Well, two posts ago I said my next post would be about marketing efforts for Documenting America. Events of the weekend caused me to alter that, and I’m tempted to alter it again. Last night we were in a string of strong thunder storms that spawned a number of tornados, strong straight-line winds, and much rain. That caused us to move to the basement twice, and keep our eyes glued to television to watch the progress of the storms. But, thunder storms are common here (not in January), so it almost isn’t newsworthy.
My thoughts for marketing Documenting America are to simultaneously send forty query letters, ten to newspapers in each of the four states closest to me: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. While not really an idealogical column, I’m sure DA will reflect my conservative politics without my even trying. These four states are all conservative, and should be good targets. I plan to query smaller papers in smaller towns and cities, both weeklies and dailies. I will query based on not marketing to competing newspapers.
Why not just target one of my local papers? Or the larger papers in these states? I will include two of the newspapers in the area that are non-competing, including the one that published the four trial ones. Obviously, I’m a no-name, and the larger papers may be unwilling to take on a columnist with almost no publishing track record. Smaller papers, I hope, will be more willing to do so. And, if I go with the larger papers, with their larger distribution, staying with only non-competing papers will reduce the number of potential papers. The fewer I can market to, the fewer I’m likely to be accepted in. So, if I market the column to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, since it has state-wide distribution, I could not market it to anyone else till I heard back from them. I don’t want my options tied up like that.
What is the likelihood of success? I’d tell you my dreams for this, but you’d laugh at me. Let me simply say I believe the column idea is unique, the writing is good, the length is right, the frequency is right, and the country is ripe for this kind of column. A few beta readers, from diverse backgrounds, and all found it worthwhile and something they would read. For all these reasons, I believe I’ll be accepted at more than one newspaper.