Thursday, January 17, 2019

What The Media Wants From Authors Today

While authors and publishers seek to promote their books, every single day some 3,500 new books are published or self-published.  That’s five books every two minutes.  Only a fraction of those books are promoted to the news media, competition is fierce to get the attention of journalists, bloggers, podcasters, and producers.  Here’s what you need to know to even have a chance of influencing media coverage for your book.

In order to garner media exposure for your book you need to fully understand what the media is looking for, how they like to be approached, what turns them off, and what they want and expect to receive from you.

1.      Understand The Media
Even the biggest media outlets don’t have a lot of resources dedicated to covering books and authors.  News rooms have been slashed by declining ad budgets, decreased circulation, viewership, and listenership, and changing media consumption habits of consumers.  Understand that short-staffed, overworked staffs need things presented to them in a concise, neatly packaged manner.  You have to do the leg work to bundle a story for them. Do not expect them to spend hours tracking sources down, reading your entire book, and meditatintg on how they can cover you.  If you don’t make an obvious case for yourself, they won’t probe any further.

2.      What The Media Wants
Each media outlet has several key concerns.  First, how do we scoop the competition and increase readers, listeners, followers, or viewers?  Second, does a story match with our advertising demographics (will your story appeal to the types of people the media outlet hopes to sell ad space to)?  Third, will a story go viral or get more attention because the subject of the story (you) has a large online following?

3.      Is The Story Easy/Cheap To Cover?
The media’s slashed budgets means that their smaller staffs lack time and budget to cover stories.  If you can help them produce a free or low cost story, this will appeal to them.

4.      Do You Offer Something New, Unique, Timely Or Unusual?
The media seeks differentiation, not just more of the same.  It wants what it has not yet covered or what competing media outlets have not yet gotten ahold of.

5.      They Want What Sells
The media wants something that either involves its core beats – crime, politics, business, sports, weather, entertainment -- or it wants what pushes buttons – sex, religion, weird stuff, scandals, or a violation of ethics that offend us.

6.      News Before It’s News
Timing is key.  Talk to the media about your book BEFORE it’s officially published – not months later when other media has covered it or it ceases to be considered news.

Interesting Random Factoids

How To Read & Why
“Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?

“Ultimately we read – as Bacon, Johnson, and Emerson agree – in order to strengthen the self, and to learn its authentic interests…

“The pleasures of reading indeed are selfish rather than social.  You cannot directly improve anyone else’s life by reading better or more deeply…

“And yes, though the moral decision cannot be made merely by reading well, the questions of how to read and why are more than ever essential to help us decide whose work to perform.”
--How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom

The Importance Of Unread Books
“A person’s library is often a symbolic representation of his or her mind.  A man who has quit expanding his personal library may have reached the point where he thinks he knows all he needs to and that what he doesn’t know can’t hurt him.  He has no desire to keep growing intellectually.  The man with an ever-expanding library understands the importance of remaining curious, or open to new ideas and voices…

“The sight of a book you’ve read can remind you of the many things you’ve already learned.  The sight of a book you haven’t read can remind you that there are many things you’ve yet to learn. And the sight of a partially read book can remind you that reading is an activity that you hope never to come to the end of.”
--New York Times Book Review October 14, 2018

Library Of Alexandria
“The Royal Library of Alexandria or Ancient Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world.  It was dedicated to the Muses, the nine goddesses of the arts.  It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major center of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, with collection of works, lecture halls, meeting rooms, and gardens.  Alexandria was considered the capital of knowledge and learning, in part because of the Great Library.  The library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum of Alexandria, where many of the most famous thinkers of the ancient world studied.

“The library was created by Ptolemy I Soter, who was a Macedonian general and the successor of Alexander the Great.  Most of the books were kept as papyrus scrolls.  It is unknown precisely how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, but estimates range from 40,000 to 400,000 at its height.

“Arguably this library is most famous for having been burned down resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books; its destruction has become a symbol for the loss of cultural knowledge.  Sources differ on who was responsible for its destruction and when it occurred.  The library may in truth have suffered several fires over many years.  In addition to fires, at least one earthquake damaged the city and the library during this time.  Possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by the army of Julius Caesar in 48 BC and an attack by Aurelian in the 270s AD.”


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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 He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. 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 and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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