Wanting media to increase your book’s exposure is a great goal. The challenge is finding the right media and going after media that makes the most sense for your book, especially as an indie author. If you ask most book promotion companies, they will tell you that media is getting harder.
Most people who have worked in national media have never seen a climate like we have now. The news cycle is very narrow and if you want to use national media as a book promotion tool, you really need to bring your A-game.
This is particularly true if you’re an indie author and maybe doing your own national media pitching!
When it comes to pitching books to media, not all media is the right fit for your book. Book promotion and publicity should always be approached from the perspective of “How can I get more readers?” as opposed to “How can I get more national attention?” Because while national attention is a solid goal, it’s not always a good target.
Book promotion that takes the approach of “pulling in more readers” tends to have a more solid base. And this is because you are focused on the right things. When that happens, your book promotion choices become clear.
Let me explain.
Understanding the National Media Landscape and How You Can Leverage it for Book Promotion
On an average week, a national media person gets around one thousand pitches a week.
Can you even imagine ferreting through one thousand pitches?
The mere idea is mind-numbing. So, if you’re going to make a run at national media, you’d better be sure you’re a good fit and have a short, succinct pitch. Because the delete button is just one keystroke away.
The news cycle is also vastly different from where it was even five years ago. So a story that’s in the news today, may not be dominating the news tomorrow. What this means for you is that if you have a hot topic, something that’s making national news, you’d better be ready to go out with it immediately. I’ll explain more about this in a minute.
How to Know if You’re Really Ready for the Big Time
Does your story have national significance?
Is there a potential national audience for your book?
And, is this a reasonable goal for your book promotion?
I’m not talking about the fact that you want your book read by everyone in the US. What I mean is, is your topic interesting enough to garner national media attention? Is there a solid natural tie-in for your topic? If you aren’t sure, consider this: most fiction books do not have a national tie in. So I almost never recommend pitching them to a national media market.
But what happens if you decide to pitch to national media? I mean they could say yes, right? Why not take the chance! Well you can, and if you do, you’ll get deleted or worse, blacklisted. Meaning they’ll never read a single pitch by you, ever again.
Getting blacklisted by the media isn’t something that happens every day. But it does happen. Especially if an indie author decides to just ‘go for it’ and pitch themselves. Or anyone in general who wants to go after national media and thinks their book has a shot. Well, maybe it does, but you need to target it in the right way.
But first, let’s take a look at another book promotion tool that you maybe haven’t considered: regional media.
The Importance of Regional Media to Boost your Book Promotion
Regional media is so often overlooked by authors, it’s unreal. Even many book promotion companies overlook regional media because it’s not “sexy” enough. Well that may be true, but it’s a potentially great way to build your base as an indie author. By creating a regional buzz, you might just get national media interested.
To clarify, regional media is anything local to you.
Or, if you live in a very narrow market with little to no regional media, it might be a town or two over.
Regional media can be local radio, TV, newspapers and any local print publications or even online sites like Nextdoor.
These places are often hungry for new content and love their local authors. I also love regional media because as a book promotion base, it’s a very solid way to start getting your sea legs in media. And, sometimes national shows will find you if you’re building a lot of buzz locally.
Years ago, when Oprah still had her daytime talk show, she had “scouts” who ferreted through stories that were making lots of regional news. She jumped on them for her show and brought fresh, new content to her viewers.
Many national shows have scouts, it wasn’t just an Oprah thing. And they’re out there, looking for the next big story. So, if national media is your book promotion goal, this may be a great way to get it!
Jumping on a Hot News Story
One thing we do, like all good book promotion companies, is jump on big news stories that our indie authors can speak to.
The reason for this is that when news breaks, the media will be looking for experts to address different aspects of the story. Like the recent Florida school shooting.
If you have a story that you can speak to — or expertise, then you need to start pitching as soon as the first news alert appears. Some indie authors are hesitant to do this, thinking it looks callous to jump on a story like this, but that’s book promotion 101.
When something happens that you can tie into your book, you must use it.
Your ideas need to get out there, and by doing so you are helping or informing your audience. The media needs you but they also need you to connect with them right away. Because the news cycle is quite furious and fast and before you know it, they’ve moved on to another story, or another aspect of it. Or maybe they already have their experts lined up.
Trust me when I say that the media will work quickly to line up their experts, so don’t wait to pitch them.
Can an Indie Author Get into National Media?
The short answer is yes!
The longer answer is that it does depend on the topic, the level of your expertise, and how you’ve positioned yourself on your website, or via your social media. Another factor is how often you speak to this topic, or speak on it (via speaking events).
If your goal (whether short term or long term) is to turn your book promotion into some national media, then you need to get serious about how you represent the topic into the world.
Because you may have some amazing knowledge in your particular area. However, more often than not, a coveted national news interview will go to the person who has the best “package.” By this, I mean the expert with a succinct message on their website, social media. It’s someone who is walking the walk of their message – so to speak.
There are ways that you and prep your book promotion for national media, and one of them is by blogging.
Blogging as an Important Tool for Book Promotion and National Media
If one of your book promotion strategies is to pitch yourself to national media, then it’s important to have a solid platform based on your author expertise.
A blog can be a great way to build that platform. Because if the media is looking for experts, they could find you through your blog.
Conversely, if you’re pitching yourself to big media, they’ll definitely want to see how you push your message out to the world – via your blog and social media.
So blogging is key to getting your message out there, as is blogging on a regular basis. I’d recommend blogging twice weekly, at a minimum. And your blogs don’t have to be long, they can be shorter pieces (400 words).
A good formula for blogging as a solid book promotion tool is to have a long post once a week and then a shorter one. (Hint: posting great content regularly also helps for SEO.)
The other key is, if a topic in your expertise is dominating national news, be sure to blog about it and even reference some of the news pieces that you’ve heard.
Blogging is your voice. It’s a way to drive attention to your message and yourself. And, it’s also a solid book promotion strategy to get more attention from bigger media.
The Timing of Book Promotion and Media Pitching
When it comes to pitching the media, timing is always crucial.
As I mentioned earlier, if there’s a story that’s hitting, even if “reports are unconfirmed” get out ahead of this story by contacting your media.
Have a pitch ready to go, so you aren’t spending time crafting it. And, find the right media to pitch to and have that ready as well.
I call it your media GO bag. When a story hits, you need to GO with the pitch. Taking action is a solid book promotion strategy. Whereas waiting is not.
The timing is so crucial in fact, that if the media is looking for experts to comment on the story that’s making news, they’ll often find them within an hour of the topic breaking. So if you’re an indie author, be prepared.
The Bottom Line for Getting Media as an Indie Author
As an indie author, there are a wide number of book promotion options available to you, whether you’re going it alone or hiring a book marketing company. And, if your message ties into a current regional or national topic, media can be a great way to get more readers. You just have to be prepared and go about it the right way! And this is advice that book promotion companies worth their salt will give you.
Remember, blogging is a key strategy for getting national media. In fact, even regional media will pay attention to how you present yourself. Ultimately timing and being on message is everything. So watch the news and have your GO bag ready for when the news cycle steers your way. Your preparedness will pay off!
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