“Hi, I’m from Verizon Fios. Do you mind if I shoot some footage in your place. You seem to be the only store that’s busy during the rain.”
This is what a man shouted to the owner of a local bagel joint. The owner agreed to the free publicity offer from the local cable-access station.
I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes. I asked the reporter-cameraman: “Are you seriously doing a story about the rain?”
He responded affirmatively, informing me he covered a stabbing earlier in the day, a Sunday.
“Isn’t there something between a stabbing and the rain worth covering?” I asked.
I didn’t get an answer.
Folks, this just demonstrates where modern-day journalism is heading.
In New York City, the media loves to cover a hint of a snow storm or a heatwave. But the idea that a few hours of rainfall is worthy of a story sickens my stomach. Does the media not know to cover the dozens of issues and human interest stories that float around it? Authors, can you offer something that beats a story about some water falling from the sky?
The funny thing is the reporter thought the crowd at the bagel store was substantial but at that point on a Sunday, the bagel place usually has a line out the door. Crowds all around may have been slightly lower due to a few lazies not wanting to venture into the light rain but what likely reduced turnout for all stores was the fact that it was school vacation for the week and many people had not yet returned home. It was a stupid story on many levels, and to think the journalists don’t realize the rain alone wasn’t the main crowd factor is sad.
But the lesson here can’t be that rain makes headlines, but rather it’s a call to authors to remind them that if you offer a timely, interesting, and where possible, localized story, you stand a chance to get coverage. Maybe if your book is about the weather you’ll be the lead story!
If you watch the news long enough you see that many stories repeat themselves. Haven’t we all seen the story about the kid who raised money for a cause or the tragic shooting of a grandma? Haven’t we seen stories about what to buy for Mother’s Day, how to spend Valentine’s Day, or how good will the local sports team be on its opening day? You can almost fill-in-the-blanks and predict a story by the calendar, clock, weather or latest sporting event. As an author-turned-promoter you must offer up the new, unique, and different – and you must also fit into their expectations, patterns, and seasonal preferences for stories.
Your biggest competition could be the rain!
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."