Well I hope your last week was as busy as mine was.
Interviews and scheduled readings prevented me from
sending out the newsletter, but I'm back!
Not only that, but my heart was broken while watching
the Marlins win over the Cubs! Yep I'm a cubs fan ^_^
|Making the call
Prior to calling, I developed a short list of talking points
that would help me make my pitch in a succunct
manner. The strategy is very important, whether
you're calling the national broadcast or print media.
Once you reach the designated reporter or assignment
editor, you cannot ramble on forever about merits.
As with any good pitch letter, you need to capture the
interest of the reporter or assignment editor within the
first few seconds of your call. Remember, these are
very busy people who don't have time to listen to a
public relations person spout off about why this story
is "too important" to be passed over. The assignment
editor or reporters themselves will decide that once
you've conveyed the essential elements and news hook
of the proposed story.
In addition to the host or assignment editor, you can
try and reach an associate producer, segment producer
or senior producer. In the case of smaller networks,
the same person often wears all of these hats. Not so
with major networks. And because so many production
people are involved with a news show, it is very
important to narrow down your contacts before making
your pitch call.
Initially try and reach the assignment editor. You may
learn that a segment or associate producer actually
books interviews. If so, keep track of that information
so you'll be ready the next time you call that network.
Knowing when to call is as important as knowing whom
to call, and this is equally as important for the print
A general rule of thumb is to call members, preferably
first thing in the morning. Starting time should be
around 7:30 a.m.
You may very well end up talking to an answering
machine, but that's OK. If your pitch is interesting
enough, these reporters will call you back for additional
And don't worry if your call isn't returned within the
hour or even the same day. I pitched my story to one
reporter over two weeks ago and he called back this
past Saturday (10-18) and since then has called 6
more times requesting even more information. (I think
he's writing a book!)
They work according to their own schedule, not yours.
But they will call back if they think you have a good
story for them. That's why it's very important to write
down some key points you want to make before calling.
Of course there are exceptions to the early morning
call. Assignment editors who work for national
broadcast shows that air during the morning hours,
such as the "Today Show," are too busy with the show
to respond to your calls. Wait until early afternoon to
call these editors.
*** You may be nervous before your first call to a
national reporter. That's only natural. After all, if this
is your first attempt at attaining national publicity, the
territory is foreign to you. Not only should you have
prepared notes on what to say, but practice saying
these things to yourself beforehand. You'll find this can
relieve some of the anxiety of speaking with a national
reporter for the first time. ***
Here are three extremely well written novels and
authors from different worlds. But all three will leave
you wanting more!
Title: The Dead of Winter
by Jay Squires
Paperback: 357 pages
Publisher: PublishAmerica, Inc.; (June 2003)
Rating: Highly Recommended
"The Dead of Winter" is an intruiging tale of "who
dunnit" with the actual dropping of the bodies at the
The story unfolds with detailed description taking you
through the mountains of California, as Noah Winter
searches for Robbie, the nephew of a long time friend -
Clayton. Noah who happens to be wrestling with
personal demons of his own, concerning the loss of
loved ones, finds himself engulfed knee-deep in mystery
and deciet surrounding Robbie's disappearance.
A common term: "the plot thickens," seems tailor made
for his tale with its kaleidoscope of twists and turns.
Not only does Noah discover the hidden past of his
friend Clayton, during his search for Robbie, but also
uncovers corruption and deciet within his own empire!
To add insult to injury, somone, is out to get Noah.
The Dead of Winter is a fine read that could stimulate
detective tendencies in even the most nonchalant
personality. The plot is well written, with more curve
balls than a batter can swing at. And just when you
think, "I know who is doing what, why and to whom,"
the author adds another piece to the puzzle. There is a
fine Irony in the author's use of the word Winter and
how it relates in the telling of the story.
So if you happen to be one of those people
who "thinks" he can solve the mystery within the first
sixty minutes of the movie - this book is a must read
Bonus features: some historical culture and a
controversial subject cap this book off as first rate. My
only question is... does he resurface?
Reviewed by Juanita Reynolds
To learn more about Jay Squires read the interview
A Servant's Heart: Finding Your Spiritual Father
by Jason Powers
Publisher: Xulon Press; (August 2003)
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Paperback: 120 pages
An inspirational journey driven by faith. Jason Powers
shares with us his journey down the path of
Jason Powers is a true man of GOD with the desire to
share with us his true story of faith. Jason heard the
call of the LORD and began a journey spanning
hundreds of miles across the country to find and follow
his spiritual father. Many of us may be a bit
apprehensive and overcome by self-doubt as we hear
the voice of GOD giving us direction. Jason heard the
voice during dreams and waking hours and dedicated
his life to becoming a faithful and humble servant of the
As I turned the pages of his book, I could sense that I
was also turning a page in the author's life. Mr. Powers
is well verse in the bible and has a talent for translating
the word into understandable terms and then applying
those terms to his actions. Jason Powers has given his
life to the LORD, he trusted that he would be given
enough direction to move towards his destiny, and with
each step, he moved closer to a higher understanding.
The only reward he envisioned was a better
understanding of his relationship with GOD and the
ability to spread the word to others who desire the
same peace in their lives.
It was a true honor to read "A Servant's Heart: Finding
Your Spiritual Father". Jason Powers has found peace
in serving the LORD with a pure and untainted faith.
If you seek to understand the LORD and increase your
faith in GOD, I highly recommend that you purchase this
book and read the work of a man who has witnessed
and learned the path to salvation. Jason Powers has
been anointed by GOD and is a faithful messenger that
will truly inspire.
Reviewed by Tyrone Banks
To learn more about Jason Powers read the interview
Title: FINAL BREATH
Author: Paul M. Taylor
Publisher: PublishAmerica; (July 2003)
Paperback; 344 pages
Final Breath is a duplex novel, that captured and held
my attention in the first five pages.
This is a story about two high school students, Chad
and Mark, who couldn't be more opposite in
personalities. The two pull together to solve the murder
of a fellow student. Mark and Chad dive into their
project, deciding that the murderer would be a great
subject for the thesis of a joint psychology paper.
Meanwhile, at the nearby Crawford Center a yet,
undiscovered murder has been witnessed by a young
mentally challenged teen, Joey. Joey afraid and alone
runs away from the Center and is secretly being hunted
by two of the Center's security agents. The lead
security agent, happens to be a "not so nice person."
The author, Paul Taylor manages to take the reader on
a hilarious cross-country chase from Utah through
Arkansas. The comical antics of the chase, sort of
cushion the unfortunate ending. While, Joey is busy
trying to allude capture. At the same time, Chad and
Mark come up with a number of ludicrous schemes to
gain access to information that may help them in their
investigation and accidentally stumble upon a cover-up.
To reveal this cover-up and the murderer, they
unwisely place themselves and their loved ones in grave
To say the least, my feelings about this tale are
ambiguous. The phrase, "The ends justify the means,"
comes to mind. However, to grasp the true meaning of
this tale, one must adopt a different phrase: "The truth
is the light."
This two-fold story could have easily been based on a
true story. Regrettably, there are those in our society
who abuse their position of authority for personal gain,
be it power or money. These misguided individuals end
up trampling on the rights of those they view as lesser
or insignificant because of their differences.
I highly recommend this entertaining, yet enlightening
story with its multitude of diverse human
Reviewed by Juanita Reynolds
To learn more about Paul Taylor read the interview
The very same people who know that target marketing
works for non-fiction are often surprised when we
report that it works for fiction too. How do you identify
the people likely to be interested in a novel, they
always ask, and then how do you reach them without
spending huge sums of money?
As the old joke goes --- carefully. You start by
pinpointing markets in terms of professional,
geographical, historical, avocational and gender
interests, to name just a few possibilities. Then, with
some imagination, diligent research and an intelligently
active author, you tell the people in those markets how
your book relates to things they care about and how
they can easily get it.
To decide what directions to go in, you need to ask 10
Leading Questions. The answers will help you launch
your fiction, no matter what the subject.
10 Leading Questions for Targeting Fiction Readers:
1. What subjects are important in the book? Does the
story feature families, addiction, angels, terrorism,
tourism? By searching in the Encyclopedia of
Associations, in Gale's and Bacon's directories of
periodicals, and on the Web, you'll find groups of people
already interested in whatever your book is about.
Dale Smith's new novel for young readers -- What the
Parrot Told Alice -- teaches kids about wildlife
conservation, so it's is a natural for bird enthusiasts
and environmental activists. With Deer Creek
Publishing's marketing campaign still in its early stages,
results so far include a laudatory two-page review in
Bird Talk that generated orders for 80 books almost
immediately; sales of 200 copies at an American
Federation of Aviculture Convention , where pet shop
owners who figure to become steady customers were
among the buyers; a premium deal with the World
Parrot Trust, and good leads for premium sales to two
major conservation groups.
2. What geographical areas does the book relate to and
depict? Because people love to read about places they
inhabit and visit, it's relatively easy to generate
publicity and sales in the neighborhood, city, county,
state or country where the action in a novel takes
place. The more you can narrow the locale, the better.
There's nothing like hometown pride.
Geographic targeting also works if you focus on where
your press is and where your author comes from. When
Saybrook, a Dallas house, published The Dark Path to
the River, a first novel by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman,
who was raised in Dallas, the book made The Dallas
Morning News bestseller list. As the author did readings
at the local university and independent bookstores and
got coverage in area papers, Dark Path not only stayed
on the list; it got to #1.
3. What do the protagonists do? The central character
of James Halperin's speculative novel The Truth
Machine is a computer whiz. What better place to look
for like-minded readers than the Web?
Even before pub date, Halperin put material from and
about his story on his Ivy Press site, and after
Ballantine bought rights and published its edition, the
Random House site featured it too. Every month,
several thousand visitors to the site are a source of
praise, sales and word-of-mouth momentum. Typical
comments are: "I will definitely buy the book"; I work at
Waldenbooks and will be recommending it"; "I will
definitely purchase it," and, from another
bookseller, "Will recommend to my customers and
4. Whose comments will send powerful signals to people
who will like this book and talk it up? For Flight Path,
Jan Blais's novel about the post de- regulation struggle
to balance airline safety with profitability, Highpoint
Press used the author's professional connections to get
blurbs from aviation experts and writers. Pre-pub praise
included comments from the former director of the
Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum, the author of The
President's Plane Is Missing and a senior captain for a
major airline who chairs a national airline accident
5. Does the novel fit into a category that has well-
developed sales and publicity networks? Is it, for
instance, science fiction, romance, mystery, Jewish,
Christian, gay, feminist or literary?
Routes to feminists, to take just one example, include
more than 175 bookstores; a publication, Feminist
Bookstore News, in which you can advertise and which
sells its mailing list on labels for a modest fee, and at
least 60,000 academics involved with Women's Studies
courses, who can be reached via lists available from
the College Marketing Group. (For more on the
education market, keep reading.)
6. Are there courses that could use the novel as
required or supplementary reading? From grad school to
preschool, teachers often assign fiction in the
classroom, which can mean sizeable bulk sales for
The Tomato Enterprises editions of Patty Reed's Doll:
The Story of the Donner Party and Sallie Fox: The
Story of a Pioneer Girl sell to elementary-school
teachers through educational catalogs (including home-
schooling catalogs) and gatherings of teachers and
school librarians, as well as through trade and special-
Publisher Dorothy Kupcha Leland, who also sells a
Teacher's Guide, cheeerfully reports: "If the teachers
know about the books, they want them." Two local
teachers recently wanted 60 copies, as year-end gifts
for their students.
7. Is there a newspeg for the story? Rape Awareness
Week gave Walking Bridge Press a handle for getting
media interested in Cherry Love by Marcella Chester, a
story about date rape.
To date, results of the Press's target marketing
campaign, which emphasizes the newsworthy and
nonfiction aspects of Cherry Love, include a scheduled
mention in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical
Association; an invitation to speak to volunteers at the
Mayo Foundation; a feature story in the local
newspaper, and appearances at the Chamber of
Commerce and other organizations, all of which
continue to build word-of-mouth enthusiasm.
8. Whom can the author attract? When John Daniel &
Company published Lightning in July -- Ann L.
McLaughlin's poignant novel about two gifted young
polio victims who fall in love -- her schedule included a
reading at the National Rehabilitation Hospital. For The
Balancing Pole, about a woman who suffers from manic-
depressive pyschosis, McLaughlin read at a meeting of
a manic- depressives' support group. And for all three
of her novels (the latest, Sunset at Rosalie, is a story
of the Deep South), she drew crowds to schools,
libraries, universities, writers' groups, book clubs and
bookstores, partly through personalized mailings to her
own lengthy list.
9. What channels, besides bookstores, reach people
interested in this story? Consider non-book stores, non-
book wholesalers, book clubs, other publishers in the
United States and abroad that might buy rights,
catalogs that focus on your story's subject, plus
associations, institutions and corporations.
And don't be afraid to go where no book has gone
before. Diana Brown got a jewelry-store chain to
showcase her novel The Emerald Necklace in May,
emeralds being the birthstone for that month.
10. How can publicity and sales in target markets lead
to a novel's entire audience?
While target markets are sometimes central to a story,
they can also seem pretty peripheral. But because they
can be activated by a publisher with less than a
gazillion dollars to spend on any given title, and
because the ripple effects from them are usually
strong, they're great places to start.
When things are humming in your target markets, be
sure to tell media and booksellers about the good
review, the successful public appearance, the local
sales spurt -- whatever is happening that shows that
your book's bandwagon is rolling. Those who are
already involved will be energized by your successes;
those who aren't yet involved will take notice. And
you'll prove, once again, that target marketing for
fiction works very well in fact.
|News From the Publishing & Screenwriting World
16th Annual Minnesota Book Awards
For a title published in 2003, "written or created by a
Minnesota author, editor, or primary artistic creator,
such as an illustrator or photographer whose work is
central or integral to the book." Entry: $25.00.
Deadline: Accepting submissions through January 9,
American Library Association's Coretta Scott King
Recognizing "authors and illustrators of African descent
whose distinguished books promote an understanding
and appreciation of the 'American Dream.'" Deadline:
There's also a related award for a first book of strong
interest to the African-American community.
American Library Association's Schneider Family Book
Honoring "an author or illustrator for a book that
embodies an artistic expression of the disability
experience for child and adolescent audiences. Three
annual awards, each consisting of $5000 and a framed
plaque, will be given annually in each of the following
categories: birth through grade school (age 0-10),
middle school (age 11-13) and teens (age 13-18). (Age
groupings are approximations)." Deadline: December 1.
Paris Review Poetry Contest
From one of the premier small literary presses around.
$5000 advance and publication. Entry: $25. Deadline:
October 31st, 2003.
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.
Deadline: January 15, 2004. Entry fee: $50. Details at
The 4th Annual Television Writing Competition is
accepting entries. Go to ...
We accept pilots, sitcoms and 1 hour dramas
for example: Scrubs, Law & Order, The Practice, ER, My
Wife and Kids and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Deadline is November 17th.
***DO WHAT WORKS!***
Showcase your scripts on www.InkTip.com, the only
site on the Internet where producers are acquiring
three scripts a week!
InkTip.com has proven results: From the scripts that
have been acquired through our network, one has aired
and six are in post-production, not to mention the
scripts that are in pre-production and development. For
more details, see
In The News and More!
ATTACK OF THE TV MOVIES --
You'd think that a benefit of the saturation cable news
coverage of big stories would be a decline in the
number of "fact-based" TV movies that shamelessly try
to dramatize them. It would have been comforting to
know that 9/11 was so terrible and traumatic, so
lodged in the nation's memory, that there wouldn't be
any TV movies about it.
Certainly the real footage was terrifying enough, not to
mention the memories of millions in New York and New
Jersey who saw it with their own eyes. Yet that hasn't
been the case, as USA's "Guiliani" and Showtime's "DC
9/11: A Time of Crisis" have shown. And now
there's "D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear" appears on USA,
a docudrama focusing on the hunt for two snipers who
terrorized the Washington, D.C., region a year ago.
While the filmmakers and star Charles Dutton have
expressed sympathy for the victims and sensitivity
toward their families, I've got to ask: What can be
gained from a TV movie on the subject? Quick ratings.
TV Networks Score Better on Racial Diversity
A multiethnic coalition gave the major U.S. television
networks high marks on Monday for boosting the
presence of Latino talent in prime time, but said Asian
Americans have made far less progress and native
Americans remain almost invisible on the airwaves.
Overall, however, it was the coalition's most upbeat
annual report card yet since launching its campaign in
1999 pressing the television industry to raise the profile
of minorities on the screen and behind the camera.
A separate report on progress made by African
Americans in television is expected to be released next
week by the coalition's partner, the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Jupiter Study Looks at Inexpensive Ways to Influence
A new Jupiter Research report has revealed that only
14% of consumers have been prompted to buy more
often from online stores in response to personalized
offers or recommendations. The study, "Beyond the
Personalization Myth: Cost Effective Alternatives to
Influence Intent," also found that personalization only
leads 8% of consumers to increase their visits to
content, news or entertainment web sites. Consumers
would, however, make more online purchases or visit
sites more often if the sites themselves were improved:
54% would like to see faster-loading pages, while 52%
would like to see better navigation.
Branding a Cult
What do Star Trek, Harley-Davidson, Oprah Winfrey,
World Wrestling Entertainment (formerly WWF), Apple,
the Volkswagen Beetle, Jimmy Buffett, Vans Shoes and
Linux have all in common? These entities are among the
handful of national and international brands that have
reached cult status.
At one time or another, we've all probably wondered
why Star Trek appeals to so many people. I'm sure
many of us don't quite understand the appeal of Jimmy
Buffett's music or why accountants ride Harley-
Some said it had happened because of accident. Some
of the marketers were coming at the brand from a very
deep level. But others understand the relationship is
really between the brand and the customer.
The following similarities are found in almost every cult
- All cult brands dare to be different.
- Cult brands understand that they're not just selling a
product or service.
- While cult brands seem exclusive, they're actually
- The brands don't take themselves too seriously -- at
least not publicly.
The one thing all of these brands have in common is
that they understand they're not just selling a product
or service, they're selling other customers to each
But Cult branding doesn't have to be a national or
Figuring out whether you've got a potential cult brand
on your hands isn't going to happen overnight. It took
years for carmaker Saturn to foster a loyal customer
base and the company did it, in part, by sponsoring
events and pitching the Saturn community. Star Trek's
status as a cult brand was no thanks to Paramount,
the company which owned the title's rights. Paramount
helped NBC kill the show and was more of a hindrance
than a help when it came to fostering fan conventions,
magazines and new product lines.
Not every product or service is cut out to be a cult
brand. It's just not going to invoke that same level of
passion and excitement. In the end though, using these
cult brands as templates for marketing and PR
initiatives can't hurt.
Upcoming Movies & Reviews
The Matrix Revolutions
directed by the Wachowski Brothers. Starring: Keanu
Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo
Weaving, Jada Pinkett-Smith.
The last installment of the one of the most popular and
influential trilogies of all time hits cinema screens on the
5th of this month. Look for battles between Zion and
the machines, questions about "The One" being
resolved and a 14-minute low-altitude helicopter chase.
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
directed by Joe Dante. Starring: Brendan Fraser, Jenna
Elfman, Timothy Dalton, Heather Locklear, Steve
Warfare on the WB lot sends Bugs and the gang, along
with Fraser and Elfman, on a worldwide hunt for a
precious gem and Fraser's missing father (Dalton).
Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World
directed by Peter Weir. Starring: Russell Crowe, Paul
Bettany, Patrick Gallagher, John DeSantis.
Based on the series of naval warfare novels by Patrick
O'Brian, "Master and Commander" is about Captain Jack
Aubrey (Crowe) and his crew during the Napoleonic
Wars of the early 19th century. On their mission to
intercept an American frigate, they must deal with
brutal storms, mutiny, shipwrecks and murder.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE
The new version of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is a
contemptible film: Vile, ugly and brutal. There is not a
shred of a reason to see it. Those who defend it will
have to dance through mental hoops of their own
devising, defining its meanness and despair as "style"
or "vision" or "a commentary on our world." It is not a
commentary on anything, except the marriage of slick
technology with the materials of a geek show.
Certainly they will not be frightened by it. It recycles
the same old tired thriller tools that have been worn
out in countless better movies. There is the scary noise
that is only a cat. The device of loud sudden noises to
underline the movements of half-seen shadows. The
van that won't start. The truck that won't start. The
car that won't start. The character who turns around
and sees the slasher standing right behind her.
Save your money on this remake!
Veronica Guerin may or may not have been a great
journalist, but she was certainly a brave and foolish one.
We know Veronica is going to die because that happens
in the first five minutes of the movie. All the rest is
flashback, showing how she arrived at the day of her
The film develops an undertone of horror; it's like
watching fate unfold.
Primetime Television Show Addresses
Know the actor you'd like to contact? Here's just a few
David Hackel Prod./Industry Ent./Paramount
5555 Melrose Avenue
Balaban, Suite A
Los Angeles, CA 90038
THE BROTHERHOOD OF POLAND, NEW HAMPSHIRE
David E. Kelley/20th Century Fox TV
1600 Rosecrans Ave.
Building 4A, 3rd Floor
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
CBS Productions/Warner Bros.
1600 Rosecrans Avenue
Building 7, 2nd Floor
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
JOAN OF ARCADIA
CBS Productions/Sony Pictures TV
10202 W. Washington Blvd., Tracy West
Culver City, CA 90232
According to Jim
CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604
AS THE WORLD TURNS
1268 East 14th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11230
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
7800 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
51 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
About This Newsletter
It was created to provide useful information for
authors and aspiring writers, especially those new to
the publishing process.
This newsletter is sent every Friday, covering book
marketing, writing, and related issues.
Other topics are added for our non writers, but who are
also interested in the in's & out of the publishing world,
as well as news tidbits.
To submit an article, query, or letter to the editor for
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See you next week... happy writing!
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with their comments in regards to our book & movie