A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
people make a key mistake in how they present themselves or their message to
the news media and to potential book buyers.But there’s a simple way to correct it that allows you to secure more
media coverage, sell more books, and persuade others to value your viewpoints.
people especially authors, talk about their book or themselves they make a
fatal flaw.They think the conversation
is about them, but in reality it’s about the listeners and their needs,
desires, curiosities, and experiences.
can state something one way, and people reacted to it a certain way.If you just tweak how and what you say,
you’ll witness a different reaction.At
the core of things it’s still you talking about yourself and your book, but the
subtle differences in presentation make a world of difference in how others
embrace a message.
let’s say your book is about how to grow rich.Perhaps your book is based on your success in becoming wealthy.So what would the media want to hear to
convince them they should interview you?
can be ego-centric and highlight how rich you are and tell stories of your
opulent life.But that could turn people
can state, as a credential, how wealthy you are, but then offer tips and
strategies as to how others can copy some of your success.Now you’re offering something to help others
and it shifts the focus from you to them.
will buy your book for anyone of a handful of reasons.You either inform, entertain, enlighten, or
empower them.That’s it.So when you talk about your book to a group
of people, you have to filter all that you say through a prism.Is what you say going to support one of those
four things?Which of the four does this
group care most about?
you believe people want to be entertained, and that people will buy your book
because they hope to be entertained by it, then all that you do in a dialogue
with others should have the singular goal of entertaining them.It’s almost useless to go beyond that.This is part of your branding.You need to understand why someone will buy
your book and then feed them back what they want, need, or expect.
can’t be everything to everyone.You can
only hope to be something to someone.Don’t try to please everyone – you’ll fail to win anyone over.Look to segment and customize your
approach.Appeal to the type of people
or demographic that you feel most certain of as your targeted buyer or media
outlet.This approach at minimizing who
your book is for will help you get maximum exposure and results.
they see a return on investment offered by you.
your ROI is better than others that they are mulling.
need to have a clear understanding of what you are selling.
need to be convinced you are a legitimate expert.
need to trust you and have faith you are not a scammer.
will want to like you or relate to you.
want little or no risks to dealing with you.
want to feel you offer something they need or desire.
packaging is a plus.
good price is extra nice.
want convenience or ease in dealing with you.
want to feel you understand them or support their plight.
want to be able to relate to you or connect on some level.
You can and should do many things to not only put people at
ease, but to get them on your side. Everything you say and do, or don’t say and
don’t do – will influence their decision of whether to buy from you. The words
you select, the ideas you raise, the questions you ask, the stories you share –
all of it contributes to their forming a quick assessment as to whether they
want to work with you.
Whatever you do, take hold of the things you have control
over. You can be on time or even early. You can respond quickly to emails or
calls. You can be polite and respectful. You can share ideas – it costs you
nothing. You can also exude confidence and reassure them of your passion for
what interests them. You also have, within your capability, to be rude, sloppy,
lazy, inconsiderate, late and scores of other turn-offs that plague your
competitors. Take control with positive steps!
Make The Book
them a gift.
them solve a problem.
them by understanding their needs – empathy.
to show genuine interest in them.
your passion for their topic.
hope, optimism, and confidence.
pep, energy and vigor.
with appreciation and sincerity.
positively phrased questions that cause them to think and engage you in a good
them see you offer mental, physical and financial benefits to them.
with intelligence and a rich vocabulary.
open your ears, eyes and heart and absorb their essence.
others with respect, courtesy, and professionalism.
them feel they are your sole focus and priority – give them your full
more than the customer expects – under promise and over deliver -- no delays,
mistakes, miscommunications, substitutions, excuses, or lies.
says it is banning “dangerous” users. Mark Zuckerberg hopes to single-handedly and arbitrarily clean up social media like the Wild, Wild
West needed a cleansing back in the 1800’s.
The only problem is that it is unAmerican to censor the voices of
others. He may not violate the legal protections of the First Amendment, but he
certainly destroys the spirit of it.
the problem: Facebook has abusive
posters, people spewing hate, sharing unfounded, extreme views, cursing at one another, and
debasing peaceful public dialogue.
solutions; shut down Facebook and no one posts anything. Not a good idea. Why punish all for the excess of the
few.? It’s also not happening because 2
billion users make FB worth a zillion bucks and FB isn’t going anywhere.
solution: educate users on the FB
policies, encourage users to clean up their acts. It’s been tried. It hasn’t worked.
solution: Label questionable users-sites
as being problematic. If you do that, it
probably doesn’t stop anything but it creates a distorted system of someone decreeing
one view is better than another, without any deep studying of the matter.
solution: Attempt to sanitize FB by some
loose standard of what can be said. thought, and viewed on FB. This is not helpful. Who are they to say what is good or bad? How about what people say with links and
videos from other platforms that are sent as attachments – or people’s comments
to those posts? What if someone on
Twitter is someone FB wouldn’t allow to have a page on FB? Will FB allow them to see the site, to read it
or comment on? How will society grow unless
we debate the issues in public? We can’t
hide hate nor should we think it doesn’t exist just because it’s not on FB.
what I would be for:
speech. Period. Let anyone say what they want.
a site that follows the haters and fact check things and points out why a
message is unfair, hateful, harmful, or just abusive – educating others.
a positive atmosphere online but don’t force people to act, think, and speak
the same on every issue.
of FB should just leave if they find their experience is not to their
satisfaction – but no one should be kicked off for merely stating their views,
provided their views don’t encourage the committing of a violent crime.
police should use FB as a tool to identify who is a bad guy and follow the
words to see where criminal actions take place.
don’t care for white supremacists or racist people like Louis Farakhan – nor the NRA
or right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, but we can’t turn FB into some reality show where anyone
can be voted off the island. We need to
have free speech that is so strong it can tolerate intolerance and to learn not to hate the
haters. It must be that all can say
their views freely and peacefully -- but people should act responsibly and police
themselves. Society has to be smart and
assertive in fighting back against those it deems wrong or immoral – but it
can’t simply just shut their voice down.
Everyone has a right to be heard, from death-row inmates and accused
terrorists – to those espousing religious, political, economic, or nationalist
views that differ from yours. That’s how
free speech works.
if Google decides it won’t finish searches for requests on things it believes
are unhealthy, immoral, or unfair, not allowing you to find out where to buy
alcohol, or visit a strip club, or get your legal pot?
if schools decide it won’t teach controversial topics, such as racism, sexism,
or anti-Semitism? What if bookstores
decide not to carry books by or about people they don’t like?
if the government decides, only certain non-profits can have a protected
status, while others can’t?
where this is going?
some things seem obvious. On a scale of
good and evil, most can spot the worst or best, but where do you draw the
line? If FB applied its standards to other
media, Rush Limbaugh, Fox, and President Trump would all be banned.
we have free speech if it’s one-sided?
Where government used to be the feared source of censorship, book bans,
or media shut downs, we now see it is Corporate America and the social media
barons who are doing the things we feared only an Orwellian government would
PC police need to hold their fire. Sure,
speak out for and against the things you believe we need to hear about, but
never lobby to take away the precious freedom to speak freely. We all lose when speech is silenced,
threatened, or erased.
Companies spend millions of dollars to create a buzz for
their brand, product, or service. You are not a Fortune 500 company, so don’t
think you can compete in that area. But you can learn from what top tier
professional marketers do to create a buzz.
At your own level, get people buzzing or talking about you.
There are many weapons at your disposal. Aim them at the same core of people
whom you believe will buy your book and also be in front of influencers and
other opinion-sharers. With crafty blog entries, creative videos, and sustained
media coverage – as well as participation in local or industry events – you can
get people to chat about you.
Start by contacting people you know. Ask them to contact
people they know. And so on. Introduce yourself to other bloggers or people who
have had successful video placement. Ask to join in with them. Nothing and no
one is off limits. If you give them something in return, they will help you.
You are looking to be known, to be seen as a legitimate expert, to be viewed as
likeable, knowledgeable, interesting, and as someone to follow.
When it comes to contacting people that you know, start with
those you have the best relationship with – friends, family, co-workers,
colleagues, neighbors, etc. Then think of all the people you interact with in
some capacity. Maybe you know a woman whose child attends your kid’s school.
Think of the person who makes your drink every day at Starbucks. Don’t forget
people whom you have hired to do things around your house. Everyone counts
because you never know who these people know. The key is to get them to
introduce you in an effective way to the people they know and to the people
those people know. You can’t just ask them to keep you in mind. You need to
propose an action step: guest-blogging on their blog; asking them to tweet
about you; having them post something on Facebook about your book; asking them
to call in a favor for you; having them embrace your mission and book as if it
were their own. You won’t get anywhere in book marketing by being subtle or
You can advertise your way into the minds of those people
you are looking to connect with but that can get expensive. Plus, advertising
doesn’t come across the same as a media interview, interesting guest blog,
empowering speech or funny video. You want to enter people’s inner mind circle,
to be seen subconsciously as the expert on a given topic. Ads lack substance and
need constant repetition to stay on people’s radars.
One way to build a buzz is through some kind of event or the
issuance of a statement that turns people onto you. It sounds simple in one
respect – you just need to take a stand on something, to make something your
pet project, and people will begin to think of you in another light. But the
catch is – what will you stand by and how will people hear your issuance of it?
To get people to evangelize you, think of what moves them.
Is there a hot button waiting to be pushed? Every industry has something going
on that people love or hate. Think like a politician – what outrageous demand
or claim or battle cry can you issue, where there is black and white, good and
evil associated with it? If it is an issue that splits people too evenly, you
lose so many potential people who disagree with you, though you do rally half
to your side, which is more than you had before.
The win-win is to find something few can argue with. If you
write a book about losing weight, making an issue out of demanding health
insurance companies pay for more prevention and wellness visits will win you
fans. But making a statement that health insurance firms should raise rates to
treat obesity probably will not. But if your book was written as a defense
forobese people, then such a statement
would win you fans amongst potential book buyers. Certainly, only issue
statements you believe in, and when you make them, back them up with facts and
support from others. Think of who else would support your message – get it out
to them and ask them to get the word out. Have others sell your message!
Your subject line is the most important part. If it causes
you to get caught up in a spam filter or it’s not clear or exciting, it’ll just
get deleted without being read. You should begin it with “Guest Idea” so they
know the e-mail regards a guest versus junk or personal mail.
What follows “Guest Idea” should be short and say something
to indicate the topic and a credential. How about this for someone who has a
new book about how to lose weight by eating only fruit—Guest Idea: New Book
Says You Can Get Thin By Only Eating Fruit. Or, maybe turn it up a notch and
say: Controversial Book Says Skip Chicken & Veggies If You Want To Lose
Weight, or Diet Guru’s Controversial Book Doesn’t Favor Fruit.
The body of the email should be short. No attachments,
please. You can always send more information when asked. If you have a few
sentences about what you’ll talk about, use no more than five one-line bullet
points, list the name of your book, state your web site and put two sentences
about your credentials, they will know 90% of what they need to determine if
you’d be a good guest for their show.
When exploring your options with traditional media,
the medium with a lot of opportunities is radio. More cities have radio than a
local television station or daily newspaper, and there are typically more radio
stations in a city than there are television stations or newspapers. National,
regional, local and satellite radio offer thousands of stations, many with
multiple interview opportunities afforded by talk shows and news programs.
However, all radio is not equal.
First, you need
to look at ratings, not just of a station, but of specific shows and then
within particular time slots (7am vs. 3pm vs. 2am).
Second, you need to look at formats. You might be able to
get on a high-rated show, but you might not want to be on it because the nature
of the show doesn’t work for you. For instance, if you’re a more serious
author, you may feel uncomfortable on a morning zoo show where everything turns
into bathroom humor and similarly, if you want to tell jokes or engage in a
shout-filled debate, NRP may not be the appropriate venue.
Third, you need to look at demographics. You might get on a
high-rated show but the majority of listeners are not your targeted listenership.
You should seek out a shows whose listeners best resemble your anticipated book
When researching radio stations don’t make the mistake at
looking at wattage, or the strength of its signal. A 5,000 watt station in NYC
reaches a lot more people than a 50,000 watt station in Santa Clara, CA.
Some stations simply offer no interview opportunities
because they are highly specialized, such as they only play music from the
1980’s. Or it’s an all-Spanish station and only Spanish-speaking authors with
books that connect to Hispanics and are printed in Spanish would have a chance
to get on the air. Then there are stations that conduct interviews, but only on
a single topic, such as sports or business or religion. Unless your core
message connects to any of these specialties, move on.
Some Types Of Formats Of Radio Are Classified As
Within these groups it breaks down into several dozen
specific categories, such as ‘70s rock, Christian Gospel, Oldies, etc. Further,
these formats vary in their demographics as far as the listeners’ age, race,
education, wealth, and other indicators that may influence whether they
favorably embrace your message. So do your research.
There are several ways to get radio coverage. First and
foremost, you want a live interview. Taped is okay, but you don’t know what
time or day it will air—or if it will air at all. Ideally, you want a live
interview during the prime listening hours. Some interviews last just a few
minutes. If you can get a 10-minute interview, consider that decent. Certainly,
longer interviews exist, and sometimes they include call-ins from listeners who
ask questions. However, after 30 minutes or an hour, the effect is lost. You’re
better off being on three shows for 10-20 minutes each than to do one hour on
one show. You want to get your name out there with as many people as possible,
and to talk long enough so they are properly interested, but eventually you can
talk so long that you can turn someone off. You don’t want them to feel they
got all that you had to say, and therefore, don’t need to buy your book or
visit your web site.
Beyond a direct interview, the other ways to get on radio
include an audio news release, giveaways, advertisements or sponsorships. Or to
have a show discuss you and your back.
Audio News Releases
These are 30-60-90 second packaged interviews that get
distributed to thousands of radio stations. They get played at all types of
hours and sometimes more than once on a station. They provide content for
stations looking to fill unsold air time. You could see anynumber of companies for this service, to create
and distribute the piece—and to follow up with reports of where/when it aired.
This is effective for certain types of books, depending on your overall
For instance, if you need to get your name out there and
lack time to do interviews—or you’re failing to get interviews—or you want this
in addition to whatever interviews you have time to schedule—this works well.
Also, if in the piece that gets sent to stations you mention your web site and
the site’s easy to remember, it will help direct traffic to your site. Then you
can capture their email to list-build and/or to sell them other
products/services to complement your book.
The ANR comes across as a news feature, rather than an ad.
I’ve seen many clients get 500-900+ airings of a single ANR.
They are just what they sound like. Whether in conjunction
with an interview or in lieu of one, you can contact stations and offer to give
away three to five copies of your book for free. This gets your book mentioned
on–air several times. Some stations also mention the give-away on their site.
You can offer signed copies. No need to offer more than five copies per station.
You just want to create a buzz. The winners will provide good word-of-mouth for
Once an interview is scheduled with a TV or radio show – or a podcast --you want to help them do the best possible interview.You can’t ask them to send you interview questions ahead of time, but you can give them suggested interview questions or a Q and A.You can put tabs in your book to indicate some of the key sections or passages so that if they have any time to skim some of it, they can be on the same page as you.
You need to understand that the interview means more to you than them.They do a zillion interviews daily, weekly, yearly.They want good radio that nets ratings and advertisers, but they aren’t going to plot and plan how to do a great interview.In fact, they’re likely to be underprepared, overwhelmed, and ready to just wing it.Some guests feel insulted that the radio host sounded ill-informed or goes off-message. Get over it.Expect it.Use it to your advantage.The interview is there for you to get your key points across, not for you to simply answer what they ask.Once you learn the art of bridging, you’ll be a seasoned pro.
If hosts poke fun at you, your book, or topic, don’t get upset.Go with the flow.Even if you have a serious topic, there’s a way to joke about anything.
If the host wants to argue, debate or challenge you in some way, the key is not to attack the host personally.You’ll always lose that argument as the host has loyal listeners.Just discuss the merits of your key points and move forward.