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The Creative Storyteller, Issue #003 -- Publicising Your Services
August 06, 2004
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Hello again,


Because of the relatively unusual nature of what we do as storytellers, there is only a limited number of people or organisations likely to require our services. Therefore traditional forms of advertising (newspaper classifieds, Yellow pages etc.) are not the most productive in obtaining work.

A single line entry in Yellow Pages (usually free!) does no harm: “Hans Andersen – Professional Storyteller….. Odense 30000” may produce an occasional enquiry from a person looking for something different for their party or event.

But in general, you will only achieve volume response by practicing a policy of ‘Direct Mail’.

This means targeting potential bookers (we identified some of them in the first issue) and regularly sending out a PUBLICITY MAILSHOT.


In most cases, your publicity leaflet/brochure will be the first knowledge your potential client will have of your existence. If you want him/her to take you seriously, it must catch the attention and encourage him to read it!

These people receive mountains of mail every day – much of it from others like you, offering a variety of presentations and looking for work!

Your publicity must look professional and be well produced. This does not necessarily mean that it has to be hugely expensive. Many people nowadays have access to computers and it is not difficult to produce reasonably attractive and professional looking leaflets.

If you can afford a high quality brochure with an A4 ‘Art-board’ cover and expensive vellum pages inscribed with classical hand-created calligraphy, then by all means go down that road.

In my case, and because I have a variety of presentations which are being continually updated, that level of expense would not be cost-effective.

Your introductory brochure – the one that says who you are, what you do in general and something about your background experience etc. should be of as high a quality as you can afford. This contains basic information, requiring little alteration and will be reproduced over and over again.

As your experience increases, you will add not only to your repertoire of stories, but also to the variety of presentations that you have on offer (themed subjects etc.), therefore you will require ‘supplementary’ leaflets detailing this new information!


Most of my publicity is sent out on one sheet of A4, printed and folded to produce a four-page, A5 leaflet. I do use fairly good quality paper – as I write this, I am looking on my paper shelf at a box of ‘Conqueror’ 100gm Chamois and another box of ‘Southworth’ 90gm Parchment. For my ‘Green Man’ publicity, I have printed it on 90gm ‘Leaf Green’ paper.

The front page of my standard introductory leaflet has the title of the presentation – i.e. ‘Leslie Melville tells…”Short Tales and Tall Stories!” followed by a couple of short explanatory sentences. The two inner pages contain brief details of what’s on offer, followed by a little bit of personal stuff about me – all done in short paragraphs! The back page repeats the presentation title and gives contact details, complete with email and website address.


When should you send out your mail shots and how frequently?

Seasonal stuff should go out six months ahead of the season! Followed by a supplementary reminder a couple of months later.

I have a ‘Teddy Bear’ presentation – Teddy Bear events can take place at any time so I target my market (‘Sure-Start’ and other childminding groups etc.) and send out publicity every two months or so. Each mailing should include a letter (worded slightly differently each time) with your leaflet. This way you are not just repeating the same information over again. The first letter will be of an introductory nature, the next might be updating information – where you have been working since you last wrote etc. Or it might be a special offer (I will talk about ‘special offers’ another time).

Keep sending out the publicity and I PROMISE YOU, THE WORK WILL COME IN!

DO NOT EXPECT IMMEDIATE RESULTS! Many direct mail businesses (and that’s what you are!) talk about ‘The Rule of Seven’. This means that you have to send out at least SEVEN mailings before you can reasonably expect a reply. And remember, this is targeted mailing – people who will genuinely be interested in your offer! So keep at it and the rewards will come!

Finally, if you can, find out the name of the recipient of your mailing – ‘Dear Mrs. Wainwright’ sounds a lot better than ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or even worse ‘To Whom it may Concern’!

Also check you spelling and grammar! NOTHING deflates your chances more than illiteracy – No Wot I Meen?!

I will speak to you again SOON!

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for allowing me to visit your mailbox.

Until next time,


Stories……? …That’s telling!

Your response would be welcome!

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