genre in the same country simultaneously, or publish with more than one. The genres need to be different (which might also involve a different angle in the text), or else allow two years between publication. It is different where magazines are regional in the USA; there should be no objection to your publishing with similar magazines in different geographical areas. If you agree to an exclusive, it is fair for them to give a date by which time they will publish.
- For online magazines the protocol is less clear. There is little to stop people copying the article and posting it on forums etc., so it tends to spread however much an online magazine might try to restrict it to a subscribed readership. If you are not being paid for it, then in general the more widely your name is spread around the internet the better.
- Your cover letter should be no more than a page. Keep it brief, personal, do not oversell yourself, but mention your published work, and the relevance of the article to the magazine.
- Be respectful and polite. The vast majority of magazine editors work hard, are often underpaid, or working voluntarily, and are deluged with material. Not all of them will have comments in their guidelines like, to quote an example, “email submissions are acceptable, but those sent without a courteous note will not be read. We will not acknowledge emails redirecting us to a website,” but they will all think that way.
- Most editors will get back to you in a month or two, but with some it can take six months, or more than a year.
- There is advice on writing promotional emails below.
We often use extracts of your title for article placement as opposed to the author writing something specific. You are free to do this too in your own marketing endeavours. There are no copyright issues with extracts that link the extract with the book. However, we would not advocate you sharing too much of the title.
Pick out whatever chunk of the book seems to fit best with that magazine’s approach (or, if it is a generalist magazine, the chunk that best illustrates the book’s main theme) and then write a short lead-in and a lead-out so that the end result is an article with a beginning, middle and end. At the bottom, before the bio, you can write "Adapted from…" and give brief book details; title, ISBN, publisher, date, price.
- Send a book-cover graphic and headshot too (high-res if it is a print magazine).
- If the extract needs to be edited to make a sense as a discrete unit, or edited/shortened for the magazine, that is fine. No need to check with us.
- The extract from the final text PDF can be copy-and-pasted into Word, but significant lost italics and bold fonts may need to be reformatted.
- Magazines often like to publish an author photo and short biography alongside the extract.
- So that we can maximize the impact of your promotional activity, we ask that you enter this book-extract activity into your Marketing page in the section Marketing Activities as “Article/extract” with as full details as possible. Please continue to update its progress when the extract has been accepted and published, and add any links.
The vast majority of articles written for papers, or extracts taken from books, involve no payment. Academics write to get known amongst their peers and improve their career prospects with citations, popular authors write to promote their books. In the middle, there is a tiny cadre of journalists who can earn decent money from writing for national magazines. Which can be substantial, but you need to be in that kind of loop already. It never hurts to ask if there is payment though, and an average rate for most non-nationals is around $100 for every 1000 words.
- If anyone requests permission to use an excerpt from the book, or a quotation, there is no need to check with us, just say "Yes, the publisher agrees." We do not get into correspondence and form-filling on this. If they want to pay up to £100/$100, which is rare enough, just agree and take the money – whatever the contract says, the paperwork involved in processing it from our side and then splitting it with you etc. is not really worth it. It only becomes a question if there is a lot of money involved, and that is unfortunately rare.
- Ask for credit to be given: title, author, publisher and if they can include the imprint website.
- The length of the extract does not really matter, unless it is getting to be 10%+ of the book.
- On the timing, it is obviously preferable if it comes out around the time of publication or later. But better to have the word being spread around rather than not spread at all.