Are You Pitching Reporters Who Are Looking for Experts on HARO? — If Not, You Should Be.

by Karen Jonson

How to Follow Reporter Pitch Services – and Send Reporters Targeted, Professional, and Compelling Pitches

Reporters Interview Author

To get more media interviews authors need to send the right pitch, at the right time, to the right reporter. You’ll increase your odds if you follow popular reporters’ services — and the rules for pitching reporters.

The Holy Grail for authors seeking publicity for their books is getting interviewed and published in online or offline media.

Every author knows this.

What every author doesn’t know is that there are services that help connect reporters with people to interview. And some of these services are free.

One of the most popular reporter services available is HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out.

I signed up for the service and now I receive a couple of updates every business day. The emails include a list of topics for which reporters and TV producers are looking for people to interview.

Based on a recent experience, it seems that more and more authors are catching on to HARO, and probably the other reporter services as well. And you should too.

Reporters Looking for Authors Gets Nearly 300 Pitches!

I religiously scan HARO’s email lists every day, and every so often find something I can respond to.

Usually there is nothing relevant to my areas of expertise. However, once in awhile I find a perfect reporter to pitch.

For example, on February 7th, I found a great opportunity for authors. I even posted this notice on my Indie Book Marketing Community Facebook page to share it with authors who follow me there:

Hello Indie Authors.
I just came across this announcement from a reporter at the “Examiner,” an online newspaper. I cannot vouch for it, but I thought I would share it in case anyone is interested in contacting the reporter at the email provided.
Best, Karen

Indie Authors Wanted for Interview via Phone or Email to Promote Your Book

Name: Mark Mills The Examiner – Online
Category: Entertainment and Media
Media Outlet: The Examiner – Online
Deadline: 11:00 PM EST – 10 February

Query: I write a column on Examiner as a national title for Indie Book Reviews. Rather than simply reading a book and then posting a review, which isn’t so different from reviews on Amazon, Apple, B&N, etc., I would rather include some fresh perspective from the author about his/her work that would help enlarge a mutual audience. Genre doesn’t matter, but quality does. Article produced as a result of the interview will be posted at

Requirements: Contact with any site where your work is available and whether you would like to interview via email or phone. Phone interviews will be recorded for review purposes as well as to edit into a 2 minute or less audio piece to accompany the article.

I followed up with the reporter, sending him a pitch about my memoir.

Here’s how I know that authors are catching on to the publicity potential of HARO. On February 11, I received the following email from this reporter:

Thanks very much for responding to my request for indie authors. I received nearly 300 responses and am very overwhelmed with trying to sift through all of them. I appreciate your patience as I work through all of the information and I will be in contact with you as soon as possible.

Thank you again.

Mark Mills

Three hundred pitches! That’s a lot. And it sounds like way more that this reporter expected.

That’s both good and bad news. It means that authors are being proactive to attract attention. But it also means that there is more competition than ever — and it’s likely to keep growing.

Other Reporter Services Available to Authors

HARO is not the only reporter service available today.

This niche has seen some services similar to HARO come and go. Also, there are a few paid services out there, but their fees are probably too exorbitant for most authors.

However, there are also a few other free services:

  • This one has received good reviews. As with HARO, you simply sign-up for a free account for this service. Then you’ll receive daily emails from reporters looking for resources for articles.
  • This service claims to be the fastest and easiest way to find experts on Twitter. It’s sponsored by Journalistics.
  • Journalistics also sponsors this new service, which is currently in Beta. The site is looking for people to participate. On its website it says, “You’re one of the first people to catch wind of ExpertEngine. You must be one of the cool kids. We’re actively searching for great sources reporters will love to interview for the stories they’re working on. Does that sound like you? A friend or client? Sign-up to the right and give us an idea of your expertise. If all goes well, you should be hearing from us in a day or so. Thanks for checking ExpertEngine out. Feel free to spread the word about the beta sign-up (it might speed things along for you… hint, hint).”

How to Make the Most of Your Reporter Pitches

Reporters are seasoned professionals who’ve seen it all. So when you send a pitch, be a professional and work according to their rules.

Here are a few critical pointers for pitching the media.

1. Meet Their Deadlines. Reporters live and die by their deadlines. To get a chance at getting interviewed, be cognizant of their deadlines. Sending a pitch after their deadlines ensures you’re dead in the water.

2. Send a Compelling Pitch. How can you add value to the reporter’s topic? That’s what you should ask yourself before you send a pitch. The best way to get a reporter’s attention is to have a really good, unique idea to share that’s directly relevant to their topics.

3. Be Brief. Brevity is the name of the game in the media. Your pitch should be so compelling that you can deliver it in a few sentences. Sending the reporter a long pitch will likely just get pitched — into the garbage can! So keep it short, but interesting.

4. Follow the Reporter’s Requests Exactly. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Just give the reporter exactly what they ask for.

5. Make Sure Your Pitch is On-Topic. Only send pitches if you really have ideas that relate to the reporter’s specific topic. It won’t do you any good to try to pitch a reporter off topic. It will just irritate them. In other words, if a reporter is looking for a non-fiction history expert, don’t pitch them about your historical novel.

6. Don’t Harass Reporters. No matter how good you think your pitch is, you will gain nothing by badgering a reporter — except to incur their ire. Just send your pitch and move on. The ball is in the reporter’s court.

7. Be Professional. No matter what happens, if the reporter contacts you or doesn’t, or if they interview, but then don’t use your quotes, do not harass the reporter under any circumstances. Otherwise you risk getting a bad reputation and burning media bridges.

8. Make Pitching Reporter a Priority. Getting media attention is valuable for every author. As part of your ongoing book promotion program, you should spend some time everyday to see how you can help reporters out with compelling, useful, on-topic pitches.

Have you ever been successful at pitching reporters on any of the available services?

Let us know if you pitch a reporter and get your book mentioned?

Good luck!


The Indie Book Marketing Workshop Teaches Book Publicity

Getting media attention requires a combination of the right pitch to the right media at the right time.

The Indie Book Marketing Community guides authors through the entire book publicity process — including creating press releases, sending them, creating media lists, targeting media sources, and tracking news trends.

This Workshop is design specifically to give authors the marketing knowledge they need to promote their book like a pro and sell more books.

Learn More about the Indie Book Marketing Workshop — and Join Today!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Lee Scott May 1, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Great info for indie, first-time authors! I appreciate the insights and tips, and will be putting as many as possible into immediate practice. I’d also like to know more about the workshop, and this community in general…whatever methods I can undertake to set my book apart from the pack is extremely appreciated!


Karen Jonson May 3, 2013 at 10:00 am

Hi Laura,

Thank you so much. I appreciate hearing you like the blog.

My Indie Book Marketing Workshop teaches authors all of the essential marketing strategies and tactics authors need to know to sell their books with more understanding of the selling process and more confidence.

You can learn about the Workshop more here:

By the way, I’m updating the course description soon — so check back next week for even more details.



Juan Maria Solare (pianist, composer) June 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Do you know services similar to HARO but in Spanish? In or outside US. I would be most interested on that. I am in HARO since a couple of months and my experience is until now, mostly positive.


Karen Jonson June 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

Hello Juan,

I don’t know of any similar service that are international. But that is a good question. Let me know if you find anything.



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