Monday, February 16, 2015

How Authors Insert Themselves Into The Conversation

The news media is constantly reporting stories, posting stuff through social media, and feeding the public information, ideas, and personalities.  Of course, as an author, you want to jump right in and be a part of this media cyclone and carve our your 15 minutes of fame.  One of the more strategic approaches to getting media coverage – aside from already being famous, having a bestselling book, and actually saying something newsworthy – is to capitalize on the current news cycle.  The goal is to find a way to tap into what the media is already covering and showing an interest in.  So how do you do that?

First, be aware of what’s being talked about and what the news seems to be interested in.

Second, get a sense of what stage a story is in.  Is this two weeks after an event, a few days, a few hours?

Third, offer something that hasn’t been explored fully.  For instance, if your book is about powerful celebrities or about rapists, or about abused women, you can tie into the Bill Cosby story.  But the question is how?  Do you weigh in on things that you don’t have firsthand knowledge of – or do you give perspective and background to different aspects of the story?  Whatever you say, make sure it’s a side or angle that hasn’t been overdone.

ourth, stretch but not too far.  If your book is about cars, or food, or losing weight, don’t even try to force the dots to connect to the more relevant parts of the Cosby caper.  Books on dating, Hollywood, comedians, and other obviously related topics are fair game, however.

Fifth, think about your hook or your headline.  Will you raise a question, make a bold statement, share information, or lobby for some kind of action?

Sixth, which media will you pursue – print, TV, online, or radio?  Which type of outlets or shows will you contact – and which department or person will be your target?  Have the pitch fit the recipient.  What you send The Globe is not to be worded the same as an email to The New York Times.

Timing is key here.  You need to move fast when the news keeps coming with new developments that can shift the focus of a story.  Stories like the one on Cosby have lingered longer than most do, but such stories become like a mini-series.  The plot thickens and moves along, and then suddenly, a new twist is thrown in.

Remember to be respectful of the situation you seek to exploit or capitalize on.  If the media is covering an airline crash, now is not the time to discuss why airlines need to start serving food on domestic flights.  Just use good taste and judgment  - and the rest will follow.


2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New

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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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