Looking to Get More Eyes on Your Book? Don’t Forget Traditional Media
Authors typically find themselves in a funny spot – you write in relative isolation on a book for years, and then once it is getting ready to publish you are expected to promote it to everyone you meet.
That promotion part can be tricky, and it is often difficult to find the right outlets for your work. Modern authors also may think they must focus primarily on social media to ensure they find an audience for their work.
I’m going to suggest something radical here, so be prepared: In addition to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you may want to reach out to traditional media to talk about your book. Yes, I’m talking newspapers, magazines and television stations. Shocking? Not really. But many new authors forget about these essential media stars.
Your ideal reader is already reading – they are word nerds. They likely check out book reviews in both The New York Times or similar national publication as well as your local newspaper. They watch television for local news. They pick up local magazines when they’re out and about or have them delivered to their home.
And I’m talking hyper local – even that free tabloid newspaper that comes to your home without subscribing is a prime space to promote your book. Why? Because so many people are already reading it and it arrives at their home like clockwork. Those are your readers. That is your audience. And, for the large part, getting an article in those publications is easy and usually free.
So how do you create this kind of promotion? As a reporter who works for newspapers and magazines, I’ll share the secret: You’ve got to find a byline of someone you like to read, and then reach out to them. Find their email and write to them. Find their address via Google and send them a book. Write them a Tweet or Facebook post. Be relentless (within reason, of course). There are days when reporters are searching for a story, and your email will pop up in their mailbox at just the right time. So you’ve got to be in that mailbox to get noticed.
Think of a theme for the story. Suggest an idea. Partner your book with events, activities or gift-giving seasons. Offer to write a story for them. Put a blog post together that talks about your book and other local authors. Submit those ideas to the local newspaper, and chances are they’ll take you up on your offer for an interview or a full-fledged story. Those pages don’t fill themselves, and writing staffs are smaller than ever in today’s world.
If you seek media coverage for your book, you’ve got to hit all of the outlets available to you in a systematic way. And that should include traditional media in addition to social media. Make yourself and your book available to these journalists, and you’ll see your book sales and reach grow.