Sunday, August 2, 2015

Authors Must Skim The Media They Hope To Impress

Whenever I’m asked career advice by aspiring or newly-minted book publicists, I always share one key idea. I tell them it’s very important to know a little about a lot of things, to always skim newspaper headlines, magazine covers, and whatever is trending on Twitter or popular on Facebook and YouTube.  To promote anything, it helps to be a bit of a Renaissance person.

In our world of evolving ideas, new technologies, and global interactivity, information absorption and content curation are very useful skills to possess. When you promote yourself and your book to the mass media you must be aware of what the media is covering and how they talk about these things.  You’ll need to speak their lingo and communicate with them in a way that makes them feel comfortable with you.

So I suggest a simple exercise.  Go to the bookstore once a week.  Actually, go as often as you like, but at least for the sake of this activity, come on a weekly basis.  Reserve 30-60 minutes to skim the magazine section.

You may just learn something!

First, look at magazines that you can conceive coverage in.  Seek out the publications that you think would have a interest in you, your book, and message.  Make note of how their editorial voice is represented.  Measure the tone, creativity, and level of vocabulary expressed.  Do they have a certain bias or slant?  What are their reader demographics?

Second, look at magazines that are off-topic.  If you write about health, look at business publications.  If you write about business, look at lifestyle and entertainment.  Expose yourself to their industries, cultures, and worlds.

Look at Vogue and GQ.  Look at People and at Playboy.  See Fortune and Inc. as well as Popular Mechanic and Tattoo.  The more you know something about anything, the better you’ll relate to others that you network with.

It’s enlightening to read a serious journal on science, politics, social issues, or finance.  It’s also fun to read MAD magazine, flip through Entertainment Weekly, and gawk at Penthouse.

Magazines give us ideas to write about.  They educate us on things both in our sphere and beyond it.  They go in-depth and explore people, events and ideas that most newspaper articles or blog posts fall short in covering.  However, some magazines cost as much as an eBook or mass market paperback book.  If you fall in love with a particular magazine, get a subscription.  They usually take 80% off the cover price.

Perhaps you can conquer a new area each week:

Week 1 – Business
Week 2 – Sports
Week 3 – Health
Week 4 – Entertainment
Week 5 – Politics
Week 6 – Science
Week 7 – News

Or you can split each week into two or three areas:

Week 1 – Business/Science/Health
Week 2 – Sports/Entertainment/Politics
Week 3 – News/Health/Sports

However you choose to do it, you’ll become a better writer, a more informed citizen, and a stronger promoter.  Never think you know it all or that there’s nothing new to learn.  Always look to grow your mind and expand your knowledge base.  Diversify your portfolio of information and you’ll be wealthy.

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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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