by Joan Stewart
Wanted: A publisher to discuss how much Theresa Giudice from “Real Housewives of New Jersey” might earn with a book detailing her jail time.
Wanted: Experts to talk about the ways in which your birth month affects your emotion or mood.
Wanted: Books by and about key female influencers across a wide variety of industries.
Wanted: Editors and publishers to discuss the pros and cons of syndicating content.
Wanted: Law experts to explain the ins and outs of taking a roommate off your lease.
Wanted: Experts to explain what’s really in organic baby formula.
Those are called media leads—and they can be an author’s ticket to publicity. They’re written five days a week by living, breathing journalists, bloggers, freelancers, broadcasters and others who need sources just like you to round out a story. They work for companies like FOX, DowJones, Gannett, ABC, AP and your local Weekly Tattler.
Authors can submit queries, too, when they’re writing a book and need a particular source to interview.
I plucked the six items you see above from one month’s worth of leads supplied by HARO, the biggest of several free publicity leads services. If you aren’t using HARO or one of the others, add them to your book publicity toolbox and prepare to drown in leads, most of which won’t apply to you. But if you’re patient, you can discover a few golden nuggets.
How It Works
HARO is short for Help a Reporter Out. When you subscribe at HARO.com, you’ll start receiving hundreds of leads five days a week, Monday through Friday, at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. EST. Scan the emails.
If you’d be a good source, answer the reporter directly through the anonymous @helpareporter.net email address provided at the beginning of the query.
Many journalists received dozens of replies and choose only the best ones to contact. Even if they call or email you for an interview, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up in their story.
You’ll also be inundated with leads. Let an assistant or a family member sort through them all and save you time.
Author Rachel Eddey used HARO successfully from both sides—when she needed a source for a piece she wrote for The Writer magazine, and to generate publicity for her book, Running of the Bride.
It’s a humorous memoir that details the improbable events of her recent wedding—from having her dream guy propose on the movie set of “Sex and the City” to appearing on two reality TV shows.
Rachel explains what happened next:
“My first big hit came when a reporter from Grazia magazine posted a query for real-life wedding stories. By the end of the day, I was working with the reporter on a story hook and supplying high-resolution photographs.”
One thing led to another.
“Through HARO, I also connected with a reporter from UK’s Chat magazine and an event coordinator for MommysLinks.com. The demographics of the publications match my target audiences, and I saw a very real increase in sales because of the exposure.”
Kris Keppeler found HARO was great PR for her job as an actor and storyteller.
Three years ago, she saw a query from Gina Greenlee who was writing a book about women who have traveled to New York City on their own. Kris wrote about her most recent visit and explained how she met lots of interesting, helpful people for the first time “and managed not to get lost.”
Gina loved the story and included it in her book Postcards and Pearls: Life Lessons from Solo Moments in New York.
Other Media Leads Services
This service from Wasabi Publicity is similar to HARO. For a monthly fee, you can attach a press kit. You can also create a profile that will be attached to every pitch, so you can save time. And you can ask only for queries that match your choice of categories or keywords.
This service, headed by Rebecca Derrington, is specifically focused on women’s topics. It started in Australia and has expanded to include journalists in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and the Asia Pacific.
This service makes it easy for reporters to quickly find sources and experts in other countries. It also gives subject experts media opportunities from publications throughout the world. See recent queries here.
Dan Janal’s PR Leads is the only paid service on this list. He gets hundreds of leads each day on dozens of topics but sends you only the leads in your specialty area to save you time.
Follow the Rules
Regardless of which service you use, follow the rules to the letter.
- Respond only to journalists and others who you can help on that particular story. Don’t respond by offering yourself as a source for similar stories they might be covering or by pitching your own ideas.
- When replying, use the email subject line they tell you to use.
- Don’t pester the journalist. If you don’t hear a response, don’t contact them
- Keep your response very short, about three paragraphs. Tell them enough about yourself and your expertise to help them decide if they should call you for an interview.
But rules, alas, are meant to be broken.
Here’s a humorous story of how a guy used HARO to lie his way into MSNBC, ABC News, The New York Times and more using HARO.
Do you have a PR success story for your book? Please share it in the comments so we can celebrate your success!
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.