Book marketing to national media has becomes increasingly competitive so I want to give you some pointers on how to pitch a story to local media, the story of course being the fact that you’re a local author with a new release.
Is it breaking news? No. But there are smart ways to make yourself more appealing and secure more coverage.
First, don’t get caught up in your Amazon ranking and social media schedules.
As an indie author your focus should also be on local media because it helps you build your brand, reach new readers you have something in common with, and nurture relationships with buyers who will support you for the long haul.
Establishing yourself as a local indie author worth following is key, especially if you’re fortunate enough to live in a vibrant, civic-minded part of the country.
Securing Local Media Means Knowing Your Reader
You should already know your target reader like your best friend. If not, download my FREE reader profile worksheet included in the resources and downloads section at the end of this piece.
And what’s really important is considering what changes when you move those people from the virtual world to the real world.
Where does your target reader hang out locally? Do they shop at particular types of stores? What activities or groups might they be apart of?
Let the answers to these questions inspire you!
Focus on Events and Activities
What events, organizations or businesses, both local and regional, cater to your target reader and their interests?
Check the local events calendar of your newspaper.
Find a local media website dedicated to events happening around town. If you live in a popular area for tourists, you can be sure to find one.
Check the events tab on Facebook. Facebook is becoming a popular hub for finding local events and activities. See what’s happening in your local area today!
Complete your list of events and activities that will compliment your goals as an author. Make the contact with the businesses. Explain who you are and what you do. Immerse yourself (and your book) into your community.
The more you follow and participate in what’s going on, the more relevant you are to local media for a potential story. Focus on being a thought leader on a local level and you’ll see your value skyrocket.
Make Yourself Newsworthy
In order to understand what’s newsworthy, you need to follow the news and other local media outlets. So if you’re not already immersed, work on that.
And as you’re pouring through local media coverage create a list of local and regional media contacts that cover local businesses, artists and lifestyle & entertainment topics.
Most news outlets, publications and radio shows have a set process for pitching story ideas. Do the research. Follow their rules. Pitch yourself in a way that makes you stand out, which means going back to what I said about being a thought leader and making yourself relevant.
Remember, there are over 4,500 books published every day so just having a book will not be newsworthy – dig deep to figure out what you can offer at the next level.
Bring the Local Media to You
Compile a list of potential venues for an author event as a way to control how much attention is put on you and your book and what you have to offer your community.
Places like bookstores that do indie author events all the time are a go-to. But think outside the box and consider non-traditional locations as well, because you’ll be more of a commodity.
Maybe your readers frequent a local brewery or wine bar? Visit a coffee shop that does live music. Find a venue that is well versed in planning and hosting events to take a lot of the guesswork out of it. Contact your local YMCA or other youth organizations if you have a book that interests parents and children.
I’ve included out of the box ideas in our resources and downloads section and you’ll surprise yourself with how receptive non-bookstore venues can be.
Do Some Competitive Book Marketing Research
You should already have a short list of your competition. These indie authors write in your genre, are at a similar level, not yet at bestselling status, but hungry.
Start one if you don’t have one already. This will come in handy when researching book marketing strategies.
Check out their websites and social media. See what kinds of events and activities they’re promoting to their fans. Study your competition. Find inspiration.
Don’t put all your time and energy into marketing and promoting virtually to big media.
Yes, these are great to add to your resume however there’s a process to get to that level. Very, very few indie authors get to skip those steps. I challenge you to find one.
I’ve worked with a lot of authors, both indie and traditionally published. Most are surprised at what little return they get from big coverage.
Most are shocked that they didn’t see a spike in sales or social media follows.
Personal connections are still the most valuable ones you can make.
Drum up local interest and support for your work. Keep at your local book marketing. Grow it into regional interest. Build your following as you continue to publish books and you’ll soon find that national coverage won’t seem so pie in the sky.
Contact us if you’re still stumped or if you just need a personalized assessment. We can help you assess whether you are ready for big media!
Resources and Free Downloads
Planning Author Events in “Out of the Box” Venues