Author Tools: Help a Reporter (HARO)

HARO LogoHelp A Reporter (HARO) is a handy tool for authors in two ways. HARO can help you find a source to interview when researching a book, and it can provide you with publicity and other related opportunities that you couldn’t have found on your own.

HARO Email
Email from HARO

Signing up for HARO is free. Just go to their home page and click “sign up today.” Yes, HARO does now offer pay packages, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the page – you will see the Basic page is still available for free. What does this mean? Well, three times a day you will receive a HARO email with a list of stories being worked on by reporters who need sources to interview. Not all of these are newspaper reporters – they are bloggers, authors, television shows, magazines and more. The stories are organized according to category, and if you see one that interests you, just click on it and it will bring you to the details further down in the email. The key to getting reporters interested in your “pitch” is to make sure you respond immediately. These emails go out to thousands of people, and whoever replies first is going to get their attention. Be concise with your pitch and be quick.

How can this work? you wonder. Well, it really does. I’ve been interviewed and featured in articles in AOL Weird News (yeah, yeah, I know), eHow.com, and it even landed Mr. Pish in the top of the world of dogs in Fido Friendly Magazine. I’ve been interviewed and quoted in a number of books, blogs and magazines thanks to HARO. Does that help sell books? I dunno. But press is press and good press is even better.

As a research tool, HARO has been invaluable. From my evil mountain hide-out, how else would I find sources who could tell me about Vienna, Austria? How else could I interview professional hockey players from the comfort of my lair? I’ve received great input from sources – which gave me insight into my story I couldn’t have gotten otherwise.

HARO QueryTo submit a query, just click on “My Queries” in the top navigation bar, then click on “Submit Query” in the right-hand green box. Once you’ve filled in all your information, click the blue “Submit Query” box at the bottom of the screen. When you’re done, it should look something like this (screen at left). Then, just sit back and wait for the HARO email to go out, and for the pitches to come in from people who have knowledge in the area(s) you need.

I won’t lie and say it’s easy. It’s not. You have to pay attention, you have to read the emails, and you have to reply immediately if an opportunity in your area of expertise comes along. Not all your pitches will be acknowledged – and sometimes you won’t even know an interview is used. That’s why you should set up Google Alerts to track your name.

HARO is great if you have expertise in a number of different areas besides writing. Travel, health, technology and lifestyle are always active categories. If you don’t use it for publicity, it’s still a great tool for research. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist and photographer, author of over 30 titles, and administrator (AKA Fearless Leader) of Indies Unlimited. Brooks’ feature articles, poetry, and photography have appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and other publications both in the U.S. and abroad. She currently teaches self-publishing for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page

27 thoughts on “Author Tools: Help a Reporter (HARO)”

  1. I signed up to HARO and get a few emails daily, but I’ve yet to do anything about it. Maybe now’s the time. Thanks for the little nudge.

  2. This is awesome stuff Kat, thanks for the info. Now if I can only remember what I needed info on, lol. So much stuff going on and so little time to sort it all out, but I think this will really come in handy. πŸ™‚

  3. Did anyone else get a call from HARO or actually their main company VOCUS Marketing? I had barely hit the send button when I was contacted, by phone, by a rep with his marketing spiel for my book. Sounds good, if they deliver what they claim, but expensive, 3k to 6k. Out of my budget.

    1. Yeah, they have a new thing where they will email and/or call you. They realize most people can’t afford them. But don’t let that discourage you from using their free services. πŸ™‚

  4. I just wanted to say thank you to KS Brooks for turning me on to this site. I just finished my first interview from my only query. Kat … you’re brilliant! The article should be out in a few weeks.

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