The first thing that authors often ask me is: “How do I get on the Today show?” When you ask this question what you actually want to know are some of the ways to get more big media exposure for your book, especially on a national scale. But if you take a look at the Today show or any large national show for that matter, you’ll see that most of them don’t showcase more than four books a year. That means that it’s really on you, the author, to find more creative ways to pitch yourself. This is something we’ll continue to break down in a series of podcasts and blogs.
Aim High, But Not TOO High
It makes sense to be realistic in setting your expectations, especially when trying to get more big media exposure for your book. Understand that you need to build your media chops before you go after a white whale like the Today show. The way to do this is to choose targets that you might actually get a yes from, instead of spending a ton of time pitching long shots and getting no response.
A lot of authors like to just throw stuff out there to see what sticks. Honestly, that’s a bad way of pitching yourself! You can easily get blackballed in media, no matter how many times you reach out. You have to be incredibly careful and thoughtful about who you to pitch, how you pitch to them, and when.
Timing And Tact Are Important
Try to assume that you only get so many contacts with a single news outlet or with a particular individual, so make each one count! Educate yourself on your specific market and stay on top of that market as it appears in the news. What I recommend for our authors is to set up news alerts for the market they’re planning on targeting.
News alerts are a great way to ground yourself in how competitive your topic is, and who’s making the cut. It’s important to check out the people who are getting interviewed – I’m willing to bet they already have a solid platform behind them, that they’re putting out content regularly, and that they have at least one great social media account. Remember that successful people have put in a lot of work to get where they are.
Moving on to Fiction
If you write fiction you can increase your opportunities by tying what you write into a non-fiction topic that’s still relevant and interesting to your target market. Get creative! Think about what inspired your story: is it something you’re passionate about or a life experience you’ve built off or, or is it a social issue you’re committed to addressing?
Present these ideas to lifestyle bloggers (go beyond book bloggers) and to local media as a way to really add depth to your brand. A good example of this was Tom Clancy who used to be called upon to be a military expert with CNN. And let’s not forget that each media portal also has an online portal too, which is always looking for content. This will help you get more media exposure for your book.
Don’t Forget About Trade Media
Although trade media may seem unsexy if you aspire to be on a national talk show, remember that it’s incredibly relevant. I adore trade media! When I talk about trade media remember that I’m talking about magazines or online portals that might be off the radar screen to the general consumer. If you have a topic that’s specific to a business market (HR or something along those lines) I can almost guarantee you there’s a publication for that. And they are always looking for content.
Remember that you’re in the process of building your resume and that means that nothing is too small. In fact, lots of seemingly “small” opportunities particularly stand out when you take the next step, versus having nothing on your media resume and expecting somewhere like Today or the New York Times to take a big chance on you – spoiler alert: they want a sure thing!
Media draws media and the more you do within the field, even the smallish shows, the more you’ll get. In fact Chicken Soup for the Soul started that way – they never turned down a single interview, and that’s what they built their empire on, aside from their uplifting books, of course!
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