Grab some coffee folks, this is a long one!
You’ve written the most awesome book ever (isn’t she beautiful sitting there on your bookshelf), you’ve been working on marketing materials and press releases, so now what? Time to switch gears and focus on where to send these goodies.
- Where to find the press/media you wish to contact:
- About.com media guide section has numerous links to media lists.
- Newspaper Links, yes it’s as easy as it sounds. Click on your desired state and it gives you (almost) every paper printed in the state.
- To get listed as a broadcast interview source try registering at www.expertclick.com I do not know anyone yet who has used this, but I’m told it’s a good resource for journalist looking for experts for articles.
- For journalists specializing in books/book reviews (typically in the Entertainment section), first check to see if they list their guidelines. You can usually find this out simply by clicking their name on an article which will take you to their specific contact page.
- The simplest way to find out who you need to contact is to click the Contact Us link. For smaller presses, it will take you to a page listing all of their staff. If you’re tying your book into a new-ish approach (not just a standard press release) then contact the News Room Editor. If you only plan to send a press release, send it to the Entertainment Editor. Many of the large presses will have detailed information on where to send press releases on their Contact Us page. Of course, be sure that you’re following their guidelines to increase your chances of getting attention.
- And don’t forget your common names, LA Times, The Detroit Free Press, NY Times (which has a separate email for the book review section), San Francisco Weekly, any big boy paper in major cities.
- Not only do most major (and small press) newspapers have a section for books (typically in the Entertainment section), but see who’s talking about books. While on newspapers websites, do a search for ‘book’ and see who is saying what. Perhaps a certain columnist tends to talk about topics similar to your book. Or you can tie your book into a recent article of theirs, which (as I’ve seen in my local papers) leads to a follow-up/continuation article with authors.
- What do you say to them?
- Most journalists only wish to receive a press release with a link to where to get a full press kit (from your website). Some only want to see media alerts, like if you have a book signing coming up or any other event.
- A lot of journalists are only interested if you present them with a pitch from the start. Do you have useful tips for new mothers? Does your book cater to the paranormal craze? Try to give them a concise, yet solid idea. An example for this: most states are still suffering from a bad economy. What about “Is the American Dream still alive? This Author thinks so.” kind of pitch? A heartwarming story how in a time of economic challenge people are finding courage, chasing their dream, conquering risk and finding success. This approach could work well for self-publishers. It could be pitched not only to local papers, but local organizations catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The key to contacting journalists not specializing in books, is to offer them a pitch, a newsy press release.
- Other strategies:
Getting talked about doesn’t always come solely from journalists. Here are a few other ideas to create some buzz, which might in turn lead to media coverage.
- Can your book tie into current political campaigns? Send a press release and copy of your book to the candidates or their staff.
- Could your book interest policy makers? Send a few copies out to public opinion headers and opinion columnists.
- Does your book contain a strong spiritual or social message? Churches with large congregations (or members active in groups/organizations related to your book topic) can help spread the word by mouth. Contact the head of the church or organization to see if you can send a copy to him or any members that would be interested in your topic.
- Does your book have niche readers? For example, if it’s a book for new parents, sell excerpts to parenting magazines, offer free excerpts to local newspapers (who often can’t afford to pay for excerpts), send media kits to formula companies, send excerpts or media kit to online moms groups, see if you can place a few copies in local hospital gift shops (be sure to give them a means to order more copies if they sell out). See if your OBGYN office will let you give a short presentation to expectant mothers, offering tips, a q & a session, and of course squeeze in a plug for your book.
- Does your book appeal to a dedicated group of journalists or professionals? An example, a sports book could be sent to sportscasters who might mention your book on-air or to fellow journalists. Send a press kit to sports journalists or a local sports newscaster.
- Can your book tie into any local or national event? An example, if your book is about fashion, or say a fashionista, have press packets sent to reporters covering fashion week or the red carpet at award ceremonies.
- People you interviewed while writing your book might be willing to help promote your book (if nothing else for a self-given ego boost). A quick blurb in their church bulletin, their gyms monthly newsletter, their company’s newsletter, mention it on their blog or website, anything mentioning their involvement in the book to people in their circles can create a whole new area of interest.
- Can you link your book to a holiday, anniversary or special event? Paranormal books could have a push around Halloween. Contact local orchards or haunted hot spots about hosting a book signing there. Check Chase’s Calendar of Events for all sorts of opportunities to tie in with your book.
- Other questions to ask yourself to stir up ideas on avenues to include in your marketing plan are: Does your book offer controversial information? Could your book entice curiosity among people who think they are in the book? Can you come up with a celebrity endorsement? It might take months of pursuit, but a celebrity statement can get you a long way.
- Host a charity event or fundraiser. Get local media involved, either by your own pursuit or piggy back on the organizations media contacts. Work with a library to promote reading (or reading programs offered) or to encourage people to increase donations. Work a pitch when contacting the media about the upcoming event, “Mrs. Jane Doe, local author of Fabulous Book, heads up a charity event to promote a new reading program in Your Towns Library to encourage reading in the upcoming generations.”
- Are you Self-Publisher? Contact local government agencies catering to women entrepreneurs and small businesses, offer to give a speech at a meeting on how you took publishing into your own hands, squeezing in subtle plugs to your book.
I’d say that’s quite a bit to nibble on over the weekend. And speaking of which…while you’re reading the paper this weekend, keep a notepad handy to jot down the names of the journalists with interesting/related topics to your book. That’s a super easy start to building your media contact list!