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Ten Million Eyeballs

Reducing Out of Pocket PR Expenses

by Celia Rocks

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. — When you decide that you're ready to start dealing with radio stations directly, get Alex Carroll's program. His top radio show database, tapes of dealing with producers, and examples of actual talk shows will help you to become a radio talk show star. Cost: Ranges from as little as $49 for a manual, to $397 for a database of 1,364 top shows sorted into 21 categories, to $997 for the complete package that shows you how to carry out a great national radio campaign. Alex knows his stuff.

Radio/TV Interview Report If you want to be booked on major radio shows around the country, advertise in this print publication that reaches more than 5,000 of the top radio and TV shows nationwide. Still the best service out there. Recommended. If you sign up for their free RTIR Info Kit, they'll also send you a bonus copy of 39 Ways to Get FREE Publicity as a Guest on Radio/TV Talk Shows Nationwide. — If you want to get on top national TV talk shows like Oprah, Good Morning America, Today and Larry King, Bradley Communications offers a directory of the top 240 national TV & cable shows that interview authors and other guests. You not only get contact names, addresses and emails but also detailed profiles on each show including what types of guests they want and the best ways to approach them. A great resource. Cost: $347 to $697, depending on whether or not you want any updates or bonuses.

Copyright 2011 by book publicity expert John Kremer

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