The type of book you have doesn’t matter to the media.
I’ll say it again.
The type of book you have doesn’t matter to the media.
I do a lot of work with fiction authors. I do a lot of work with non-fiction authors. I do a lot of work with ebook producers.
I used to distinguish how I wrote news releases for fiction compared to non-fiction, but over the years I’ve found that when it comes to getting publicity, it really doesn’t matter what the book is. Also, my experience to date is that I am not very enthused about book reviews, and I favor galvanizing feature stories and interviews. Book reviews tend to be most helpful to those who seek library and book store sales. For people who are working beyond the bookstore and library, and for those who sell direct, just rely on Amazon or online sales and web sites, or are pushing for quantity and special sales, problem solving tips articles, feature stories and in depth topical interviews produce far better return on investment. This is where I’ve seen the greatest gains for authors and publishers.
That’s because, from a publicity point of view, the media actually don’t care a lot about what the product is. They are only interested in publishing three things: news, education and entertainment. They honestly couldn’t care less about whether you wrote a book or have one available for sale. To most media that fact that you wrote a book is just a credential to you being a person who’s qualified to give a newsworthy comment.
Sure if they like the book, if it has real added value to a lot of people in their particular audience, then media may choose to write about the book. But for the most part, they aren’t real inclined to help you sell product. Their view is that if you want them to promote your product so you can sell books, then take out an ad.
What the media really wants to publish and what they respond to best is galvanizing quality content that is interesting to lots of people in their particular audience and that has real added value to them. This is what they need to satisfy their audience and keep the subscription and advertising revenues flowing. This is also what you need to provide them, if you want to get media coverage.
I can get people publicity whether they’ve written and published a book or not. I do this day in day out. All we have to do to be successful is focus on what the media needs. They respond to that.
Even a fiction book makes you an expert of a sort, who can offer helpful insights and information on topics germane and relevant to the book.
What that means is that we focus on using problem solving tips articles, human interest, delving into issues that people want to know about.
Some fiction examples that produced media success this year:
* For Ayna Meppelink’s book ‘I See a Red Door’, we present content talking about what it’s like to be just like her characters, a reluctant, psychic, doubting what her senses are telling her.
* For Mary Anna Evans book ‘Effigies’, we pitch talking points that explore the deep Southern culture, ethics, and biases that her characters encounter.
* For Molly Dwyers book ‘Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein’, we pitch interview and feature content that explores the feminist politic and what it’s like to be a revolutionary woman rising above desperate times.
* For Nick Ruth’s Dark Dreamweaver series, we emphasize the esteem building, character developing themes for young people, and the power of dreams and goal setting.
* For the children’s book, ‘Grandpa Grouper’, by Don Arends, we focused on the idea that the book delivers underwater adventure and contains distinctly innovative human interest. The lead sentence to the news release declares, “Grandpa Don Arends looks a lot like the main character in his new children’s book, ‘Grandpa Grouper, The Fish With Glasses.’
What you have to resist and avoid is telling the media anything at all about how your publishing struggles, marketing plans, publishing and promotional activities, and book sales. This will result in coverage that is all about you, but offers very little motivation to a reading or listening or watching audience to learn more about your products, and the knowledge, feelings, benefits and the personal experiences they can receive by getting what you offer. You need to focus what you offer on the media audience. That is your mission. That has to be your focus.
More important, you can’t just describe it, and say, it’s in the book. Your news release has to actually persuade media to call you and ask for the book to review, and to do that the release has to actually trigger some feelings, desire, want, and emotion. The news release has to do what your book does and achieve that emotional engagement in about 30 seconds. You have to deliver a thrill, a pleasure, an emotion and a personal experience. I wrote this up a while ago as a ‘rule for getting publicity success’ like this:
Tell me story (a short, bed time story), give me a local news angle (of interest to my particular audience), hit me in the pocket book (make me or save me money), teach me something I didn’t know before (educate me), amaze me or astound me (like in WOW!), make my stomach churn (in horror or fear), or turn me on (yes, sex sizzles).
No matter what type of book or service you have, getting publicity is a completely separate task and requires you to use different ideas and actions. And to get publicity that sells books you have to be very interesting, have incredible things to say, or offer truly helpful, educational, entertaining or humorous, or galvanizing ideas that interest people in who you are and what you have to offer.
This is a process of testing and refining what you say until you know that if you communicate certain things, a known action will result. You can interest media in writing about you if what you offer is exceptionally good. If create and offer something interesting, then you will improve your chances of getting favorable publicity significantly. Communicating that what you have to offer is good is crucial.
If you are at a loss for what to do here is a quick way to identify and develop your core material.
What I tell my clients is this:
Imagine being in front of 20 to 30 of the very best people you think would be most interested and who in your service. Describe these people to me. These are your target customers so describe who they are.
Now identify the most important and interesting topic, challenges, or problem situation that will interest the maximum number of people you can think of in this pool of people, that relate to what you can speak about based on what you have created.
Think about being entertaining and informative with your points and develop the ideas at your story telling best. Think about how you talk to people about your book, especially when the conversation results in a sale. Look at your reviewer testimonials. Why do people like what you do? Use what you learned to guide you.
Then give me your ten best tips, problem solving actions or stories and ideas or lessons learned for your target audience. Can you give these people your ten commandments? Your best quips? The most important things you learned by writing?
Pretend you have three to five minutes to give these people ten absolutely phenomenal show stoppers. That means for ten items, you have less than 30 seconds for each one, plus a one minute intro and a one minute ending.
The goal is to create a vision for the media that clearly illustrates and allows them to visualize in their minds what your presentation and their article or interview is going to look like — How you can help them put an article that gets favorable thank you’s by mail phone and email, or a good show that entertains and educates the people in their audience.
Focus less on passive ideas and more on actions or positions people can take that people can take today! that deliver immediate or tangible real time or near term benefits, impacts, or predictable consequences. Use real stories about things that happened to you or other people to add human interest.
These ‘show stoppers’ could be “Do This Today” types of actions if it is advice you are giving to solve a problem or “Get a Load of This” type of emotionally engaging stories that are dramatic and personal and illustrate some achievement in the face of adversity.
This forms the core content to the news release/show proposal pitch.
In many cases ,these will also be publishable as an article with some caveats we can add to the beginning and ending of the core content to turn it into a proper news release offering. It will also become the core script for a Q & A style interview, so they serve many purposes.
You can do five do’s and five don’ts or whatever. You just have to be your wittiest and most galvanizing self. You can be humorous and/or serious, just be good and make them memorable. Keep them G Rated.
Hence the key to your success is being truly great at what you do. Help the people you can help the most. Please them and satisfy their needs beyond expectations. That’s what will get you attention. That’s how you create and deliver value.
That’s also how you market and achieve success and happiness.
I wrote an extensive article on this topic which you can see at my web site. It is titled:
Writing News Releases For Fiction Books
Here is another article that might be helpful to those who want more strategies in getting more book publicity titled: Cover letter or news release? Book review or feature story?
BTW – if you follow this advice, make sure you send what you create to me by email. I’ll be happy to take a look at them and give you some recommendations on what else to do next to get more publicity.