Monkey Read, Monkey Should Do!

apeDoes the acronym HARO mean anything to you?

It should, because it just might be your ticket to free publicity, extensive exposure as a writer, and the means to grow a national reputation as an expert in your field.

HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out, and it’s a website where you register as an expert and news source. There is no fee to register, and while there is no guarantee that you will get tapped for information, it’s a chance you don’t want to miss. For nonfiction writers, it can become one more piece of a marketing plan to become known for their unique expertise, while fiction writers might consider their own research in specific topics as fodder for story ideas. According to HARO’s website, 30,000 members of the media have turned to HARO for assistance in developing stories; is there any reason you shouldn’t be one of those folks helping out a reporter?

Learning about HARO was just one of the things I learned from recently reading APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. While I have no desire to publish my own books, I still found the book informative and helpful, especially as I’ve grown from an author-wannabe to someone with five years of publication experience. The first section of the book was a good reminder that writers come in all shapes and sizes, with a range of motives, and that’s okay. It made me consider again the tenacious nature of writers who want to publish and gave me a new understanding of why people choose self-publishing. (It also made me realize that if I did decide to do a short ebook as a promotional opportunity for my other books, I could probably pull it off using APE as my guide.)

What I especially appreciated, though, was the book’s insistence that there is no escaping from the truth of today’s book business landscape: authors need to take responsibility for their books’ success, no matter how they are published.  APE gives valuable insight into the entire publishing process, which I’m convinced every author needs. Publishing is a business, and the sooner authors accept that, the more successful they will be! As an early publishing mentor of mine insisted, if you’re going to succeed, you better know how the business works. Kawasaki and Welch have done a fine job in giving readers the essentials of publishing.

Seeing as I’ve spent the last year trying to educate myself about platform and marketing, I found the last part of the book packed with practical suggestions and resources, like HARO, that I can play with as I continue to polish my marketing skills. The authors even include their own list of what they did to publish/market APE itself, providing readers with a basic outline for promoting any book, and offering links to learn more.

What are you APE-ing these days?

(Special thanks to Lucille Zimmerman, my agency-mate, who gave me the book to read!)

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