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Are You Willing to Help a Reporter Out, and Help Yourself Too?

Reporters and other media are always under deadlines, so a service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a tremendous help in getting the sources they need for their stories. When YOU are source they need, you help yourself too because you get exposure for your book, business or service. This popular sourcing service connects journalists,bloggers, and other writers with relevant expert sources to meet their demanding deadlines and enable brands, like you, to tell their stories.

There are five reasons you should use HARO.

  1. They distribute more than 50,000 journalist queries from highly respected media outlets each year.
  2. Their pitching process  is straight forward allowing you to find topics related to your expertise, industry or experience, while allowing journalists to spend more time writing and less time sourcing.
  3. It’s free.
  4. You have lots of chances to find a relevant story because they post frequently–three times a day
  5. When your entry is published, you get massive exposure, sometimes to major media.

Five things to know before using HARO.

  1. You must be a registered user at HARO to start receiving the pitches.
  2. You are pitching your expertise in a given topic, not your book. For example, if you homeschooled your children for twelve years, you can certainly talk about homeschooling without regard for your book’s topic. It doesn’t hurt, of course, if your topic and your book are the same.
  3. The journalist or media may be masked so you don’t always know if you’re pitching to a regional, local, or major media, but free exposure is still gold.
  4. The deadlines are tight so you must act fast.
  5. The reporter has the final say on the editing, so they reserve the right to paraphrase, punctuate and abbreviate.

Two examples of authors who got exposure by responding to HARO.

Gisela Hausmann, who writes and speaks about mainly about PR, had written a book about her experiences with building a fire pit, so she easily gravitated to the request for information on this topic.

Here’s what Gisela posted on Facebook today

Hello all,

Remember, how in my book “BOOK MARKETING The Funnel Factor” I present that famous pitch about planting veggies? Of course, there is a reason, it comes up every year.

Well, FOXNews is looking for people who can pitch it – #rightnow. FOXNews is a phenomenal media outlet. I had my fire pit book featured there. Never marketed the book at all and still sold quite many copies just because it was mentioned on FOXNews.

If you can pitch the veggie story do it NOW!
All details below. YOU MUST be a registered user at HARO, the rest is featured below.

If you have troubles phrasing your pitch, follow the templates in my book.

Good Luck!!!

IMPORTANT: As for this comment: Looking for gardening professionals… Don’t be hung up on that, I am not a professional fire pit builder and still made it on FOXNews, You just gotta demonstrate that you know your stuff.


37) Summary: 5 Top Tips for Growing Your Own Food Outdoors

Name: Katie Jackson Fox News (Online)
Category: Lifestyle and Fitness

Email: query-6nbe@helpareporter.net

Media Outlet: Fox News (Online)

Deadline: 7:00 PM MST - 17 March



I'm working on a story featuring IMPORTANT tips for having a
successful garden. These should be things you can do now, i.e.
to prep the soil for the upcoming summer season.

Looking for insight from gardening professionals! Thanks in
advance, and I'll respond if it looks like I can feature you.


Outdoors only. Food not products tips


I confess that I would have missed this HARO query if not for my eagle-eyed friend Shirley George Frazier.


4) Summary: 5 common mistakes people make in their pursuit of happiness

Name: Jeff Moore Everyday Power Blog

Category: General

Email: query-6amp@helpareporter.net

Media Outlet: Everyday Power Blog

Deadline: 7:00 PM EST - 17 November


With over 200,000 monthly views Everyday Power Blog's readers
would love to learn about: 5 common mistakes people make in
their pursuit of happiness. What steps can I take? Check us out
at EverydayPowerBlog.com


For consideration please send your response to the query, a
short bio, head shot and social media links to

After I responded to this query, I got a request to expand my contribution to a 600-word article. Like Gisela, I have written a book on the topic, but that is not always the case with HARO.

 7 Surefire Ways to Set Yourself Up for Happiness.

Now, how about you? Are you willing to help a reporter out, and yourself too? Have you already responded to a HARO query? What was your experience? Share it in Speak Your Mind.

Get Your Book Noticed by Piggybacking on Holidays, Observances, and News

Girl riding piggyback on her borther's shoulders


You’re not one of those people who grumbles about stores rolling out their displays many weeks before a holiday or observance, are you?

I hope not!

You can’t afford to think like the average consumer.

If you have a book for sale, you are a business person. Take a lesson from the retailers and get your book noticed early and often.

This is a smart move for two reasons:

  1. The popular holidays and observances already have high visibility because of pervasive ads and their many followers, devotees, Facebook fans and so on. In addition, you can get loads of ideas from the groups and websites that already promote them.

It’s no wonder that just before the Super Sunday businesses offer a “Big Game Special” or a gift basket retailer names a design “Extreme Tailgate Super Sunday Party”

Tip: If you decide to tie in to that big game on Super Sunday, however, don’t use the actual words “Super Bowl” in your promotion. Not only do you want to keep the focus on your brand, but you want avoid getting sacked by the NFL.

  1. The media is always looking for stories, especially that tie in to the news. This is where you can use newsjacking,  the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story so you and your ideas get noticed. a term coined by David Meerman Scott,


In July 2011 when Los Angeleans learned that a 10-mile stretch of the busy 405 freeway would be shut down for 53 hours, they dubbed the expected traffic delay Carmageddon. Some businesses announced they’d be closed. Others got creative. Jet Blue Air, for example, launched an “Over-the-405” promotion offering special nonstop flights between nearby cities Long Beach and Burbank priced at just $4 each way, taxes and fees included.

Just as big events and news tie-ins can help you get media attention, pairing your business with month, week and special day observances can help uncover hidden profits.

When you find a way to share your knowledge, expertise, and skills to help your readers, subscribers, social media contacts and customers, you enrich your value and uncover potential profits you may otherwise have missed otherwise. These tie-ins are also great content for compelling press releases.

Here are a few ideas to get you rolling.

  • Author Lynette Smith used World Gratitude Day, September 21st to urge her subscribers and readers to express their appreciation to another person in tangible, written form. She directed followers to her site, GoodWaysToWrite.com , for the best tools available.
  • In preparation for Family Reunion Month in July, a marriage and family therapist could offer a workshop on mending fences or an event planner could offer tips on creating a successful reunion.
  • Life coaches, self-help authors and spa owners could suggest ways customers can practice mindfulness during Spiritual Wellness Month in March or host meditation and weekend retreats.
  • National Financial Literacy Month in April is a great time for financial planners, accountants, schools and financial institutions to offer workshops, checklists, and planning tools.
  • You can even create an anti-holiday tie-in or call attention to the dark side of popular days such as when I remind my subscribers in February that Love Shouldn’t Hurt on Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day.

Discover these holidays and observances

There are many sources listing these observances, some even quirky or a day in history. Here are a few sources to get you started.



Until the early 80’s in the USA only the President and Congress had the right to declare a day a holiday. But it was decided that Congress was spending too much time in approving and denying holidays, so the practice was abandoned. Now anyone can declare and publicize a holiday, recognition or awareness day. You are free to publicize and celebrate it.

How about creating your own celebration day. There is even an official day set aside for you to do just that. Chase’s Calendar of Events has listed March 26th as Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

Chase’s Calendar of Events is the authoritative guide to special occurrences, holidays, anniversaries, celebrity birthdates, religious observances, sporting events, and more from around the world. It was created in 1957 by two brothers, William D. Chase and Harrison V. Chase, to provide a comprehensive reference to calendar dates and observances. If you want your celebration listed in their directory, submit the required information. Get the details here

Even if you can’t get your day listed in Chase’s Calendar, you can register it http://nationaldaycalendar.com/register-a-national-days

You don’t have to get permission or wait to be listed in either of these directories before creating your day.


Promote your day

Creating your day is just the start, however. You must get others involved, promote your day, and create buzz. You can garner publicity by creatively and assertively tying the day to your book, business or service like these companies did:

Go ahead and get busy piggybacking on holidays, observances, and newly created events or your own day. Just don’t forget to send out your press releases and announce it on social media.

Tell us in Speak Your Mind which of these you’ve used to promote your book.


[Free Training] 7 Ways to Get More from Your Website

Your website should work for you to deliver all the clients you want.

It should easily build your email list…

It should get more people to like and follow you on social media…

It should make it easy for your potential clients to just “know” that they need to work with you…

And it should be “right there” when your people search Google.

You website should serve YOU!
(not the other way around)

If your website isn’t doing everything you think it should to bring you more clients and more sales, then maybe its time for a makeover…

That’s why I’m excited to share this free training from my friend and WordPress expert, Christina Hills:

“7 Ways to Get More Prospects, More Clients and More Money from Your Website”

Register for free right here.

In this FREE LIVE webinar, you’ll see just how easy it is to…

• Grow Your Email List by Offering Free Reports, Videos, Newsletters, eCourses, and White Papers Easily, from Every Page of Your Website
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Go here to register now.

Your website should be working for you around the clock. And if it’s not, chances are it’s turning people away.

Attend Christina’s webinar to find out how to just how simple it can be to get your website to attract more people and build your email list!

P.S. Christina is soooo good at explaining complex topics in a way that’s easy to follow and FUN. Save your seat for her live training here.

Please note that I am an affiliate in Christina’s program, and will receive a commission if you choose to invest in her program.


2017 Indie Author Day Gears Up

My table at the 2016 Indie Author Day October 8, 2016 Anaheim Main Library, Anaheim, CA



Thanks to my friend Melissa Guzzetta, author of Private Lucky,​ for notifying me of the Indie Author Day webinar , Evidence for Indies, presented on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Somehow I missed seeing the announcement, but thankfully I jumped on just as it was starting.

The panel of four was made up of the following:

  • Kiera Parrott, reviews director for ​School Library Journal and ​Library Journal and a former children’s librarian
  • Carla Sarratt, Virtual Services Librarian with New Hanover County Public Library
  • Carl Pritzkat, president of ​BookLife.com​, Publishers Weekly’s website dedicated to indie authors
  • K. S. Brooks, an award-winning author and photographer administrator for the superblog IndiesUnlimited.com and member of the Indie Author Day advisory boardRead more about the panel from their biographies on the pdf EvidenceforIndiesWebinar-Bios

The second annual Indie Author Day has been set for Saturday, October 14, 2017, and a few libraries are already making plans.  The organizers plan to have other webinars and encourage libraries to host events throughout the year to help indie authors learn and follow best practices for indie publishing.

While they confessed that libraries have been not always been open to self-published books, the attitude has changed as indie authors are becoming more professional. It also helps that highly successful best-selling indie authors such as Hugh Howell and JA Konrath  have freely shared their journeys and advocated for authors. Check out their websites of these two successful authors for loads of encouragement and guidance.

The speakers encouraged indie authors to approach your local library, but be sure you’re talking to the decision maker. They reminded us that a library’s decision to invest in a book are based on many things, but they strongly rely on reviews from respected third party sources.

I’m not sure the Evidence for Indies webinar was recorded, but they provided a download of the slideshow. Download it here Evidence for Indies Slideshow

Visit http://indieauthorday.com/ to learn more about what’s shaping up for 2017. They will need our support and involvement, so please offer your ideas as they request on the site, and by all means, approach your local library to encourage them to participate.

In the meantime, read the post below to see what authors from last year’s Indie Author Day had to say about their participation.

Indie Authors Have More to Love at the Library: Transformation

Five Unique Alternatives to Making New Year’s Resolutions [Revisited]

Making promises at the start of the year to improve ourselves has a long and colorful history dating back 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. They were typically reaffirming loyalty to the reigning king or promising to pay debts or return borrowed items.

In spite of the fact that most of us are unable to keep our resolutions, we can’t seem to resist making them when a new year holds the promise of a new start. Perhaps taking a different approach will help us be more successful. Here are five unique alternatives to making New Year’s resolutions.


Do One Big Thing Each Day

Making to-do lists, completing planners, and setting priorties aren’t new, but Nick Burka a developer based in Montréal, Canada made this app for himself that simplifies this process. It’s free. Since I tend to spread myself too thin trying to do too much in a day, this approach appealed to me. You can do other smaller things, of course, but your main daily goal is just one thing. If you insist on themes and stickers, you can upgrade to a paid version.  What kind of developer would he be if he didn’t give you that option?


Create a Want List

Jennifer Mattern says ask yourself what you really want for your life, what will make you happy. Then write it all down. Avoid setting deadlines or creating SMART GOALS that may begin to feel like putting pressure on yourself. The things on your want list are not time-sensitive. Some may take more than a day or a year to achieve.  You can do tiny things to move toward your wants, but you also can change your mind when you discover that you don't REALLY want an item anymore.



Take a Trip of a Lifetime

Suzy Strutner, Associate Lifestyle Editor, The Huffington Post lists 12 types of trips you should take in your lifetime. Forget about setting loads of resolutions, and take one amazing trip instead. As much as I travel, I discovered I've only taken four of the types she recommends. How about you? Check out her list and share in Speak Your Mind which of these you've taken.



Set an Intention with One Word

Zoe Saldana and her sisters explain in the video below



Make a Commitment to Someone Other Than Yourself


Who says resolutions have to be about fixing what you see as wrong with yourself or going after achievements. Instead, how about donating time to a cause you care about. Or visiting a friend or relative who can no longer get around as they once did. Or supporting a fellow author or entrepreneur at  book signing or other event. These commitments do not have to be long-term or forced. Last year I committed to spend the day with an 80 year old friend once each month of the summer. I also attended book signings to support fellow authors, helped set up an auction for one of my favorite charities, and volunteered as a mentor at my alma mater.

Give your presence. It means a lot.

[This article was originally published in 2017, but since the ideas in it are still worth doing, I'm sharing it again.]


Tell us in Speak Your Mind which idea resonates with you or suggest another alternative to making New Year's resolutions.