What Writers Can Learn From Public Radio

The local radio station that I listen to every day (WRTI in Philadelphia) is in the midst of its spring membership drive right now. That, of course, means hour after hour of the radio hosts going on and on about how I should pledge, how the station depends on me, and how the only reason they can say on the air is because of the support of listeners like me.

WRTI 60Well, I do pledge to the station. Every month, in fact. And I’ll confess, I tend to find something else to listen to for the ten days or so that it takes for them to reach their goals.

But then I started thinking….

What if writers had pledge drives? Not for money, of course, but for reviews? You know what? The same sorts of things that I’ve been hearing on WRTI these last few days – that special pledge drive lingo – translates directly to the way that authors feel about their books and the need for support. Let’s try it out and see how it works, shall we?

“We here in the writing world depend on you, the reader, for support! We’re not funded by any government grants or big publishing company money. Our success depends on the actions of you, our readers. The cost of publishing a book is greater than you may realize. The only hope for making enough money to keep the books on your shelves is support from readers like you. All it takes is just a quick review, your voice being heard, to make the difference between a world filled with stories and one that is empty with no imagination. Write a review today and support stories and creativity!”

Ah ha! I think we’re on to something here. The same phraseology that is used in pledge drives fits the bill for encouraging readers to give something back. Let’s try another tactic I’ve heard on WRTI recently….

“When you write a review for a book you like you’re saying ‘Yes! Books matter!’ It makes you feel so good, so proud of the literary world in general and your part in particular to write that review and lend your support. When you write a review you’ll feel that sense of satisfaction that will stay with you throughout the day. You have done something important. You have made a difference! The author will thank you, but more importantly, your fellow readers will thank you. Your voice, your opinion, will help countless other readers who come after you searching for the next great story. And that’s a feeling of pride and accomplishment that no one can replace.”

Yes. Yes that’s it exactly. That’s what we as authors are going for. We want our readers to feel like they are a part of not only our stories, but our writing process and persona. Just like a public radio or television station, we need readers to be able to continue to write. Where radio and tv beats the methods writers have is to speak directly to that need, to address is full-force. Pledge drives are annoying, but they do give listeners a strong sense of just how important support for the arts is. Oh, and they give away some fabulous “thank you gifts”. But with supporting authors, reviewing books and buying more, the books themselves are the thank you gifts.

Of course, there’s another way besides just reviews that readers can support authors. I’ve got one of those myself, starting today….

Two of my novels, The Faithful Heart and The Courageous Heart, have made the semi-finals of InD’Tale Magazine’s first annual RONE Awards! In this round it all comes down to you, the reader. And I need you to vote for me. All you need to do is visit the website for InD’Tale Magazine, sign up for free to their site*, then vote for me in the category of Best Historical: Up Through Medieval Work.

The Faithful Heart_smallBecause you’re only allowed one vote per category and I’m nervous about splitting my fans across the two books nominated, I’m going to ask that you vote for The Faithful Heart. So when you get to the voting page after signing up and logging in, click on the button to vote for The Faithful Heart. Got that? The Faithful Heart.

By voting for The Faithful Heart any time from Friday, April 26th through Thursday, May 2nd, you will be supporting me in a way that will really matter. One simple action on your part will bring immeasurable joy to this humble writer! If you could take just thirty seconds out of your day, less than the amount of time you would spend checking your email or reading the latest messages in your Twitter feed, you can be responsible for making someone’s day. Your support is needed to make this possible! When you take the time and click on that button, when you vote for The Faithful Heart to make it through to the finals of the RONE Awards, you will be doing good that will have far-reaching effects. Just one click – just thirty seconds – and you will have paid it forward. You are capable of lighting up someone’s life! You have the power to bring happiness to one person, to those that have to put up with her moods, and to the world in general. For just a slight effort, you can make the world a better place!

Nice! I like this pledge drive lingo! It’s good stuff! So here you go, here’s that link to InD’Tale’s RONE Award voting page again:

http://indtale.com/rone-awards/2012/week-2

Remember, vote for The Faithful Heart. And thanks so much for your support!

So did it work? Whoever can point out the most tactics that I used in this post that are used by public radio and tv stations and post them in a comment below will win a free eCopy of the first book in my Montana Romance series, Our Little Secrets. Winner will be chosen and announced on Sunday. Hurry! Your time is running out!

*InD’Tale never sends superfluous emails when you sign up for the sight. They will email you a copy of their latest issue once a month, but that’s it. InD’Tale is an astoundingly professionally run magazine with articles about writing and romance that reviews the latest in all sub-genres of romance each month. It mirrors the style of RT (Romantic Times) Magazine, and I believe several of its key staff members formerly worked for RT.

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