If you want your book read by millions, what's the fastest way to get there?
You'd need your book endorsed by a publication that reaches millions — like O, The Oprah Magazine.
My friend Abbe Wright used to work in-house at O, The Oprah Magazine, reviewing books for their monthly column. Now she writes for Glamour magazine, and continues to write features and review books for many magazines and online outlets.
I wanted Abbe to share what it takes to get YOUR book into O, The Oprah Magazine. Here's what she had to say…
Amongst all the books you received at Oprah, how did you decide which books to review?
There were at least 25 books on my desk each day, along with hundreds of email pitches, so I couldn't respond to everyone. However, I did my best to give each book a chance by reading the first 20 pages. We always featured a mix of really well-known authors and new authors. I always gravitated towards the underdog.
If I had a relationship with someone, I'd make the extra effort to consider their book and follow up. Having a great book cover and strong endorsements also helped certain books to stand out.
How would someone go about creating a relationship with a book editor?
Editors are very busy. There are hundreds of people asking for our time every day. While it's a nice gesture to ask an editor out to coffee or lunch, it's going to be tough for us to do.
Here's what I recommend instead:
- Write a strong email. I can't stress enough how important this is. Know how to craft an email with words that will grab my attention.
- Do your research about what magazine you are pitching to. Know the types of books they cover, and if yours would be a fit. You'd be surprised by how many books I would get that are not a fit at all for the Oprah audience.
- Do your research about the editor you are pitching to. For example, I would love when someone would mention that they enjoyed an article of mine, or wanted to pitch something related to something else I'd published. The extra effort is definitely noticed and appreciated!
- Send the book in creative packaging. One of Selena's clients, Christine Egan (author of The Healthy Girl's Guide to Breast Cancer), sent me her book with a glass straw, which I now use every day. Other books arrived with confetti or cookies, which were always fun! (I'm not saying you have to butter me up, but those books certainly stood out!)
- Have great press and powerful endorsements. I also love to see what buzz you're getting for your work. What are other authors saying about your book? Who else is in your inner circle, raving about you?
Do you have any other tips for readers?
Be active on social media. It's a great way to get your voice heard and get noticed. For example, I came across one author because I saw her interacting with my colleagues on Twitter. She was posting funny tweets about her writing process. I started following her.
Six months later, I met her at a party and then we built the relationship very organically. When her book came out, she emailed me and said she would love for me to read it — which I did! By that point, I felt very invested in her success.
While the book wasn't exactly for the Oprah reader, I went out on a limb and reviewed it for Oprah.com.
As Abbe said, the best way to get noticed by a magazine editor is by building a relationship the right way.
As you reach your next level of success, it's not just about what you know. It's about who you know.
So it's important to start building those relationships early on, because you never know when an opportunity could come along when one of your relationships could help grow your business.