By: Kathleen Pickering

success3As authors, most of us understand the on-going process behind the craft of writing. Getting the book written is no longer our challenge. Getting the book into the hands of the world is.

One of the biggest hurdles we all face is the marketing of our precious cargo—unless, of course you are of the J.K. Rowling or James Patterson ilk. Since I am newly breaking into the publishing world, I have dedicated myself to mastering Internet/Media marketing along with hand-selling because marketing will ultimately measure my books’ success. Besides, I think my stories rock and I want everyone to read them!!!

steve2[1]One champion of media marketing I’ve encountered is Steve Harrison ( Steve and his brother, Bill, offer a treasure-trove of free information. As expected, much of this info leads to the hook where he gets you to pay big bucks for specialty services, but I say, all the power to him. When I can afford one of his five thousand dollar seminars, I will certainly attend.

What I would like to share with you today are three questions and five fast-track strategies Steve Harrison offers to help visualize and create your career goals. If you find yourself signing up at Steve’s site, please tell him I sent you. (Even though he has no earthly idea who I am, I’d like him to know I’m pitching for him.) So, if you are about to leap into your new career, or are re-vamping your present one, I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and take the time to answer these questions. Here goes:

Career Visualizing Questions:

1. What do you want from you career? Think big! How much do you want to make? What will you be doing in one year? Five? Ten? (Okay, now. You can laugh, but when I hear think big, I say, $10 million/year, movie contracts, book signings and speaking engagements on site, on radio, on TV all the while knowing I can retire, should I want to, but love my life too much to stop . . . oh, yeah!!!)

2. How many books do you want to sell? (I said, 100,000 copies per month. Hey, the man said, think big!)

3. How does your success look? Where are you? Who’s with you? What have you done? How have you been acknowledged? (I’ll let you answer. No need for me to color your opinion any further!)

Fast Track MEDIA Publicity Strategies – When you have a book/movie/event to share with the news, take action. Never underestimate the fact that interest exists for exactly what you have to offer! Here are the basic steps:

1. Contact media by email – Email is the fastest way to get responses over phones (unless you already know the person) or snail mail when contacting newspapers, TV or radio stations.

2. Offer a “timely tie-in” to a current event/holiday – Something happening “now” in the world or your community that relates to your offering/specialty creates an excellent hook to grab a radio or television station’s attention.

3. Use the “magic phrase” – When contacting radio, TV or businesses, your subject line in the email should contain the media person’s first name and use of the word ‘timely’ w/(story) for the event/date. i.e., Andrea, timely guest for Friday before Super Bowl. (The author had a “how to” piece for understanding football.)

4. Keep email short: 3-4 paragraphs describing pitch and qualifications behind it.

5. Send a hand written thank you note after interview. It’s good business!!!

Great stuff, yes? It sure helps me to focus on the business of writing. I just began this process in January to complement my website. Through Steve’s free “Reporter Connection” service, I have already been featured in one e-zine article and will be interviewed on a reviewer’s blog site on April 20th. (I’ll be sure to post it on my Facebook page!) This morning, I sent a query for a morning radio show looking for authors to interview.

I also invested in a video camera (I love my Kodak Zi8!) to record short videos from conferences/workshops as well as interviews with authors. I post these video clips on my YouTube channel: Reaching out to readers through the Internet or Media is not only great fun, it is one of the fastest way to earn name recognition, and hence, book sales.

I look forward to mastering this challenge of getting my books into the hands of readers. I’ll update you on how these strategies work as the year unfolds. Feel free to post your answers to the questions listed above, or any media tips you would like to share.


  1. Publishing houses expect authors to be very active in the promotion of their own books. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some amazing PR people assigned to me from each of my houses, but I help them by sending local and regional promo ideas for us to concentrate on.

    Plus I contribute promo of my own to subsidize areas my house may not hit. And recently when my YA editor informed me that sales in the first week were strong and reorders were coming in, she wanted me to list what I had done so she could pass along to their marketing staff. I prepared a summary of my efforts that took 4 pages to complete. (I might be new to the YA genre, but being an established author, I always have a promo game plan since I came from a marketing background in the energy industry.) And I write books with cross over appeal so I can use the connections I’ve built up over the years to pull strings with magazines, local papers, radio, TV and online resources.

    So I think your post should be enlightening to readers and aspiring authors as well as veterans in the publishing wars, still in the trenches. Writing and selling the book is only part of the battle.

  2. My success looks like a smiley face with six zeros after it, before forty five (two years). And a book a year till I am too old to remember my own name.

    No….wait….that might only end up with me getting a million weird jaundiced people staring at me with a creepy grin….let’s adjust this image.

    My success looks like a few million bucks….doh….no….what would I do with all that venison?

    My success looks lots & lots of books and people made happy (or at least paranoid) by my stories.

    …getting there…. we go…

    My success looks like book and movie sales netting enough cash to make my wife and kidos comfy but not grossly so, me not having to work on computers or networks unless I want to, and the chance to go on all the fully financed missionary trips to all the parts of the world I can anytime the need arises.

    …that’s more like it.

  3. John–I know! Clever man. 🙂

    Jordan–I’d like to attend YOUR marketing workshop. 4 pages!! That explains your excellent success. May I buy you lunch some time??!!

    Basil–fabulous career vision–and funny process reaching the final version. LOL! I’m sure you are enjoying the life your success brings daily! (Word track intentionally used!)

  4. Good luck to you, Kathy. My best way of getting interviews and review coverage so far has been through networking and belonging to different writers groups. By meeting as many people as I can this way, I extend my contacts. That’s how a recent article about Moi ended up in Fort Myers Magazine. But no matter how much networking and marketing and promo we do, it’s never enough.

  5. Anytime for lunch.

    I would also suggest you set up a Google alert for any topic you consider a nspeciality of your work or research where you might be considered an expert–where a newspaper has posted an article. You could then contact that paper and introduce yourself to the reporter as an expert they could contact. This can open doors on a national level and I’ve heard other authors making this work. And once you get an article posted online, others will cross post and word spreads. I had this happen to me on my first newspaper interviews.

    Best wishes on your marketing.

  6. Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful responses. Marketing is tricky business, but the real trick is to never stop marketing! Happy Writing, and even better yet, Happy Selling!

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