How do I approach the features editor at my county newspaper to bring back a book related column that I would write? The reason for the column’s demise a few years ago is because the columnist left the paper and the paper cut back on features in their lifestyles section.
I want to bring back the newspaper column because I miss it and I’m quite sure others in the community do as well. I noticed that within the past month they featured the summer reading book list of the local library and one columnist mentioned in her article that she received a few emails asking her about suggestions for books.
So, I do see a need but how do I approach the newspaper paper to show them that need can be fulfilled by me and offer it on a monthly basis?
p.s. I wouldn’t mind asking for a trial run.
Thank you for your time
Start by putting together six samples, perhaps based on a list at the library – if you can tie it to the library you have a better chance because it helps the newspaper be good citizens and speak to that group of people.
Another thought might be to link it to any local bookstores. That way the paper has a chance to go to the bookstores and ask for ads. For example, if a bookstore could offer a 5% discount the week you pitch the book, they might be willing to buy an ad to pitch that.
Yes, working with an advertiser breaks the wall between editorial and advertising but it may be necessary for the small paper.
Actually, what I’d probably do is put together the six samples… make sure two or three tie to the library, then get an appointment with the editor. Tell the her briefly that you’d like to write the column for them and that you’ve tied some of the samples to the library’s list of good books. Let him read and see what the reaction is. If it’s favorable ask him how much she’d be willing to pay. I don’t suggest offering it for free for period of time because the paper really won’t have much feedback and may drop you quickly just because.
Save the idea of ties to bookstores as a last gasp effort.
Be flexible about pay and be flexible about how often the column would be published.
Give it a try and let us know what happens.
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