Friday, March 23, 2012

Media That Matters

I am often asked which media offers the best bang for the buck.  This can be addressed in a number of ways. 

First, let’s break down the media:

·         National and local television (talk shows, news, news magazine format).
·         National and local print (magazines, newswires, newspapers, journals).
·         National and local radio (talk shows, news, NPR).
·         Internet (bloggers, online reviewers, websites, video sites, podcasters).

A good media campaign is one that:

·         Includes more than one type of media (i.e. print and online vs. just online).
·         Covers multiple markets.
·         Helps brand you and build up your media resume.
·         Either sell books, drives traffic to the site and/or lends credibility to you.
·         Complements or supplements your own efforts to promote.

You want media that is targeted, reaching the likely readership of your books. You want to hit those who are influential in a segmented demographic and who will either buy your book or refer others to do so.  Within each media sector not all media outlets are equal.  Sure you want the biggest ones but there are plenty of B, even C-level outlets that can be helpful.  There’s no exact formula to this but you want a variety of media placements—a healthy dose of quantity and quality.  In some cases you only get a mention or a quote; in other instances you get a full-page story or the lead interview. 

For each author, the media wish list should be based on what’s realistic and obtainable.  Then construct a plan to get what you want.  Now, beware there are some things that can limit your media success, including:

1.   Timing.  Each media outlet has a window of time of when they should be approached.  Monthly magazines work 3-5 months out, for instance. 

2.   Genre.  A military expert might get interviewed on Fox TV.  A novelist writing about the military is not as likely to get much TV.

3.   Credentials.  Being a great writer and passionate are not selling points.  They are starting points.  But you must also be qualified to speak on the matters that you write on in order to get major attention.

4.   Publisher Though self-publishing is growing fast and has gone mainstream, the Big Six, leading university presses, and Amazon get more attention from big mainstream media.

5.   Methodology.  Each journalist producer/blogger wants you to respect how and when to pitch them—and by what means (phone, email, mail). 

6.   Aesthetics   Ugly cover, poorly written book, badly edited book, crappy interior layout/front size, dumb title, etc. will doom you.

7.   Subject  Your book is on a topic that few care about or covers one that suffers from media saturation.

Although I’d rather not get into mentioning specific media outlets, here are 65 places that matter greatly, but keep in mind that depending on the subject matter of your book, many other media outlets would be more important to you than some of the ones below (which appear in no set order):

1.      New York Times              
2.      Time                                 
3.      Forbes                                          
4.      Vogue
5.      USA Today                                  
6.      People                  
7.      Bloomberg Business Week          
8.      Sports Illustrated
9.      Wall Street Journal                  
10.  The View
11.  Rush Limbaugh                                        
12.  Today Show
13.  Esquire
15.  Good Morning America
16.  Fortune
17.  60 Minutes
18.  Entertainment Weekly\
19.  Associated Press  
20.  Inc.
21.  NPR                                             
22.  Charlie Rose
23.  AOL News                      
24.  Playboy
25.  Huffington Post
26.  CNN                                
27.  Fox
28.  Slate
29.  Salon
30.  Genre-specific blogs        
31.  IMUS
32.  Publishers Weekly
33.  Reilly Factor
34.  Cavuto  Show                  
35.  Gannett Newswire                       
36.  CNN’s Piers Morgan       
37.  Washington Post  
38.  iVillage
39.  Cosmopolitan                   
40.  Ellen
41. Wired
42.      Fast Company
43.      Entrepreneur
44.      Vanity Fair
45.      Spin
46.      Parents
47.      Brides
48.      Martha Stewart Living
49.      O
50.  Prevention
51.  Fitness
52.  The Kniot
53.  Bon Appetit
54.  Real Simple
55.  Us
56.  InStyle
57.  Elle
58.  GQ
59.  Maxim
60.  Men’s Health
61.  Rolling Stone
62.  Details
63.  Self
64.  Shape
65.  Psychology Today
All media has value and the more you get of it, the better.  It’s good to have a plan and a wish list but realize that media is something that you build on and hopefully use to parlay it into other opportunities.  Don’t expect any one particular media appearance to change you overnight but never give up on trying for the big score. 

Interview With Sci-Fi Author Frank Fiore
  1. Frank, what is your newest book about? One sentence pretty much sums it up. ‘How far would an artificial intelligence go for revenge?’ CyberKill, my 5 star rated techno-thriller is about A brilliant programmer, Travis Cole, who inadvertently creates “Dorian,” an artificial intelligence that lives on the Internet. After Cole attempts to terminate his creation, Dorian stalks his young daughter through cyberspace in an attempt to reach Cole to seek revenge. When cyber-terrorism events threaten the United States, they turn out to stem from the forsaken and bitter Dorian. In the final conflict, Dorian seeks to kill his creator – even if it has to destroy all of humanity to do it.

  1. What inspired you to write it? Many years ago I read an article in TIME magazine about a young programmer at MIT who created a series of artificial intelligent software agents and released them out on the Internet to see how they evolved. I thought to myself, what if the programmer shut down his experiment and terminated the AI programs and what if one of those AI programs evolved a consciousness and took the termination as a threat to its life. Would it seek revenge on the programmer?

  1. I also am a big fan of unintended consequences. Cyberkill has several examples of technology decisions made for good turn out to malevolent or where several small events or decisions add up to terrible consequences. Think the tragedy of the Titanic. Each individual event – the loss of a pair of binoculars for the lookouts, not enough lifeboats, a calm sea, the ship running too fast, it’s small rudder compared to its size, etc, etc – in themselves were not of concern but added all together and...

  1. You write about artificial intelligence. Will humanity be enslaved by technology, just not necessarily an army of robots? Technology, like any other invention, is a tool. It can be used for good or bad. If humanity is enslaved it’s because of our own doing. We fool ourselves into thinking we always have control of the technology. We believe there is always a perfect solution to a problem not realizing that a solution is a problem’s way of creating another problem. Our political leaders still don’t seem to get it.

  1. Why is your book a must-read and not the other hundreds of thousands of sci-fi books published just this past week? This may sound strange but it applies to everyone’s lives. Not the technology as such but the idea again of unintended consequences. How little decisions we make or the little things we do can add up to consequences we never intended. I always laugh at the saying ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’. But we should sweat the small stuff. If not, they may have grave consequences.

  1. What do you love about writing books? We are a species that love to tell stories to one another. It’s been that way for 10,000 years. That’s what I like about writing. I love telling stories.

  1. Where do you see the book industry heading? What we call a ‘book’ is being transformed before our eyes. Enhanced books that combine all media and extend the ‘reading experience’ has just begun. New technologies like the iPad and those that follow will transform the way we experience the book in the future.

  1. Any advice for a struggling writer? An agent gave me this advice once. Write, write, write and then write some more. The more books you have out in the marketplace the better chance you will get to be known. You only need one of your many books to be a hit then your readers will go back and read all the others you have written and you have created a following. Remember, Dan Brown sold only 20,000 copies of his first three books—and that includes ‘Angels and Demons’ his first Langdon book. It wasn’t until ‘the DaVinci Code’ was a hit did he become a popular author selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his first three books.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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