BookMarketing: USA Today with Author Linda Budzinski

Today we’re chatting with Linda Budzinski about utilizing the press to promote your book.

Linda’s new book, EM & EM, is available here.

Using USA Today to promote your book |

Hi Linda! Congrats on your new book release. So tell me…what’s the most fun/effective thing you did to promote EM & EM?

At one of its monthly meetings last year, my local RWA chapter, the Virginia chapter, had a guest speaker named Joyce Lamb, who is editor of USA Today’s “Happy Ever After” romance book blog. Her topic was promo, and one of the things she told us was specifically how to submit a post proposal for blog. Like many blogs, they are always looking for content. She gave us a few simple instructions:

  • Familiarize yourself with the blog and the type of content it runs.
  • Query her about the proposed post about six weeks out from when you would like it to run (e.g., from your book’s release date if that is when you would like it run).
  • Let her know a little about your book.
  • Propose a post that is not “Here’s a post all about my book” but is somehow related to its topic/theme.
  • Include other (preferably very famous) authors within the post. That way, those authors may tweet out the post to their followers (which means lots of hits, yay!) and also it will get more Google hits when people Google their names, because USA Today is really good about optimizing its Google SEO.


Wow. That is solid info – a very clear plan of how to target USA Today.

I thought this would be a pretty cool way to help promote EM & EM, so here is the query letter I sent to Joyce:

Hi, Joyce!

We met at the Virginia RWA meeting this spring. Thank you again for your excellent presentation on promotion! As per your suggestions, I would like to propose a blog post for the “Happy Ever After” blog.

My second young adult romance, EM & EM, will be released as an ebook and in paperback on September 15 from Swoon Romance YA. My main character is transplanted from the Jersey Shore to the Midwest as part of the Witness Protection Program. She has a new name, a new look, and a brand-sparkling new reputation. And of course, she meets someone who loves her for who he thinks she is.

I would love to write a post about the role of hidden/mistaken/secret identity in romance and particularly in YA romance. My plan would be to contact some authors who have used this in their YA romance novels to get input as to why they feel this device resonates with readers. (See, I was paying attention!)

Please let me know if this would interest you and if so, the specs re: word count and submission deadline.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda Budzinski


Thanks for sharing your letter. A great format – a paragraph of your book, a paragraph of how the proposed topic relates to your book….so I’m guessing that they liked it?

Well … Joyce told me she loved the idea and said she would run the post the day after my release date! Next I contacted three authors–Kody Keplinger (yes, THAT Kody Keplinger, I was feeling brave!), Robin Benway (who actually is one of my all-time favorite YA authors and I totally fangirlled when she wrote me back and ohmygosh she was so sweet) and Jody Gehrman. Each of them has a YA book out that uses hidden/secret/mistaken identity and is at least in part a romance. And each of them is a LOT more famous than me, LOL. I was a little nervous emailing them, but it helps to be able to say that USA Today had given the post the green light!

Of course, the YA writing community is so awesome, and all three of them agreed to participate and sent me quotes on why they think secret identity resonates with romance readers and why they used it in their own books. Had they declined to participate, I of course could still have cited their books, but it was so awesome that they actually sent me quotes!


Now I want to read the article myself!

It turned into a really fun post, and you can see it here.


That was awesome. Any other advice for authors trying to promote their book?

I would totally recommend romance authors trying this when the time comes for their first book to come out, or even querying to write a post at any point in the publishing process. Joyce is super nice and really does want to find good content. Of course, her blog is specifically for romance readers, but I would think the same basic idea would work for other blogs as well, so if say, an author has a YA fantasy, they could research and find a well known fantasy blogger and approach them with a similar request.

Linda Budzinski’s young adult novels, EM & EM (2015) and THE FUNERAL SINGER (2013), were both published by Swoon Romance YA. Her upcoming novel, THE BOYFRIEND WHISPERER, scheduled for publication in fall of 2016 by Swoon, received the Romance Writers of America Young Adult Chapter’s 2015 Rosemary Award and the Virginia Chapter’s 2015 Fool for Love Award. She can be found on Twitter at @LindaBudz or on the web at

Check out LInda’s novels here:



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