The following article was written by Celia Rocks of Rocks-Dehart Public Relations. This article originally appeared in the July 1996 issue of Book Marketing Update,
but it is still a useful guideline even today.
With thousand of media outlets today, and the high cost of mailing-related expenses, here are some ways to
reduce out-of-pocket expenses without reducing effectiveness.
A Great Book Cover Can Do The Trick!
Order extra copies of the book cover when you print. It's more economical to get extras at that time, and it's much
more cost-effective than blindly sending books. I do recommend sending books, but just not to everyone at once.
Now, if you've written a new book on religion, I'd definitely send a book to the religion editor at
The New York Times. Be selective, yet smart. But if you are not sure about the media outlet, there's no harm
in sending a book cover with info and following with a book if the media contact shows some interest or requests one.
More Is Not Always Better
Go a step further and produce a one-page camera-ready sheet (such as printed ad slicks but sturdier, black and white
is fine) that contains everything to entice the media to feature your book — such as the author's photo, the book cover
photo, general copy, and several photos with captions (or recipes or whatever) from the book. These sheets can be printed
economically. By supplying everything up front in one handy sheet, they are user-friendly for the media writer. These
sheets can also be easily scanned by most media art departments. Ask your printer about options.
Develop a Mailing Budget Up Front
Create A, B and C lists as a budget guideline. For instance, A list people receive books and kits, B list receive kits,
and C lists receive a book cover reprint and a press release in a regular envelope. Follow your list instructions and stay
within a budget.
Miss Manners Would Approve
Contrary to my usual advice that persistence is a virtue, voice mail is not an open invitation to continue to pitch your book until
you get a call back. Adopt a three call rule: If you leave three messages and your calls are not returned, move on. This will save
money on the telephone bill. You can always make contact again by sending an article pertinent to your book with a quick note.
Also, find the best long distance carrier that gives you calling incentives to make media calls. For instance, my
long distance carrier offered my company free calls on Friday for 52 weeks. Guess which day I make the majority of media
calls — no filing, writing, or meetings on Fridays! Also, when leaving a message, I let the reporter know when is a good
time to call. If they want to do a story, it helps organize their day to know when to find me at my desk.
Say Goodbye to the Fed-Ex Man
Plan ahead and send your book 4th class. There's no advantage to using expensive overnight services unless specifically
requested or time is an issue. And receiving a priority Fed- Ex doesn't impress people like it used to. I even add a
personal touch to my packages, by selecting stamps that reflect the theme of the book (if it's about radio, I use an
Elvis stamp). Sometimes I place interesting stickers on the envelope. For a Christmas book, I wrapped it up with Christmas
wrapping paper. With a little creative thought, the reporter can't help but open my package first!
A Thank You Is Worth Its Weight in Gold
If you neglect to send a simple thank you card with a personal note, you are missing out on the most valuable,
inexpensive tool available to you. Buy thank you notes in bulk at Sam's Warehouse or Office Depot.
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