When it comes to figuring out how to market your book, one of the best things to happen to any author is some kind of media placement. But media can be tricky, between having the right timing for a pitch, and the pitch itself, working media placements into an overall book marketing campaign can be tricky.
But with places like Profnet and HARO (a free media leads aka book promotion service) it’s easier to find media, and especially media who are looking for your expertise.
If you aren’t familiar with media leads services, there are several of them, Profnet and HARO being the biggest, and the system is pretty simple. Each day (sometimes a few times a day) HARO sends a newsletter with media requests for that day.
Sometimes the media requests are for national or regional outlets, other times they’re bloggers looking for topic experts. Regardless of the outlet, these media requests are a great way to garner some additional publicity angles when deciding how to market your book throughout the year.
And yes, book marketing is a marathon, not a sprint, so think in years, not weeks. So how do you go from seeing the media lead to getting the media person to notice you?
In my job, at my company (which offers book promotion services) I get leads daily, often multiple times a day. These are considered warm leads because they are reporters who are actively working on a story.
So, if my inbox is full of emails, that’s the first message I’ll open. Why? Because if a media person is working on a story, it’s likely they’re on a deadline. Unwilling to miss out on this lead, I need to set aside whatever I’m working on, and respond to any appropriate media queries.
But where do you start with this process and working it in to how to market your book? Let’s have a look:
Respond to Queries Related to Your Area of Expertise
The first and most obvious piece of this is to find on-topic queries. I mention this right out of the gate because while it’s okay to take some creative license with local pitching, (more on that in a minute) if a reporter has published a query on HARO, they’re probably looking for something super specific. So, don’t respond unless you can offer expertise that’s relevant to the story.
If a reporter or media person is flexible with their query (meaning if they’re looking for a wide range of experts) they’ll mention that.
There is a leaning towards non-fiction authors for queries, of course – since most of these folks are topic experts and it’s naturally easier to figure out how to market your book to a specific topic. But if you’re a fiction author and your book promotion plate isn’t too full, you might find a lead or two you can respond to as well.
Book Promotion 101 – The Importance of Timely Responses
I can’t emphasize this enough. If you see a query for something you can speak to, don’t wait or put it off – respond immediately.
The longer you wait, the more likely the media person’s inbox is filling up with other responses who will get noticed before they even get to yours. How quick should you respond?
I try to get responses out within 15-30 minutes of getting the newsletter. Yes, that quick. Even if the media professional has a deadline that’s a few days out, do not wait until the last minute to respond.
Short, Content Rich Responses
The elements of a good response require more than just a note saying you’d like to be considered. Depending on what the topic is, you could either respond in a bite of information – a small paragraph, or you could offer some bullet point thoughts that are tightly related to whatever the media person is looking for.
In most queries I find that media people are pretty specific about what they’re seeking, in terms of information. So, respond in kind.
Be specific and offer ideas that the media person can literally lift and use for their story, because figuring out how to market your books means figuring out how to make it as relevant as possible to your potential reader market.
Try not to write back and say “I’ll have to look this or that up” – if you’re the expert (and you’ve been doing some of your own book promotion), you should have the information on hand, and not have to get back to them.
About the Author
I always try to include a short 1-2 sentence message about the author, wherein I’ll mention that they’ve written a book called: XYZ. Keep it short and to the point, the media person knows you’re likely in the midst of doing your own book promotion, you don’t need to drive that point home by over-emphasizing your book.
Don’t Try to Push your Book
If you’re lucky enough to get interviewed, do not push your book. I know that sounds crazy, consider everything I’m covering, but knowing how to market your book the right way means being smart about it.
You can offer to mail them a copy (or email them an eBook) but do not otherwise push your book on them. Make sure the book is mentioned in your bio. A savvy book marketer knows that less is more.
Don’t Follow Up
As a book promotion specialist, I’m a fan of the follow up, but with media leads I never do. If they want you, they’ll find you.
If it’s appropriate to your market, good book promotion should include media leads. These are media professionals looking for a story and if you’re that expert, this is a really great opportunity for you to get your message in front of lots and lots of potential readers. Good luck!
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