Raise Your Hand if You Care

So the latest news today is…

  • Britney in Psych Ward for Two More Weeks…Though the 72-hour hold on Britney Spears is up, the pop star will be remaining in the psych…
  • More proof Angelina Jolie is pregnant
  • Eva Mendes enters rehab

[I won't do these headlines justice by giving you the links to the stories. You will have to do your own homework.]

This week as I watched the evening news I heard various stories that were not newsworthy!

  • Like the fact that there are now nude airline trips available (What? I don’t even like to share an armrest!)
  • A cat that took his own airline ride in a suitcase
  • More silly criminals that got caught
  • Life on Mars? It looks like Big Foot in the photos is wandering around the planet.

The newscasters had this look like… “This is what I went to journalism school for?”

Even the presidential race has turned into who said something insincere, rude, or with a hidden message. It’s a race to see what radio stations can dig up dirt on tantrums that all the candidates have had at one time or another in the past twenty years (Literally! I heard it!)

So, do we care?

The answer may surprise you… because YES… we should care (at least a little bit).

As an author we often get our heads stuck in books–if not writing our own, then devouring others. We hang out with reasonable people who share our passions and maybe even our faith. When was the last time you bought “OK” magazine or anything that had the word Alien on the cover? Did you get flustered when you had to pay for it and try to offer an explanation to the cashier of “I’m a writer doing research”? (Been there, done that.)

For many of us, however, we are writing books for people who do buy these magazines (gasp!) and do care that Angelina is pregnant again. And consider your book topic closely.

At a writers conference I recently attended a woman shared how she couldn’t seem to create any buzz about her book which was on the topic of morals for teen girls. I can’t think of a better time in our culture than now for selling this book. But who is going to buy it? The tween girls? No, their mothers, maybe even their grandmothers.

I told this author to go and buy all the tacky magazines she could find for women and girls and study them a few days. Saturate your brain a bit so you start thinking like the readers of these magazines think (Plan a time to detox later!) Look at the headlines. Do they say, “10 Ways to Raise a Moral Girl in 2008″? Nah…

With Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton being the “it” girls, I think there are loads of mothers out there desperately searching for some answers on how to avoid their daughters thinking of these girls as role models.

And why shouldn’t are daughters think we approve of these gals as role models? When our basic network television show stops the programming to see Paris walk out of jail, it’s obvious that even adults consider this news and something noteworthy.

So how could you pitch, say, radio programs? Change your pitching titles, but consider the audience. If I was pitching a Christian radio show my my titles would be a little softer than it I was trying to get on a secular morning show.

Think of topics one couls slant a book on morals for girls: How about:

  • “5 Ways to Get Your Daughter Out the Door Without Showing Her Belly Button”
  • “6 Secrets Teens Girls Don’t Want You to Know About Their Clothes and Self Esteem”
  • “I Was a Slutty Teen. Now I’m a Moral Mom. How to Get Your Teen to Gain Morals Early in Life”
  • “Is Your Tween Hannah Montana or Brittney Spears? How to Teach Teens to Think For Themselves and be Smart Before It’s too Late!”
  • “Too Much Skin on Aisle Four! How Can Moms Expect Their Kids to Cover Up When Even They Can’t Go to the Grocery Store Without a Tank Top Two Sizes Too Small?” 

And then remember… prom season is coming up! 

  • “How to Convince Your Teen to Dress Like a Princess for the Prom, Not a Slut”
  • “How to Go Prom Dress Shopping With Your Daughter–Fight Free!”

And consider the fact that all of these would be a bit controversial which would mean callers could call in! You could even provide the hosts with some call-in ideas like, “What was the funniest thing your mom wouldn’t allow you to wear?” “When Mom says no! What did you sneak to school to wear that your mom wouldn’t have let you out of the house with?”

If you wanted to go all the way, you could design a shirt and throw it up for sale over at CafePress.com or have a few that go along with your theme like  http://www.teesforchange.com or http://www.jensideas.com which have positive sayings.

One book that I picked up at Costco hit this theme, Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank: A Slightly Tarnished Southern Belle’s Words of Wisdom. Sadly, the chapter on dressing six-year-olds was “laugh out loud funny” because it was to true! Believe it or not, I didn’t even get to wear the color black until I was thirteen– and then I got my first pair of black slacks. My mom and her mom both considered black an “adult color.” Sometimes I think they had the right idea.

As an author, we have to read these publications, Time Magazine, sure but Soap Digest too. If these magazines were not giving their audience what they wanted they would not still exist. And if you have a message in your book that needs to be heard, you may have to package it a bit creatively so that people want to read it.

So! Go buy the magazines! No apologies necessary. Just pick up some Fiddle Faddle and a root beer while your there and consider it all reasearch.

 

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Lisa and Joel Copen have a variety of experience in founding a nonprofit that receieves over 80,000 visitors per month, music and sound editing, web design, and book marketing and publishing. They look forward to your ideas to make the series of ebooks on book promotion a practical tool to help you sell more books!

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