- Do your research. Find out if there is a market for your book. Define the target audience. When you start your book marketing, it will be much easier to create the right messaging when you have a clearly defined audience.
- Build your tribe. Your tribe of fans will follow you to see what’s next and refer their friends. Make it easy for people to join your tribe. Include a sign-up for your mailing list on your website in a prominent place. Add a note at the end of your book asking your readers to join your tribe – whether that’s signing up for your mailing list or following you on social media.
- Say yes to every media opportunity. Every opportunity is a step leading to bigger opportunities. Write articles, send out review copies, agree to podcast interviews.
It takes time and effort to find the right media contacts. Know what a journalist writes about before reaching out to them. If you your book is about managing finances, you don’t want to reach out to the beauty editor of a women’s magazine.
There are several ways to find the right media contacts.
LinkedIn is a great place to find media contacts.
Find media companies and then look at the People section or Employees section to find media persons to connect with. As an example, here’s the People section for the Chicago Tribune.
Visit their LinkedIn profile to learn more about them and see how else you can connect with them. You may find that you have mutual connections or are in some of the same groups. You can now connect with them with a note saying something like, “I see we are both in [NAME OF GROUP] here on LinkedIn. I’d like to connect and learn more about what you do” or “We have several mutual connections and I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Better yet, ask one of those mutual connections for an introduction.
Check their profile section “Contact info”. Often, you’ll find their Twitter handle there or other way to contact them as well. Once you’ve connected, start a dialogue and develop a relationship before pitching to them.
Once you find media contacts on Twitter, create a list and add them to your Twitter list. You’ll be able to quickly find all those contacts in one place. See what they are tweeting about and see if it ties in with your story. You can use the @ symbol and tweet to them to try to get their attention. You may or may not get a response.
Search the internet for media contacts. This can be time consuming and tedious. Be sure to keep a spreadsheet so you don’t have to go search again once you’ve found contact information for media persons.
Search for local area newspapers, radio, TV, etc. In the Contact section of their website you’ll often find a list of editors, media contacts, journalists, etc. Make sure you’re contacting the right person for your topic.
Help A Reporter Out
Sign up for HARO (Help A Reporter Out) as a source. You’ll receive emails with opportunities to respond to requests from journalists on a variety of topics. It’s a marvelous PR opportunity.
Be quick to respond for the best chance of being chosen as a source for a reporter. Several clients have used HARO and been included in round-up posts in various online articles. These articles can be promoted on social media—and it’s a great way to connect with others who write about similar topics that were included in the round-up posts.
A press release is an announcement. For nonfiction authors it’s usually announcing their book release. You might also send out a press release if you’ve won an award or have an upcoming event.
The basics of a press release include:
- A concise, informative headline
- City and state where you are located
- The main points in the first paragraph, with supporting information in following paragraphs
- Answers to who, what, where, when, why, and possibly, how
- Newsworthy information–why would anyone else care about this story? Is it relevant and interesting to your target audience?
- A short quote
- Contact information–name, email, phone number, website, social media sites
- End it with three hashes ### This shows the media person that it is the end of your press release.
Your press release should fit on one page. Publish your press release on your website so you can easily share the link on social media and in emails when pitching to media persons. Here’s a sample press release we did for a client.
- Address the person by name. If you don’t have a specific name, find one. Do your research on their website or give them a call to find the right person to send your pitch to. Find out what kinds of stories they like to cover so you can tailor your pitch to what interests them.
- The first thing they’ll see in your email is the subject line. A clear, concise subject line is important. Never use all caps or exclamation points.
- Keep your email short and to the point. Explain what you are pitching and why. Pitch a story–not your book. Your story needs to be newsworthy. What current events or trends can you tie in?
- If you have a press release, don’t attach it since files can contain viruses and this may prevent the media person from opening your email. Instead include a link to where they can read it online.
- End with a clear call to action: what you want, and why they should reply.
- Be sure to include your full contact information in your email signature–name, phone, email, and website. Consider including your social media sites as well so the media person can do their research on you.
- Don’t send the same pitch twice to the same media outlet. If they didn’t respond the first time, they will just be annoyed that you sent it again.
A press release is a great book promotion tool for nonfiction authors. It lets the media know why your book is timely and practical, and can help you get publicity for your book. It’s perfect for announcing your initial book release. However, you can also use additional press releases for your book any time you can tie in your book’s topic to a current event or topic.
As an example, my client Deborah Olson sent out a press release around Friendship Day because it tied in with the topic of her book The Healing Power of Girlfriends: How to Create Your Best Life Through Female Connection.
Press releases can be submitted online and to local media people. For the best results, take time to research how to write a press release and when it’s written, proofread carefully and have another set of eyes proofread again.