Word of mouth can take you only so far as an author. Luckily, it isn’t the only tool at your disposal when it comes to getting your name — and your book — out there. There are a few things you can do to get the media on your side.
Nobody can do a story on you or your book if nobody knows you exist. So connect to people in the media. Identify columns and writers who are good matches for your topic of expertise, and then find a way to get their attention. Being on the cutting edge in your field and having a quality product tends to help. But the most important thing is to be persistent. Just because you aren’t the right fit for a reporter now doesn’t mean you won’t be right a week from now. Keep yourself in the picture!
With a news culture that is up and running 24/7, the media is always on the lookout for experts who can help them buff up a variety of stories. As an author with a solid book under your belt, you can be one of those experts. Use your book as an invaluable foundation, and keep on building your credibility from there. How do you do that? Speak. Write. If you can, teach a class. The trick is landing your first interview. After that, the fun part is watching the domino effect unfold as other people working on similar stories call you up for comments.
Write Great Press Releases
Writing a great press release for your book or for anything else you’re doing to promote yourself is a bit of an art. The formula goes something like this:
--Name the person you’re sending it to directly. If you don’t, the recipient will probably think it’s spam and chuck it in the wastebasket.
--Put the who, what, where, when and why at the beginning of the press release. People in the media are always pressed for time. Never make them dig for information, because they won’t do it.
--Keep the press release to one page. Again, remember who your audience is. Anything over a page is going to take more time to read than they’ll be willing to spend.
--Finally, keep it simple, and avoid technical language. Your recipient will appreciate it — and so will that recipient’s readers.
Pitch to Win
The key to a good media pitch is having a strong hook, plain and simple. Find the “wow factor” of what you’re promoting, and use that to your advantage. What do you have to work with? Something shocking? Hilarious? Strange? Entertaining? Whatever the case may be, use it to put your best foot forward. Nothing grabs a reader’s attention like a fantastic hook!