Direct Contact PR, Internet media faxgrowth

children’s books

Getting more publicity in newspapers means going beyond the book pages

Strategies and tactics for getting beyond the book review pages

One of my clients expressed her frustration in getting her local paper to give her coverage for a children’s book. Her local paper was The New Orleans Time’s Picayune.

I offer up some of the techniques I use to help identify how to increase your chances of being successful with them and other newspapers and media who cover children’s books.

Use the 3 I Technique and the newspapers’ own search engine.

The 3 I Technique consists of 3 steps:

1. Identify a Success Story (and use this for a model for your own pitch).

2. Imitate It (line by line).

3. Innovate It (with your own information).

Now go to the target media that you want to be in.

I went to since this is where you want to be, but you could use Google News,, the NY Times, or any media that you want to target.

Now search on your key words: children’s book

I used the singular (book) to capture both articles that use ‘children’s book’ and ‘children’s books’

Here’s the search:

The first set of results included several years’ worth of articles so I used the advanced search engine option to narrow the results to the past 18 months only.

Now start studying the articles. Look to see what the editors write and publish, who the journalists are, what the articles contain in the way of information about the books, the authors, and their stories.

Make a list of the key content you see and realize that this list reveals both the editorial style and readership interests of the media you are studying.

Now use the 3 I Technique and start writing headlines, leads, sentences, paragraphs, and ends that mimic the articles you see.

If you use this process carefully, when you get through you have created a draft article that will very likely have all the characteristics of a feature story that looks like it came right out of the media you are using. You’ve done this on the first try without much pain at all.

Now polish it up and turn it into a news release. Send it to your target media.

You can also now use this same news release and send it to a custom targeted media list of other media.

There are about 2200 media that you can pitch that will consider stories about children’s books and authors in the US and Canada.

This is one of the best ways I know to be successful when you try for reviews and stories.

If all you do is seek a book review, you are narrowing your chances of getting media coverage. Book reviews occupy a very small portion of the overall publication. You have far greater opportunity for media coverage if you expand your horizons and look at other sections of the publications you seek to be in.

To avoid the risk and stigma of being classified as a self-publisher and experiencing the negative response associated with such a determination, you must first make sure that your book has the quality and content of a professionally produced product. This is a given.

Assuming it passes muster, then you must then bring into your pitch for media coverage, news angles and story content that goes well beyond what is covered on the book review pages. You must be totally aware of the type of news, educational information, entertainment information, and human interest data that is used in the other parts of the media publication (or tv or radio show) that you want to be in. Then you must consciously and strategically array and incorporate this type of data and information into your news release.

If you look over the stories in the NOLA search you will see that they do appear to be quite discriminating in what they choose to publish. But there are media coverage opportunities you can aim at. The big area of opportunity appears to be in local book events with a strong community involvement element.

To maximize your chances, you must identify the topics and the content of the articles that you see and then propose and present comparable content.

Now there is a diversity of content demonstrated in the articles. Learn from them. Identify from these articles the characteristics and information that is deemed newsworthy and do your best to present comparable information about yourself.

Just realize that no matter what you do, the media you are pitching to may still have a standard for “celebrity” that may be very difficult indeed to achieve. In the case of NOLA, if you look over the articles they publish on children’s book authors, you will see that the “celebrity” standard is indeed quite high indeed. In the past year, it does not appear that they have even written on article about a local author unless he or she was indeed a best seller or had “national celebrity” status.

You may think that you deserve to be there, but these media may simply still decide that you do not have what they are looking for to justify the coverage to their audience. Accept it and move on. Don’t get in a slump over the media you can’t please. They are making editorial decisions that keep them thriving economically as publishers. Realize that they are very sensitive to the character of their articles and editorial coverage. There are economic reasons that force them to maintain rather strict policies on what they can publish, so as to avoid any loss of revenue. The “self-publishing stigma” is one of those areas. Imagine the consequences of giving media coverage to low quality books. Understand what happens to subscriptions and advertising revenue if the audience decides, that was a pretty poorly done book you wrote about. The quality of the paper goes down if the quality of the content fails to stay at the levels that the paying audience expects and demands. So realize and understand the plight of your fellow publishers. They too are trying to stay alive publishing.

My advice is to try your best, allow yourself to fail, and move on. Stay focused on working with the media that will allow you to reach the people that matter the most to you. Like my client Andy Andrews says “what you focus on get bigger”.

So focus on getting beyond the book pages. Use the 3 I technique to bring your proposal up to the caliber and style of the media you want to be in.

Then present it to that media and all sorts of other similar media who will be interested in this sort of content. You will find that when you use these techniques to create a quality media proposal that contains the type of information, you will see other media respond to that quality content as well.

You can use this combination of tactics any time to maximize your media coverage and success.

Go for it!

Getting Publicity for Children’s Books

Tactics and strategies for publicizing and promoting children's books

Using other people’s opt-in email lists to try to sell a children’s book won’t make you any friends. Marketing and publicizing this way has not proven to be very effective.

On the other hand, you can create a children’s book news release and send it to the right media.

I can tell you from experience that we do see media respond well to quality children’s books.

I work with dozens of children’s book authors and publishers every year, and create custom targeted media lists that cover family parenting, children’s books, and the online media who cover these areas, and the news releases tend to produce dozens of media requests and articles and interviews.

I study the lists of family parenting and children’s book reviewers carefully every month. There are about 800 media who cover family and parenting, and about 500 who cover children and youth topics. I just searched and as of a few minutes ago there are 79 identified media who cover children’s books as a defined outlet topic (a journalism beat)..

About 30 percent of them are bloggers. The rest work at newspapers, magazines, radio and tv, or are freelance writers.

I wrote a dedicated post a few weeks ago all about the mommy bloggers, a new and special class of media who can be reached. Here’s the link:

Children’s book news releases are a special breed, which I cover in my new book, Trash Proof News Releases. Here’s some of the special guidance in the book.

The most important question you must answer in a children’s book news release is:

Why will kids and parents like this book?

Tell the media quickly:

Ø What’s it all about?
Ø Who wrote it and why is the author qualified?
Ø Who is it for?
Ø What makes it unique and special?
Ø What happens to the characters?
Ø What’s funny, dramatic, or distinctive?

Additional tips to factor in:

Ø Use illustrations or the book cover effectively.
Ø Offer the media review copies as an incentive
Ø Provide the key book publication details.
Ø Provide the very best reviewer comments
Ø Author bio and credentials are helpful and any personal story that is related to the creation of the book.
Ø Author advice on the special topic related to the books purpose
Ø Interview questions and answers
Ø Local news angles

Do not talk about the book marketing. Marketing facts and author difficulties will not be persuasive with editors or helpful to getting publicity.

So once you create a news release and prove that it’s effective, you can use and tailor the same proven message in all sorts of other communication mediums and technologies.

Just remember that the message is the most crucial element. Depending on the message it’s either GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) or MIMO (Magic In Magic Out). It’s up to you to figure out what you can say that will turn people on and produce the action you need.

Here’s a link to some sample children’s book news releases.

* Children’s Books News Releases Download this file (Model News Releases)

My book Trash Proof News Releases is also available as a free ebook download at SmashWords

State of Ohio House Bill 31 would make author “State Children’s Book Author”

House Bill 31 would make "Lentil" the state children's book and it's author, Robert McCloskey, the state children's book author.

Robert McCloskey, who died in 2003, wrote the book Lentil. Some people think it’s a pretty good book.

In fact, so good, they want to memorialize it in a state law.

House Bill 31 would make “Lentil” the state children’s book and it’s author, Robert McCloskey, the state children’s book author.

The Oxford Press article “Bill would make author a state icon”

Concerns are being expressed by other children’s book authors….

“What about us?” they appear to say….

Should the government endorse the work of an author to the extent that his or her work is embodied and endorsed with praise in the law of the land?

To me, this seems a more that a little beyond where government should be exercising legal and policy authority.