What is HARO?
For this month’s IWSG post, I wanted to pass along a helpful tip for writers. It’s called HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out. I found out about HARO while standing in the lunch buffet line at DFWcon, a wonderful annual writing conference here in Texas.
Why should writers join HARO?
One tip that Nina passed along was that Harry and I should both join HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out. As the name suggests, HARO was created to help reporters. It does this by sending out twice daily emails to a large list. The emails contain a list of requests from reporters on a wide variety of topics.
For example, a quick scan of today’s HARO newsletter includes a reporter seeking doctors for opinions about Q-tips, a podcast looking for self-employed people to interview, and a magazine looking for crazy holiday stories. Simply scanning through HARO newsletters can trigger ideas for stories and blog articles of your own!
But the main thing you want to be on the look out for is if any of the experts required for these articles relate to you and the books you write. Maybe you wrote a book set in the 1920’s, and you see a reporter on the lookout for an expert on something you researched for your book, like flapper dresses, bathtub gin, and speakeasys!
Reply to the reporter with your credentials or pitch, (they will spell out exactly what they want from you!) and the next thing you know, you could find you and your book featured in a major news outlet!
How do writers join HARO?
So, how do you get started with HARO? All you do is hop over and sign up for an account. I have a free account, but there are paid options, as well. The HARO interface is easy to use, and the help files make everything nice and clear.
Once you’re signed up, just sit back and wait for the HARO emails to start rolling in twice a day. Since reporters work on tight deadlines, I try to skim through HARO emails as soon as I see them come in. Some days I miss them, and 99% of the time, nothing relates to my area of expertise. Every now and then, however, I’ll see a reporter asking for something that’s a good fit.
When that happens, you simply contact them and wait. And by “wait,” I mean put it out of your mind entirely and move onto the next thing on your to-do list! If they get back to you, great. If they don’t, it’s nothing personal. There are so many people on the HARO newsletter that these reporters get bombarded with replies. Even if what you sent them is perfect for their article, if they already have enough for their assignment, then it’s simply too late.
With HARO, you have to act fast!
A HARO-ing Experience
As I mentioned earlier, even though I skim through HARO every day, I have only responded to a handful of requests. Finding one that is the right fit is a bit of a needle in a haystack venture. Even so, I have had a couple of bites! Last week, for example, my blog got featured on Life Hack. Yee haw!
Check out #17 on this article (it’s me!): 23 Unconventional Places Introverts Would Love to Travel
That article links to a post I wrote about a beautiful Victorian cemetery in London called Kensal Green, and the way the reporter found out about me was because I answered his request on HARO. Nifty, eh?
So, hey there fellow writer; why not give HARO a try? Sure, it’s a bit of a gamble, but you really have nothing to lose by skimming through a couple of emails each day.
What about you? Have you ever used HARO? Have you had any success? Any tips you can pass along?
Psst! Looking for Stocking Stuffers?
Since it *is* the holiday season, I’d like to point out that I wrote a strange-but-true tale about a very bad Santa, and guess what? It’s the perfect size for most Christmas stockings! (What are the odds?) Check out this bizarre piece of West Texas history, and grab a copy for anyone on your Christmas list who delights in things that are wee bit quirky:
The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber
What is IWSG, anyway?
IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this:
“Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh
To read other people’s IWSG posts visit: Insecure Writers Support Group.
Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism:
I am currently writing a field guide to historic cemetery symbolism. Each week, I share a small snippet from my upcoming book. It’s my goal to create a handy-dandy pocket guide for taphophiles, genealogists, ghost hunters, and anyone else interested in the historic graveyard symbols that have become forgotten over the years.
Which symbols are you curious about?
Let me know in the comments if there is a certain symbol that you are curious about. Also, if you would like to know when the cemetery symbolism guide is available for purchase, scroll down and sign up for my newsletter! I look forward to hearing from you!
Want to read more like this?
To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best-selling travel guide:
UNEXPECTED TEXAS: Your Guide to Offbeat & Overlooked History, Day Trips & Fun Things to do near Dallas & Fort Worth.
For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best-selling travel guide to haunted places:
PARANORMAL TEXAS: Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Fort Worth.
For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out this bizarre piece of West Texas history:
The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber
Hey, you! Want to come along for the ride?
FREE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER: For updates on my offbeat travels, books, & other fun stuff (such as postcards from the road!) subscribe to my newsletter using the form below. Each week, I’ll let you know the Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week, who Teal Gray & I are interviewing on our show that night, and any other fun or interesting news. You can also mix & mingle with me by clicking this link & “liking” my Facebook Author Page: