Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Take A Jounalistic Approach To Book Publicity

When I broke into the book publishing world nearly three decades ago, I went to work for a small press in New York City, straight out of college.  I was green but eager to contribute, especially when it came to what I had a passion for the news media.

Though my aspiration was to become a journalist, I found myself excelling in book publicity, the opposite of journalism.  I felt almost guilty at how good I was at promoting books to the news media, using my journalist’s brain to package and sell my authors to them.

Book publicity and journalism are connected at the hip, as one needs the other to exist. Promoters need the news media to cover their books; the media needs something to write about.  

The book promoter has a commercial agenda; the journalist just wants a good story.  The promoter spins, hides, or repackages the facts; the journalist values truth above all else. The promoter wants to sell more books; the journalist needs to sell more newspaper or magazines – or to increase ratings on TV or radio – or generate more online clicks to justify ad rates.  Together, they create a nice little tandem, book publicists and the media.

To be a good book publicist, think like the media. What do they want?  How can you present what you have in a simple but interesting manner? How do you tap into what the media is looking for while staying true to who you are?

Journalists want:

·         To be given a story idea that sounds new and fresh.
·         To be pitched quickly.
·         To feel you are being honest and straightforward.
·         Someone with relevant credentials who has something of importance to say and expresses it in an intriguing and clear way.
·         A scoop or an exclusive.
·         Someone who sounds like they can be readily available for an interview, follow-up questions, or to share any needed documents or resources to round out a story.
·         A good visual to complement the story.
·         People who have done some media and can speak in sound bites.
·         To hear a few good quotes and not PR speak or bullshit jargon.
·         To be treated with respect and reverence.
·         To cover a story that warns, helps, forms,  uplifts or entertains others.
·         A strong headline that gets people excited.
·         The highlights and don’t want to have to read a ton or check through a dozen links.

Anticipate what a media outlet wants to hear.  Target and customize your pitch to fulfill the needs of the demographics of their readers – listeners – viewers.  Say what’s important – then demonstrate it.  Show them why what you have is relevant, timely, or newsy.  Most of all, help them envision the segment or story, so their job is made easier.

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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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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