Thursday, August 23, 2018
Get Noticed: How to Submit Your Author News to Newsletters
Part of The Writer's Life Series
JH: Many organizations rely on volunteers to handle things such as newsletters and blogs, and the harder you make it for them to piece together your writing news, the less likely they are to use it. Ann Meier, newsletter guru for the Florida chapter of MWA, visits the lecture hall today to share tips on how you can make sure your news gets out there.
Ann Meier lives in Orlando and writes Mysteries with a Theme Park Smile for both adult and middle grade readers. Her humorous adult cozy series features an Orlando attraction manager, who unfairly catches the blame when a parade float crushes her boss. Ann’s middle grade mysteries feature an eleven-year-old boy named Buddy, who on the Orlando Area Attractions Kids’ Advisory Board. As he roams the parks, he finds lots of fun mysteries to solve.
The books’ parks are fictional, but Meier was a manager on the Universal Orlando Resort opening team. She also worked at Walt Disney World. She’s received five Royal Palm Literary Awards from The Florida Writers Association for her manuscripts. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and Florida Writers Association. She has co-authored a college textbook, written journal articles, and worked in human resources for a Fortune 100 company. She earned an undergraduate degree in English from Ball State University and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is represented by Elizabeth Trupin-Pulli of the JET Literary Agency.
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Take it away Ann...
Many writing organizations provide newsletters where you can announce new books, sales to publishers, contest wins, conference presentations, and book signings as a member benefit. Yes! Free publicity. I’ve been editing just such a newsletter for the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America for several years. I’m a volunteer and a writer. The more time I spend fixing your submission, the less time I have for my own writing.
If you want a newsletter editor to love you, here are some submission tips:
Become familiar with how the newsletter presents information on new books, wins, sales, and appearances, then provide your information in the same way—no more and no less.
Read the publication’s requirements and honor them. Sounds simple, right? Yet so many authors don’t. And believe me, it makes the editor’s job a lot harder.
Meet the publication’s deadline. Earlier is better. If there’s something missing from your submission, the editor will have time to let you know. Late submissions became such a problem for me that I began to present author news in the order it was received. Early birds received better placement. One awesome author was constantly late so I finally let her know her news was always at the end of the newsletter because she provided it so late. Now, she never misses a deadline.
Early submissions give you and the editor time to fix problems. What could you possibly leave out? I’ve had authors not mention they write under a different name, forget to provide the publication date, not include where the book is available, send the wrong book cover along with their news,or not send along a blurb to let potential readers know what the book’s about.
Since many authors are announcing their books, make it easy on the editor to find your attachments. When I’m placing images of book covers in my newsletter, it’s so much easier to match the cover with the story if the attached files have names that match either the title or the author’s name. Each month, I deal with maybe twenty book announcements. When I’m ready to match the jpg file with the blurb, I don’t want to scroll through twenty files named my book, front cover, final cover, large cover, or squee I have a book cover.
When you review the publication you want to submit to notice how the book descriptions are written. If announcements are written in third person, submit yours that way as well. It’s tedious for the editor to change all those first person pronouns into third person.
If there is something quirky about your book or you, give the editor a heads up in the email you send with your news. For example, I once corrected copy that was right in the first place. Who knew there are two schools with almost identical names—Seton Hill and Seton Hall? I bet you can guess what happened there. Which leads to another tip. If an editor makes a mistake with your submission, let the editor know, but do so politely. Most will rerun your news with an apology and you get more publicity without a lot of angst for either you or the editor.
Make it easy on the editor to include your news. Send everything you want included at one time to the editor. I’ll spell this one out. Don’t ask the editor to grab your details from your website. Also honor any requests the editor makes. I ask for photos to be jpg attachments. I don’t want embedded photos, and I don’t want links. You don’t need to know why an editor sets parameters, you just need to give them what they ask for.
If you’re announcing a contest win or an inclusion in an anthology or a sale to a magazine, send along a file with the contest logo/award banner, or the cover for the anthology or magazine. If none of those are available, the newsletter may use your author photo. Again, become familiar with what the newsletter typically does with news like yours.
If you’re in doubt, ask the editor for preferences. It’s perfectly okay to ask that the editor to acknowledge the receipt of yours news—unless their guidelines say otherwise.
And don’t be this guy or gal – if the newsletter runs one paragraph book news, send the blurb, don’t send a synopsis. If the newsletter runs just book descriptions, don’t sent eight endorsements or quotes from reviews or brag about your Amazon standing or how many five-star reviews you’ve received—or worse do all of these in one notice. And once your news runs, don’t try to sneak it in again. Yeah, it happens more than you’d think.