Sunday, February 04, 2007

Proof that press releases work

Imagine my surprise when I opened on of my Yahoo Groups to find the following article. Read the entire piece to find out why.

Kathleen Gage
The Street Smarts Speaker and Author


In January, my husband Aaron and I made the front page of
the Times Record Newspaper. We sat for the interview, sans kids, at
the end of December, but had no idea when the article would run. My
newspaper comes in the late afternoon, so it surprised me when we
were flooded with calls from local friends. In that week alone, we
went from neighbors to a few people in town to a pride for the
entire community. Why? Two-fold really: our book is about the town
and our personal pilgrimage to my husband's roots.

With this new celebrity came the support of the townsfolk
in the way of book sales. One of the local bookstores refused to
even consider selling our book, not because we self-published,
rather she balked at the price tag and scoffed that nobody would pay
that much. After the front-page article, this shop owner regretted
that decision when customer upon customer asked if they could order
our book through her shop. She even got down right rude with these
potential customers and yelled. The library came as the next target,
but they were prepared. We had donated one copy to them, which
traveled through the circulation process slowly until mass readers
clamored to sign up on waiting lists. The library director called
personally to order four more copies at full price. It thrilled me
to search the library database and see my name listed as an author!
Aaron beamed when he saw himself listed as the illustrator.

How did we get into the newspaper? I took the advice of my
good friend, marketing guru Kathleen Gage. She sang the praises of a
well-written, and thus well-received, press release. I followed her
example and the press release slanted for the local market landed me
the most expensive spot of advertising in the newspaper at no cost
to me. I suggest that you download Kathleen's f ree ebook, Street
Smarts Marketing and Promotions, from my homepage as a start. If
that works for you, then purchase the expanded version of that
ebook. I believe it is a sound investment as the expanded version
built a castle on the solid foundation I received from the f ree

I want to focus on is giving back to the community that
now supports us. We forged our name and product into the limelight
and thus had to shine. Before the article was printed, I did an
initial reading at Brunswick's Curtis Memorial Library. At that
point our book wasn't in circulation yet. The pre-Christmas turnout
seemed dismal as it included mostly friends. After the article came
out, the library asked me to schedule another reading and rushed all
five copies of our book into circulation.

The reading requests did not stop at the library. A
handful of teachers at the neighborhood elementary school contacted
me because they saw the newspaper. Seems the third grade is studying
about our town and its landmarks. We happily agreed to read to the
children and field questions afterward. Aaron and I bundled up our
homeschooled children and visited the school in two back-to-back

The three third-grade classes listened intently, knew most
of the landmarks in the book, and then asked how they could
write/illustrate/self-publish their own books. I cannot say how
gratifying that moment was for me. We inspired at least forty-three
kids that day to write, draw, and believe in themselves! To show
their appreciation, they made us a big laminated poster with photos
of our visit and all their names.

The three first-grade classes were a bit more squirrelly,
but loved our story and asked when we would write more adventures
about the town. We had about an hour break before the last group.
The three second-grade classes really asked some poignant questions.
One little boy asked why I am a professional writer. My reply was
that as a little girl his age, I dreamt that I would grow up to
write books and, believing in myself, I accomplished it. Another
girl asked if I wrote in school. I told her that I started writing
in elementary school and am specializing in creative writing in grad
school. In both instances, I encouraged education, hard work at the
craft, and belief in themselves.

So, if you are too nervous to read in front of adults or
children, but you need to market your book, I'll close with this
suggestion. The Shy Writer by Hope Clark addresses those fears and
meets them head on. If you want to influence lives and sell books at
the same time, you must read to your audience.

Trish Hopkins is a professional writer, creative writing instructor,
and speaker at
Author, By the Sea ~ Brunswick, Maine


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