Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Power of Giving Back

Friends, today we have a special guest--Randi Lee, author of Affected. Randi's here to share what she's learned about the power of authors giving back.

Take it away, Randi!

Writers, there are a lot of us. Strength in numbers is great! Don’t get me wrong. I love all of my writer friends and wouldn’t trade them for the world. However, with so many writers publishing so many books these days, it can be difficult to get noticed—especially by the media. 

I should know. I spent ages contacting media affiliates in an effort to have them promote my book. Newspapers, trade journals, television and radio stations: I tried them all. Through emails, letters, telephone calls and physical visits, I did everything I could to push my book on these agents of the media, to no avail. I even switched my message. When one pitch letter didn’t work, I tried another. If no one responded to my book’s synopsis, I re-wrote the synopsis and sent that out. No one bit. Nothing worked. Colorful language filled the halls of my home as I ranted and raved to friends and family about how amazing my book was and questioned why no one wanted to promote it.

What came to me later, something I should have realized when I first began contacting the media, is that lots of writers contact the media. Lots of writers want the media to promote their amazing book. Lots of writers try through emails, letters, telephone calls and physical visits to get the media to do something for them.

However, in return, what are those writers doing for the media?

Sure, the description of a great book written by a local author might entice a few additional viewers to tune in to the 5:00 news. However, unless that local author is Stephen King or Ann Rice, I doubt the boost in ratings would be all that significant. I was no different. Yes, my friends and family would watch, but who else? I knew I needed to add something to my pitch to the media—something more newsworthy than just an interesting read. I needed to provide them with a story that would benefit their viewers and ensure ratings succeeded. I needed to give something back.

My pitch changed completely. Instead of sending emails to newscasters about my “amazing new book!” I wrote to them about a successful self-marketing campaign I was running at the time and how learning about it could benefit their viewers. “Sales for my book skyrocketed in less than two weeks thanks to this marketing campaign and I did it all on my own,” I wrote. “I would like to tell you, and your viewers, how I did it.”

Suddenly, things changed. My inbox was flooded with responses from local and international news affiliates asking me if I would like to appear on their program or in their newspaper. Last week, I successfully concluded the first of three television news interviews I have lined up. Next week, I’ll be featured in an hour-long interview on the radio, with another radio interview following the week after that. Three local papers have agreed to run articles about my marketing campaign (and, more importantly, my book,) and potential opportunities are still continuing to arise.

Yes, writer friend, your book is amazing, and people should want to read it! However, there are a lot of amazing books out there. Getting yours noticed is going to involve giving, as well as taking. Think about your story. Think about the successes and failures you’ve had and what the media and its readers/viewers can take away from them. Did the inspirational theme of your book motivate someone to donate to charity? Tell them that. Did your book make the Amazon Top 100 in less than a day? Tell them how you made it happen. Empower yourself through your unique experiences as a writer and lend those experiences to the public in a new and thoughtful way. Once you learn to give back, the media will be much more obliged to listen.

Thank you so much, Julie, for hosting me on your blog today. I hope this information proves useful to you, Julie’s readers, and I hope you all continue to pursue your goals in new and inventive ways! 

Randi Lee is an author and blogger, as well as a freelance writer, editor and designer living in New England with her family and two much-loved dogs. She recently released her debut novel, Affected, and is currently working on its sequel, Ascendance. Randi loves sharing tips and supporting fellow authors. She often posts helpful advice and author spotlights on her website: www.randileewrites.comAffected, her action-packed dystopian thriller, is available at all store fronts, including: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iTunes. 

Awesome, right? I love it when fellow authors succeed in the world of marketing their books. Giving back is always a positive way to go. 

Thanks, Randi!

Friends, what's your experience with book promotion and media? Any tips you'd like to share?


  1. Smart to change your pitch - and obviously it worked! Wish I'd thought of that when my books were zooming up the charts. Although I could talk about it now, I wouldn't be able to tell them exactly what I did to make it happen...

    1. Hi Alex! Even though you can't remember what you did to promote your books, I'd say you have some marketable materials on your hands that'd get you noticed by the media! *cough* Founding the IWSG *cough*


  2. Randi Lee got it right. The media doesn't care about your new book. They want to know how you can help their listeners/viewers/readers. How can you help people be healthier/wealthier/sexier/save them time?

    1. Exactly, Diane! Give them what THEY need to sell, and then the doors will open up for you and what you need to sell!

  3. Yay for Randi! It's true we seldom pause to think about what we're offering others rather than what we're demanding. Awesome thoughts.

  4. This is great, Randi!
    Take a step back and look at the situation from a different POV. Love it :)

  5. Clever! Congratulations on your book!

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  7. I appreciate it. Sometimes you really have to zoom out the view to see the better picture.