Why you should publish articles to promote your book.
Publishing articles, online and in print, linked to the theme of your book, is a time and cost-effective means of promotion, especially if you are a non-fiction writer. Wherever you are in your career, journalism, blogging, articles, etc. should at least be considered as part of the general strategy of your work.
They do not necessarily translate directly into any sales, but they can:
Help establish your name.
Build your reputation as an "expert" in your field.
Lead to further openings, and even regular columns.
Think broadly when it comes to articles.
Here is a list of the kind of places you can look to place them.
Major subscription magazines.
Niche, small magazines.
College Alumni readership.
Online only magazines.
Online only blogs.
Social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc.)
Work with your publicist to pitch and place articles.
As you're publishing a book with JHP, your publicist can team up with you, where ever you are in your article writing process.
When your publication date is set, we invite you to brainstorm article ideas, pitches, write an article (or a few) a on spec, plus highlight some choice quotes from your book, and upload them to your book's Marketing page. Add in any publications you think are worth trying, publications that you would love to be featured in, plus any other ideas you may find useful, in the Promotional Plan section.
If you pitch publications yourself, please log them as a Marketing Activity.
Your publicist will then help you refine and match the articles and pitches to the right publication, increase your shortlist of publications, and approach them on your behalf.
Use our Contacts Database to come up with ideas of where to pitch.
Remember, contacts with a high score are ones we have had most success with.
Our database isn't exhaustive. It will have, as a general rule, the major subscription magazines, (around 3500 in total). It should be one resource among many.
Make sure you use Google, and niche databases (such as Poet's Market and Duotrope for literary work) as well.
Take your time to research your market.
How to add articles to your Marketing page.
Visit your Marketing page.
Scroll down to Publicity.
Under Articles click + upload an article.
Fill in a description of what you are uploading, select the article on your hard drive, and upload.
Don't leave it all to your publicist
Your publicist's time is limited – make the best use of them, such as using them pitch to publications who might not accept pitches direct from you, the writer. Get in the habit of pitching your own work, before and after publication.
How to pitch an article to a publication.
It's very competitive out there but there are some general principles that will help your cause.
Get to the point. Imagine the editor you are writing to is busy and in a rush. They should be able to tell exactly what you are offering from your email subject first line.
Tailor the approach and length to the position of the magazine. Don't just think "How can I promote my book?" Think "What would this publication really like to see published, what would resonate with their readers?"
Follow any submission guidelines. Some editors might want your article in the body of your 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.
Be respectful and polite. The vast majority of magazine editors work hard, are often underpaid, or working voluntarily, and are deluged with material.
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.
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.
How to make your article the best it can be.
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.
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.
CASE STUDY, JUDY HALL
Judy Hall is a world-renowned author/expert in the Mind Body Spirit field. Her articles appear regularly in the UK Spirituality media, including Kindred Spirit and Spirit and 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 also secured a regular column for Judy, in a new blog site OtherSide Press.
Instead of an article, you can pitch extracts of your book to publications as well. Generally, these are a bit harder to place, but if you do your homework, and match your writing to the publication, they can be an effective way of promoting your book.
Extracts work in the same way as articles. You can work with your publicist to pitch them, or pitch them by yourself. Either way, if you do so, we ask that you enter your activity into your Marketing page in the section Marketing Activities as “Article/extract” with as full details as possible.
How to prepare and pitch an extract
Title your extract appropriately: 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.
Include your book-cover graphic and headshot in your pitch (high-res if it is a print magazine). Magazines often like to publish an author photo and short biography alongside the extract.
Do not put copyright notices on the extract. To editors, it signals the work of amateurs distrustful and paranoid about having work stolen. Copyright notices are not necessary for protection.
Feel free to cut, edit and amend your extract to make it appropriate for the publication.
You might need to write a short lead-in and a lead-out to modify your extract so that the end result is an article with a beginning, middle and end. If so, you can title your piece "Adapted from title by author).
CAUTION! If you prepare your extract by copying and pasting from your final text PDF, then you will likely have to reformat it, as italics, bold fonts and other bits and pieces won't be copied faithfully!
Should I get paid for my articles and extracts?
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.