Wednesday, March 2, 2016

When Letters Sell A Book

The letter-to-the-editor is a terrific way to not only get a viewpoint out to the masses, it’s also useful to promote your book.

Letters published by newspapers and magazines appear online as well, so when people search for your name or the topic that you wrote on, the search may pull your letter up.

So what’s the key to getting a letter published?

Frist, read that publication so that you know what is in it. Second, find a specific story, column, or editorial that you want to react to. If you agree with it, your chances of being published increase. Third, find a way to word your letter in a way that sounds smart, using an economy of words and speaking with wit and verve.

So how do you plug your book into the letter?  You state that you wrote it, in part, because of what the publication is speaking about.  Let’s say there’s a column about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, talking about how it objectifies women’s bodies.  Let’s say your book is on the topic of healthy body images.  Boom.  Link the two, mention your title by name, praise the publication’s story, and end with a slogan-like sound bite.

I recently had a letter published by The New York Daily News.  I’ve had a bunch of them published over the years.  I never mentioned a book – I just wanted to share my thoughts on an issue. What I’ve found is most of the letters that I submit seem to have a chance of getting published. I don’t think they get a tremendous amount of letters, so the odds are in your favor.

Another thing that could happen as a result of writing to a publication’s editor is that it introduces you to that media outlet.  If they like your letter, it might be a lead-in to get an op-ed published.

Most letters are short and to the point. Think of having 50 words to play with.  Use them wisely.  Follow the formula:  reference the article, praise it, relate it to your book and conclude with a positive action step.

It doesn’t matter if you regularly read the publication or if you even like it.  Use it to your advantage.  Win over the readers by saying something they already agree with.  Lastly email your letters as opposed to physically mailing them – it expedites the process.  Good luck.

2016 Book Marketing & Book Publicity Toolkit

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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