Okay, You Wrote a Peace Corps Memoir…Now, How Do You Sell It?

With some success for my last book, I used RTIR (Radio-TV Interview Report) to sell my book. As we know, the easy part is writing the book. What is hard is finding an audience for your book. How do you sell it? This outfit will cost you $$$, but not a lot. They also have ‘deals’ so you might be able to get one of those (I did) and spend some money for a limited amount of time and sell your book.

What is Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR)?
Radio-TV Interview Report: The Magazine Producers Read to Find Guests (RTIR) is a trade publication that goes to over 4,000 radio/TV producers across the United States and Canada. RTIR is published twice a month, and each issue lists 100-150 authors and other spokespeople available for live and in-studio interviews. Each guest’s ad includes a contact person and phone number so interested radio/TV producers can get in touch to arrange interviews. Guests are willing to do interviews free-of-charge because they are typically promoting a book, product or cause.

How do you become a guest in RTIR?
As I said, they have  ‘deals’ for first time authors. To get free information about advertising yourself as a guest in Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR), call 1-800-553-8002 ext 408. They’ll send you a free media kit including a sample issue plus a booklet with lots of tips for getting talk show publicity.  They do the work for you including writing your ad copy at no extra charge (subject to your approval). Last night, I did an hour on a  sports talk show about my book; a week ago I was on ESPN talking about golf for twenty minutes! It works.

You can also visit this link and fill out the form there to get free information, and you’ll get our free special report, 39 Ways to Get Free Publicity As a Guest on Radio/TV Talk Shows.

If this might interest you, call 1-800-989-1400 ext 408 and mention my name (John Coyne) at having suggested RTIR.  You can also just email Joe McAllister at joe@rtir.com. Tell him you got his name from me. He’s a nice guy. He handled my book.

But before you do any of that, you need a ‘hook’ for the book. Joe can help you with that. Fiction and memoirs are tough sells. Why have you on the site. With me, my golf novel, I used the idea that we titled, “Is Golf Dying” and they added the line “This Expert Reveals What Needs To Be Done to Save It….Now!”

An RPCV example
Lets take a recent book by an RPCV whose book was published by Peace Corps Writers, and see what I’m talking about — The Measure of a Dream? by Lora Parisien Begin (Tunisia 1989-91 & Papua New Guinea 1996)lora-dougga-200x300

This book is a “natural” for RTIR as the topic is timely and Lora can talk about being a Catholic woman in a Moslem country and her continued connection with Tunisia. She also has “expertise” with regard to her career in cross culture training, etc., and she can talk about how ‘we’ as Americans can relate to the Arab and Islam world. Now Joe McAllister can help her craft the paragraphs that RTIR will put in their magazine which they sent to radio and t.v. stations. One of  RPTR writers will draft a statement that she’s work on and that will be sent to stations who will call and/or email her about appearing on their program. Mostly, I think, it will be radio. She won’t even have to put on make up to talk wisely about Tunisia!

As Lora wrote in an interview I did with her: “When I went to Tunisia in 1989 I did not know a lick of Arabic or one iota about Arabs or Islam, or even the job I was recruited to do. So my story really is an honest account of what happened when West met East, when a Catholic found herself surrounded by Muslims, when she followed a dream, yet had no idea where it was leading her. It examines culture and cultural adjustment.  It attempts to make the case that, Arabs-though they may be challenging sometimes and confusing or even infuriating-Arabs are a people worthy of knowing, and Muslims are not a people to fear.  The story takes place over twenty years ago, at a time when the United States first went to war with Iraq.  It asks the question why, after twenty years, do we still know so little about Arabs and their culture?

Plus she has been back to Tunisia six time. “I always head directly to my adopted family’s home in Beja.  I have returned for weddings-in fact, my Tunisian sister was married in my wedding dress-and for special family events.  Most recently I returned just before the Arab Spring, when Tunisia erupted and ousted its longtime dictator Ben Ali.  I am in the process of planning my next trip.”

Think about it. RTIR might work for you.


Leave a comment
  • Great idea, John, and thanks for this tip. My book “Dodging Machetes” (published by John’s Peace Corps Writers imprint) has received only very positive professional and reader reviews, but so far I haven’t gotten any non-Peace Corps-related media to pay attention at all and sales reflect that. Yes writing it was much easier than selling it.

  • Memoirs are generally written for families. Unless the author has some notoriety, a memoir is not normally a vehicle for fame, glory and riches. The value of a Peace Corps experience memoir is the first-person record. The world that a former volunteer or staff remembers and records no longer exists. Whether a masterpiece or something less, a memoir is history with an attitude (to paraphrase historian Carol Kammen). For those who might be playing with a pencil, hemming and hawing- what are you waiting for? Bring honor on your family name.

  • Will- For instance, Contacto Con Mujeres has built-in noteriety! Ole Contacto could be on television talk shows in a heart-beat with his cousin right alongside. However, does that guarantee a great memoir?

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