When you’ve written a book for your business, you need to find ways to expose it to your ideal readers. The last thing you want, after having spent so long writing, editing, publishing it, is to launch it into a black hole of silence.
That’s why it’s important to use the right strategies to garner media attention for your book and for you as its author. Although doing so isn’t trivial, fortunately, it can be accomplished using the same tactics you would otherwise use to get media for your business.
Think about it this way:
Your customers are constantly bombarded with sales pitches by gurus, coaches, dentists, and pet food suppliers, claiming to be the best. To stand out from all this noise, you need other voices (not just your own) actually saying you’re the best. If those voices have influence with an audience of readers, viewers, or listeners, their endorsement of your book can be a powerful thing.
Publicity is all about getting you just this type of media attention and endorsement. If done successfully, you’ll amplify your message, spread the word about you and your business, and build your own credibility and authority. So how is it done?
When it comes to getting publicity of any kind, “It’s all about breaking into the conversation in the first place,” says Patrick McCaully, founder of and Director of International Media Domination at Pointman News Creation. He goes on to say, “Entrepreneurs have to be real about how a journalist will see their book. I would estimate that eighty-five to ninety-five percent of pitches to media are either not newsworthy or are not formatted in a way that media can use easily.”
As important as your book is to you, you’ve got to put in some extra work to make it interesting and relevant to the media and its audiences. You need to get comfortable “creating news” to get media coverage for you, your book, and your business.
Here are some tips on how to do exactly that when pitching to the media:
1. Be targeted
Broad media coverage strokes the ego, but it won’t net you many readers. Instead, look for outlets with audiences that look like the person you envision reading your book. This can include traditional media, of course, but also think about reaching out to targeted outlets like niche websites, blogs, YouTube channels, and podcasts. Social media influencers might be worth reaching out to, too, depending on what your book is about.
2. Make it personal
Don’t send out an impersonal blast to a long list of contacts. That rarely works. Instead, take the time to research people who’ve written or aired stories about your book subject in the past. Then send a personal note, referencing their previous work and sharing why you feel their readers or listeners would be interested in what you have to say.
3. Be proactive
Share some ideas about how your book ties into current events or seasonal themes, or how it has local relevance. Writers, editors, and journalists are busy, so the easier you make it for them, the more likely they’ll be to take on your story.
4. Focus on your story
It may hurt to hear this, but it’s true: Journalists don’t care that you’ve launched a book. What do they care about? Human interest stories, or useful information that will engage their audience. So, if you want them to pay attention, focus on your story, or on how your subject is relevant and important to their audience. Otherwise, your carefully crafted message will likely end up in the Trash.
5. Don’t forget the basics
Be clear about when your book will be published so media doesn’t hit before your book is available. Time your outreach four to six weeks ahead of launch to make sure there’s time to schedule coverage in editorial calendars.
Bringing in a Pro
Generating media exposure is a lot of work, as you can see. So, it can be worth it to hire a professional publicist or small PR agency to help — especially if it’s not something you enjoy doing yourself. While earlier is always better, one to two months before launch should provide the necessary lead time. “Fees vary by experience, size of agency, and location of the communications professional,” says McCaully, “but you should expect to budget between five and fifteen thousand dollars, depending on what market(s) you’re trying to reach.”
I know of authors who have spent as much as mid-five-figures on promoting their book. So, you’ll want to decide it if it’s worth paying for. Generally speaking, publicity is most important when your target audience is broad and your goal is to drive book sales. In that case, allocating a healthy publicity budget and engaging professional assistance is a pretty good idea.
It’s all about ROI
Knowing how much effort (and money) you should put into promoting your book depend a lot on your goals and the pay-off you expect from it. Which is why it’s vital that you begin with the end in mind and plan your book strategically from the start. If you need help with that, Chapter 1 of Entrepreneur to Author covers exactly that topic and you can download it for free at www.entrepreneurtoauthor.com.