Approaching the media to help promote your book doesn’t have to be a daunting task—or like you’re just one in a sea of authors who will get skimmed over. Here are some practical steps to increase your chances of getting noticed when contacting media professionals for a review of your book or interview.
Go to the Source
Reach out to reporters who cover your topic. If you’re an author of a business book, you should target reporters who cover business, a cookbook author should contact food writers, and an author of a sports guide should contact sports reporters. See how this works? Don’t waste your time—or the reporter’s time—by reaching out to those who cover general news or topics that have nothing to do with your book. In addition, pay attention to who reads the newspaper, magazine, or circular you’re approaching. Blogger Christie Storms, who is also a reporter for XXXX, says, “Take a minute to learn the demographic of the publication. Especially in our case—we only review books occasionally and when we do, it’s books by local authors only. Yet we continually get pitches from all over the country. It’s not that they’re not quality or interesting, but rather, it’s often outside our local demographic and not relevant to our readers.
“Also, in my case, as I am ‘only’ a reporter, I need to run everything by my editors before proceeding. So the more info you provide to the reporter supporting WHY it would be relevant to the particular publication specifically, the better.”
She’s right. Believe me, I know it’s so much easier to just send every publication the same generic blast, but it really does make a difference when you do a little investigating and take a minute to personalize to the specific publication, reporter, or editor.
Once you identify the writers who are most interested in your subject matter, reach out to them. Reporters need authors as much as we need them! They are always on the lookout for story ideas and sources to interview, so don’t be afraid to contact them via e-mail (most publications have websites that make it easy to locate and contact reporters), and many reporters and writers now include an e-mail address at the end of their stories where they can be reached.
I recommend sending a brief e-mail to introduce yourself and your book. Include a short synopsis (one or two paragraphs) of the book, a brief bio about you, and ask the reporter if he or she would like to receive a complimentary review copy.
Some reporters will turn you down. Some won’t even respond. This is the reality of the publicity game. However, it’s quite likely that you will end up in their database of sources. Don’t be surprised if you hear from them in the future.
For those who request a review copy, send it promptly along with a brief personal note of thanks. Be sure to follow up within a couple of weeks with an e-mail if you don’t hear from them. Ask if the book arrived safely and whether the reporter has any questions for you. This is a good reminder to them to follow through.
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