We love when our authors get involved with company stuff, especially when they share their expertise with other authors, illustrators, artists, reporters…well, you get the idea! So here’s a tidbit from Sylvan Dell’s 2010 author, Jeanne Walker Harvey. Read on for an amazing source that just might help you reach your target audience in the publishing world!
HARO: Here We Come!
by Jeanne Walker Harvey
When a baby’s born, parents do everything they can to nourish and support that child. And that’s just what I plan to do with my baby—my book baby, that is. It’s a dream come true to have my first picture book (Astro the Steller Sea Lion, Sylvan Dell Publishing, August 2010) published. And I plan to do everything I can to help it flourish in the marketplace.
So I attended an amazing seminar, called “Getting Eyes for Your Blog, Book or Website,” led by Cheryl McLaughlin, publicist/marketing guru (www.cherylmclaughlin.com), at my favorite bookstore (well, actually one of my favorite places in the world) – Book Passage in Corte Madera, California (http://www.bookpassage.com/).
One of Cheryl’s many nuggets of wisdom was to recommend checking out http://www.helpareporter.com/, run by Peter Shankman. Peter is a media guy who was receiving lots of requests from reporter friends for sources for articles they were writing. He first set up a list on Facebook, but as he explains on the site, “Facebook caps group emails at 1,200 people,” so he moved to a website.
Cheryl emphasizes that not only print journalists, but also morning shows and radio shows looking for guests, contact experts (such as authors) who can share their knowledge about a topic. The site tells participants who sign up that “each day, you’ll receive up to three emails, each with anywhere from 15-30 queries per email. They’ll all be labeled with [shankman.com] in the subject line, for easy filtering. If you see a query you can answer, go for it! HelpAReporter.com really is that simple.” The site is free for the reporters and sources. Cheryl explains that these messages, or “HAROs”, are paid for by advertisers, and Peter “always does these sponsorships in his own voice and there’s humor.”
Cheryl says, “I like his approach. It’s honest and very helpful. I’ve gotten quite a few media exposures from his site for my clients, including for authors. The site has a personal feel, and he slams down right away on anyone who doesn’t follow the rules or misuses the site.”
Peter states on his site that “the only thing I ask: By joining this list, just promise me and yourself that you’ll ask yourself before you send a response: Is this response really on target? Is this response really going to help the journalist, or is this just a … way for me to get my client in front of the reporter? If you have to think for more than three seconds, chances are, you shouldn’t send the response.”
On Peter’s personal site (http://shankman.com/), he wrote, “In August 2008, there were 1500 journalists using HARO, sending out 650 queries per month to about 20,000 sources. A year later, there are 30,000 journalists who have used HARO, sending out more than 3000 queries per month to over 80,000 members.” Obviously, his idea was a good one!
So, to help launch ASTRO THE STELLER SEA LION and my other picture book, MY HANDS SING THE BLUES (Marshall Cavendish, March 2011), I plan to join the ranks of HARO users!
About Jeanne: Jeanne Walker Harvey (Astro the Stellar Sea Lion, Fall 2010) has been a long timemember of SCBWI with publications in Writer’s Digest, Cricket Magazine, Nation’s Business, SCBWI’s ACORN, Creativity Connection, Parent’s Expecting and Teachers of Vision, including articles pertaining to nature and marine animals. Currently, she teaches Language Arts and a Writing Workshop at her local public middle school. She has a degree in English literature and psychology from Stanford University. For many years, she volunteered as a school docent for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Marin Literacy Program. Growing up in Orange County, California, she was always fascinated by the ocean and marine mammals. She lives in Marin County, California, with her husband and two teenage sons and a black lab who sits at her feet when she writes. (Photo credit ©2009 PhilipHarvey.com)