by Patricia Fry
How to Sell Your Books
Through Magazine Articles
(appeared in National Writer's Association publication, Authorship,
Congratulations! You're a published author. You can relax and enjoy the
accolades, right? WRONG! Now your work really begins-that of marketing manager.
You produced your book to be read. It's time to solicit readers. How do you
plan to do that?
There are literally hundreds of ways to promote your book. In fact, I
feature around 100 low and no cost marketing tips in my upcoming book, Over 75
Good Ideas For Promoting Your Book (October, 2000). One of my favorite methods
of marketing my own self-published and traditionally published books is through
Many popular magazines use excerpts (or material extracted from books).
Generally, they want excerpts from books that relate to their magazine-editors
of cooking magazines want excerpts from cookbooks. The editor of a regional
magazine might be interested in excerpting your book on local bed and breakfast
Be creative in your search for appropriate magazines. If your book features
native American art, for example, a California history or travel magazine might
be interested in publishing your chapter on California tribes. An excerpt from
a book on tax tips for home-based businesses might provide a good article for a
writing or graphic arts magazine. I've sold excerpts from my book, The Mainland
Luau: How to Capture the Flavor of Hawaii in Your Own Backyard, to periodicals
in several categories, including general, association, travel, camping, family,
cooking and regional.
Probably the most popular book promotion articles are like the one you're
reading now-new articles that relate to the content of the book. Once you've
written a book, you're considered an expert on that topic. If you have
something fresh to say on the subject, editors will be interested in seeing
I wrote a book called Creative Grandparenting Across the Miles: Ideas for
Sharing Love, Faith and Family Traditions. Now I'm considered an expert on
grandparenting issues. I've sold articles featuring storytelling techniques for
grandparents, how to teach grandchildren money awareness, traveling with
grandchildren, how grandparents can uphold family traditions, great gifts for
grandkids and tips for helping grandparents bond with their new grandbaby. But
I can also plug my book even if I'm writing an article about snails,
caregiving, the empty nest syndrome or scrapbooking. For the snail piece, I
might mention that, when I was writing the grandparenting book, I met a
grandfather who paid his 5-year-old grandson a penny-a-piece to catch his
garden snails in a bucket. For the scrapbooking article, I could suggest that
scrapbooking is a great way for grandparents and grandchildren to bond and
then, of course, I'd introduce my book.
Add a Tagline
Most editors include a tagline at the bottom of your article with a little
information about the author. Even if your article has nothing to do with your
book topic this is a great opportunity to plug one of your books. I might say,
"Patricia Fry is the author of several books, including A Writer's Guide
to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit (Matilija Press,
What are the benefits of having articles on the theme of your book published
in national and even regional magazines? At the very least, exposure for your
book and, most likely, sales. It helps to position you as an expert in your
field. And you might even get paid. A magazine may pay anywhere from $50 to
$2000 for a feature article.
But some editors will ask to publish your article for free. Should you even
consider giving away your work? Why not? It's like getting thousands of dollars
in free advertising in a magazine that reaches anywhere from 30,000 to 300,000
- Study the magazines for which you want to write.
- Ask for Writers Guidelines and follow them. If the editor wants to see a
query letter first, do not send the completed article. If they want third
person stories, don't write in first person. If the word count is 1200, don't
send them 2000 words.
- Avoid blatant commercialism. Editors want informative, useful and
entertaining articles, not an advertisement for your book.
- Clearly represent your article to the editor. Is this an excerpt from your
book or an original article?
Patricia Fry is the author of A Writers
Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit (Matilija Press,