Turning Jealousy into Success: Did Someone Beat You to It?

Turning Jealousy into Success
Or What You Can Do To Be the Featured Expert

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Someone Beat You To It, Huh?

Maybe we all have a tendency to feel disgruntled when our local newspaper quotes an expert who isn’t (really, he isn't!) as expert as we are! 

We feel even worse when when CNN features a talking head on the subject of their book and they disagree with us! 

Seems we have some choices. We can grumble to ourselves and lose sleep. We can write to whoever was remiss and complain. Or we can take positive action.

Here are your dos and don'ts: 

·     Whatever you do, do not complain on a social network or to the producer/talk show host or other media person about their lack of foresight (and appreciation of your brilliance).
·     Use your Googling skills to contact whoever was in charge (or to blame!) for this lack of foresight. Give yourself enough time to cool off and put your tactful hat on. Then, and only then, do you approach them. And you use a tactful approach: Something like, "Perhaps next time [subject x] comes up, you would like a different perspective on the topic. I also can offer expertise on related topics like xx and xx." 
·     Now it's time to use your query letter skills. Introduce yourself. Be very clear about your credentials. Unless you are famous, use your credential upfront--before your name per the advice of master PR Person Raleigh Pinsky. She gave me permission to use her script/template for how to approach reporters and others responsible for stories to put in the Appendix of The Frugal Book Promoter, second edition.  She explains that name-after-credentials plan. 
·       Send a product sample or a copy of your book with your media kit along with your query letter.
·      Repeat the process again when something similar hits the news. Your goal is to be remembered--or, better yet, be there when your editor or contact needs you.  Expand your campaign to include others who might cover the same kind of story.

Here's the number one biggest mistake you can make:
Don’t assume that because you write fiction, you can’t be an expert. Or because you are self-published, your expertise doesn't count. 
Of course your voice counts!  I am an expert on tolerance, polygamy, and a host of related subjects based on the theme and setting of my novel This Is the Place (www.bit.ly/ThisIsthePlace).  And yes, an author's expertise may rely at least in part on her profession outside the publishing industry.   All you have to do is examine the subjects of your fiction and see how it relates to what’s in the news. And be ready next time that subject come up in the news.  
Not all missed opportunities are missed forever. They can inspire us to do better next time around. 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of #HowToDoItFrugally books for writers including USA Book News’ winner for The Frugal Book Promoter. An instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers Program for nearly a decade, she believes in entering (and winning!) contests and anthologies as an excellent way to separate our writing from the hundreds of thousands of books that get published each year. Two of her favorite awards are Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment given by members of the California Legislature and Women Who Make Life Happen, given by the Pasadena Weekly newspaper. She is also an award-winning poet and novelist and she loves passing along the tricks of the trade she learned from marketing those so-called hard-to-promote genres.


Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, what great advice for authors. Always take the high road and know exactly what to do when a situation like that comes up. Thank goodness for your frugal book series!

Linda Barnett-Johnson said...

I feel positive attitude with everything is what it takes to be successful in life. Good article. I put it on my twitter.

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