Marketing

To Pay or Not to Pay: For Your Own Media Travel Costs

by Ellie Kay

I have had the privilege of knowing Ellie Kay since I first found her book proposal in the slush pile while an editor at Bethany House. That proposal became the first of her fourteen published books. I later became her literary agent and together we have seen her wrestle with a number of issues related to a growing platform. From those humble beginnings in the late 90s Ellie has been on nearly every major radio and television program including Nightline (twice) and was a regular on ABC’s “Good Money” for quite some time. I invited her to be our guest blogger on the question of whether or not an author should pay their own way to a media opportunity. I know you will find her thoughts insightful. Make sure to visit her web site at www.elliekay.com and get her newest book The 60 Minute Money Workout.

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One question authors often ask is, “Where should I put my marketing dollars?” When you have an opportunity to go on a national show but you have to fund the trip yourself, how can you make sure it’s worth what I call the “Media Investment.”

If you are invited on a show, make sure that they are a class act, with a nice set, great team of professionals, excellent production quality and easy to work with ahead of time. But never pay production costs and rarely pay for play! (“Pay for Play” means you pay a booking agent to secure you a spot on a major show like The Today Show. This is different from the work of a publicist so please don’t confuse the two.) I do have a source that has a worthwhile pay-for-placement schedule and if you email me at assistant@elliekay.com, I’ll send you her contact info. The focus of this blog however is looking at the question of whether or not to pay your own travel costs to a media event.

A big consideration is if your publicity dollars are tight–then you might want to pass. Instead, spend those dollars on your website, social media and radio or skype opportunities that can be done from your home office.

That having been said, there are some ways to make the possibility of a national television appearance more viable financially, even if you have to fund travel yourself. Here are some ideas:

1) TWO FOR ONE DEAL — Dovetail the media trip into a nearby major market media trip. If the media opportunity is in Chicago, for example, see if there is other media you could also do in that area, or even a speaking event. If your publisher will pay for you to do a nearby media market tour, then let them know you’ll do the secondary show on your own. This might make your publisher more likely to fund the first market for you since they will be getting a “two for one” deal out of it –two media markets for their one market investment. Or, if you are speaking at an event near the proposed television show, then dovetail the media gig off the speaking gig.

2) MULTIPLES —Pitch the producer with the idea of recording multiple interviews. If you can do the live interview that day, then record 2 to 3 more interview segments on the set after the show, then they will have these shows in the can and you will be on once a week until these segments run out. It makes your monetary investment (for the trip) more valuable. This is how I was able to be on one international show 12 times in 3 trips. I did one live show on each of these trips and 3 recorded shows. But please note: THESE MUST BE ARRANGED BEFOREHAND. Don’t make the pitch about multiple shows the day before you travel and then expect to record afterwards. Pitch the idea of multiples ahead of time, before you book the show and see if they have time in their production schedule to make it work.

3) TIMELESS – If your interview is not headline driven, try to make it timeless by avoiding mention of events in the news, holidays, days of the week or seasons. Remember to tell the producer that you are going to try not to “date” the interview so they can re-air it at another time in case it fits another show in the future and they want to drop in as a segment again on another show.

4) SKYPE – Pitch the idea of a skype interview (free for you). If the angle of your story can become newsworthy (highlighting something that is in that day’s headlines), then they might consider a skype interview. These are usually reserved for those who have been in studio at least once and proven that they can handle an interview. But if you have media clips you could show them and if you’ve done skype interviews before, then make the offer. That way you don’t incur any travel expenses at all. Furthermore, if you go in studio (following one of the tips listed), then be sure you get the producer’s card for future skype opportunities.

NEW AUTHORS – For some writers who are new to the game, a show where you have to fund your own travel would be a good option for you if:

  1. you are just starting out in media & want the experience
  2. you have the money to invest, and/or
  3. you really need a media clip of you on an international or national show. In these cases, it could be all right to invest in going on this show.

But be sure you try to get the most “bang for your buck” by following some of the ideas I listed above.

BONUS TIP: If you are recording multiple interviews (in person or via skype) for a faith-based program, try to make one of them a bit more generic (or crossover friendly). Oftentimes these clips are required by national shows like The Today Show, the Nate Berkus Show, ABC News, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, etc, when they are exploring the idea of having you on a show. These mainstream producers might come calling (or if your publicist pitches them) and they will ask for a media clip to see how you look and act on the air. If you have a clip that is more mainstream (and less evangelical), then you’re more likely to get the media booking.

 

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En-TITLE-ment: Finding the Perfect Title (Part Two)

First, here are the answers to last week’s questions:

Name That Tone!

The Boneman’s Daughters–chilling

Redeeming Love–romantic

The Shunning–Amish

The Riddlemaster of Hed–fantastical

A Vase of Mistaken Identity–whimsical

Without a Trace–suspensful

Three Weddings & a Giggle—humourous and romantic

Name that Genre!

Kidnapped–adventure

Sister Chicks Down Under—witty women’s fiction

The Lightkeeper’s Ball—historical romance

Deadly Pursuit—suspense

The Twelfth Prophecy, A.D. Chronicles—biblical fiction

Okay, now, on to Tip #3 for crafting strong titles. As USA channel puts it, Characters welcome! Ever and always, Keep Your Characters in Mind. Sometimes the best title for a book focuses on the character.

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En-TITLE-ment: Finding the Perfect Title (Part One)

One of the most difficult—and important—things we did when I worked in the publishing house was come up with titles for our authors’ novels. Sometimes it was a breeze, either because the author’s title was spot-on or because the story lent itself organically to a certain title. But more often than not, it was a long process of back-and-forth with the author, marketing, and sales. So how can you, the author, develop a title that works well? Give the following tips a try.

1. Tone. Be sure your title reflects the tone of your story accurately.

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The Greatest Book (Ever) on Sales & Marketing

by Jim Rubart

Today’s guest post is from Jim Rubart. He and I first met at the Mt. Hermon writers conference where I infamously rejected him (see #10). A bit about Jim. Since 1994, Jim has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Barefoot Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. His debut novel Rooms released in April 2010 and hit the bestseller list that September. His next novel, Book of Days released in January. He’s also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world’s most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn’t sleep much. Visit his website at www.jimrubart.com.

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What’s the best book you’ve read on sales and marketing? I’m guessing that if you were to list your top five favorites,Green Eggs and Ham probably wouldn’t be in the mix.

But it should be.

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Build it Before They Come

If you want to be a published writer, realize that someone will look for you on the web. Agents will Google your name. I guarantee that editors and marketing folks will visit your web site to find out more about you.

Thus your web site needs to be both professional and effective. It is a bit like putting on your “Sunday Best” before going to an interview. That first impression is critical.

Allow me to share unscientific, subjective thoughts regarding a few elements I especially enjoy as an agent learning about writers through their web sites:

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Book Trailers: Vital or Wasteful?

Book trailers, if done well, can be a cool component to the marketing of your project. If done poorly or if done cheaply they do very little to impress a potential reader.

Most authors love to see their work done this way. In some ways if feels like the story has made it to the “big screen.”

But does it sell books? When was the last time you clicked and then bought because of the trailer?

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Book Tour Lesson: Listen to Publisher

Melanie Benjamin, author of Alice I Have Been, reflects on book tours, in an article for the Huffington Post.  Especially the difference between the one she put together herself several years ago and the one she is currently doing with the help of her publisher.

“I’ve also learned to listen to my publisher. When a bookstore contacts me personally about an appearance, I pass the request on to my publicist. Only once did I ignore her advice and do an event anyway.

Only the janitor showed up.”

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Book Review – Inbound Marketing

In February I was in the Denver airport waiting for a flight. As usual I couldn’t resist browsing the bookstore shelves. Something about the book Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah caught my eye. So, on impulse, I bought the book and began reading it on the plane. I learned a lot about this phenomenon called social marketing and thought that it would be a great book for all authors to read. But I never got around to writing a review!

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