A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of YolandaMJohnson, Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She also conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship and is also a member of several reading and writing groups.
Tapping into Local Resources
Over the past few months, we’ve talked about several ways to market your work and gain publicity. This month I want to talk about a few untapped resources that many of us don’t think of and ultimately miss out on.
For those who cannot afford costly marketing and publicity agents, plans, and tactics, I think you’d agree that many of these free and low-cost resources could prove to be beneficial and, in the end, very lucrative.
Local Television Stations: Many local television and broadcasting stations include local segments in their newscasts. Most news stations air these segments during their morning- and lunch-hour broadcasts.
Visit the news channel’s Website to find the right person for promoting your book. Initially contact the appropriate person via snail mail or e-mail. Be specific in your request. If you want to talk about your book, an event, or expose your brand, it is important to make this clear.
It has been my experience that if you want to talk about your books, it is a good idea to send a copy of your book and your press release with your request.
It is customary to allow at least four to six weeks before following up with the appropriate person unless you are given another time frame. Keep in mind that newscasters, broadcasters, and staff are busy people.
If you have not heard anything after waiting the appropriate time, follow up with an e-mail or phone call.
It is up to you to keep on top of your contacts. As I stated above, you’re dealing with very busy people. No answer right now does not equate to a no. Persistency not “pest-istency” is key. Allow enough time between your inquires so you don’t appear to be overbearing to staff.
Local Radio Stations: You hear locals on your radio all the time. Radio stations love to have local personalities on their shows and even like promoting local talent.
Visit the radio station’s Website or call their public relations department to find the appropriate contact.
Depending on their policies and procedures, radio stations may conduct in-studio or telephone interviews, which are then broadcast live or recorded for later broadcasting. Radio interviews usually take ten to fifteen minutes or can go as long as thirty minutes. Usually the radio host will have a small list of questions to ask, so make sure you are prepared.
Local Library: If you are an author and you are not utilizing your local library for publicity and promotion, you are losing out and cheating yourself. In addition to being listed in the LCCN numbering system, many authors, especially self-published authors, just don’t know how to get their books into their local library.
Simply talk to the head of your local library and find out what their procedures are for getting books on the shelves. Explain that you are a local author. Libraries love local authors. You may have to fill out some forms to get your books into the library.
If in the event your book doesn’t meet the library’s criteria, your local library may opt to include you in their annual “Meet the Author” program. This is an event where the library will feature
local authors in a festival-like atmosphere, allowing the public to meet the authors, participate in an author roundtable, and purchase books from authors.
Become a partner with the library and get to know who’s who within the library. Building a relationship with key players and librarians can create future opportunities and priority when those prospects become available.
Local Newspaper: Most newspapers have a local section that displays local talent and events. You can usually find this in the Sunday edition, but some newspapers may spotlight local talent during the week. Again, contact the appropriate person to find out what the qualifications and specifications are.
Local Writing Groups: Local writing groups love to feature authors because they look for tips and resources for their group members. Contact the appropriate person to find out if the club would like to feature you during one of their meetings or have you as a guest speaker.
Local Book Clubs: Book clubs add value to an author’s publicity and marketing efforts. Many book clubs have anywhere from five to fifty members. Many will host an author, often times at a restaurant or somewhere that will allow them to serve light refreshments.
Here, not only do you get a chance to display your talents and answer questions about your work and your brand, but in several instances, each book club member will purchase a copy of your book. I’ll let you do the math.
Independent Bookstores: Many of us know that it is hard to get our books into large chain bookstores, especially if you are a self-published author. This is the perfect opportunity to contact and build relationships with independent bookstores. Yes, they are a dying breed, but there are some that still exist. These bookstores need your books and consumers to purchase your books.
Independent bookstores are able to host your book signing with less overhead and hoopla than the bigger chain stores. Often times, the author and the storeowner will work out a monetary split for books sold, and in most cases, everyone walks away happy.
So, here you have a few ways that allow you to tap into your local resources to get your work and your brand in front of the people you live with every day. You’d be surprised how much local talent your city or state has that no one knows about. It’s because these talents are not utilizing the resources that are in their own backyards.
One final note. If you send books to some of these resources, make sure that you keep track of them. So many times, books get lost in the mail, or they land on someone’s desk who swears they never received it.
If one of your resources claims they did not receive a copy of your book, offer to send another copy via e-mail or hand deliver it. You don’t want to repeatedly send your book to the same person because it’s expensive.