I've taught business writing to marketing and business college students for over a decade, and the most important lesson I teach, is to put yourself inside your readers' point of view. When you ask something of someone else, start by asking yourself, what's in this for them? Because that is the way you will sell your request.
Tim Grahl at Out:think calls this being "relentlessly helpful" (He's a good resource, by the way - link here)
For example, yesterday, I had you write book reviews. This helps other authors, but it also helps you. Readers like to read book reviews, so they'll see your name and get to know you a bit when they're reading your review. By linking your Goodreads account to your Facebook page and your Twitter, your Goodreads reviews will automatically be posted on your FB page and your tweets. Easy content that attracts followers. And the followers attracted will be readers who like the kind of books you read - which is likely the kind of books you write, too.
Today's challenge is to meet a need. Yesterday's challenge, you'll remember, was more geared to fiction writers than non-fiction. So I promised that today's would be more geared to non-fiction writers.
First, I want you to write down all your skills and expertise. Don't be intimidated by this. "Expertise" is just a fancy way of saying "experience". What do you have experience in that someone else might benefit from? Are you a gardener, a parent? Have you studied or written about a particular subject? Lived through a unique experience? You are all writers, but for this exercise, think of that as the medium. What message do you have to share? Make a list. (Keep the list with your other two lists from day 1. We'll use it again.)
Now, link that expertize to your book(s). If you write non-fiction, there's a direct and obvious link. But if you write fiction, there's still a link. Is there a character in your book who's a gardener, like you? The parent of a difficult or challenged child? Do you write historical fiction about a particular time, and have researched that time period for your book?
How can you use this expertise to meet someone else's needs, and at the same time indirectly market yourself and/or your book?
Go to HARO - Help A Reporter Out, at: http://www.helpareporter.com/sign-up This is a site you can register at for free. Reporters go here to find someone to quote when they're doing a story. Every non-fiction author should be registered there, and check out the requests that come in. Many, if not most, fiction writers also have some expertise they could contribute to a reporter's story.
If this is really something you don't want to do, look for an online site where you could be interviewed, that's related to one of the skills on your list. In particular, look at the list you made of your target market's interests and hobbies. Are any of the items on your list of skills and expertise the same as their interests? Since you like the same kind of books they do, probably yes. Find a site that's all about that hobby/interest by googling key words. The owner of that site needs content that will interest his/her readers. Read past posts on that site to see what they do, and to make sure you're not offering something they've already done, then email them, introduce yourself, explain why their readers would find what you have to say interesting and different from other posts on the site, and offer them an interview or a short post.
Add a comment below to tell us what you did for this challenge.