There are headlines every minute of the day coming from the news media, such as: “Ukraine Invaded By Russia,” “Covid Restrictions Lifted,” “Olympic Ratings At All-Time Low,” and “Three-Car Pile-Up Kills 7.”
How can authors step in and hijack the news?
Quite simply, authors need to find hooks every day to get the media’s attention. The merits of your book or your background story may get you some attention, for sure, but you always need to find a way to tap into what’s in the news. You must make your message relevant to the headlines.
You can piggyback on the coattails of a big story. For instance, let's say you’re a historian who writes non-fiction books about Europe, Russia, war, diplomacy, great leaders, etc. Obviously, you can send a pitch to the news media, tying one of your books to the current crisis -- even if that book has nothing to do with Ukraine.
Even if a fiction author who wrote stories set during World War 2 or The Russian Revolution or The Cold War can pitch a story that positions you not as an expert on Russia and war, but as someone who can only imagine if the events in their book are now playing out on the world stage.
So, how do you hijack the news, exactly?
First, monitor the news. Scan headlines across numerous media outlets and sources. See what’s going on and evaluate if you have a way of connecting the dots between the news and your book or area of expertise.
Next, send short email pitches to targeted personnel at the appropriate media outlets. Have a catchy subject line. The presentation is not book-centric. Instead, you should acknowledge the headline and share what you have to say that’s relevant. You’d mention your book or relevant credential about yourself, but you won’t go into any details.
You might have more than one angle to pitch that relates to a hot story in the news. In that case, send out two or more different pitches -- but don’t send more than one to any particular person.
For instance, let’s say you wrote a book about personal finance and retirement. You might respond to a story about crypto-currency’s rising popularity by sending out one pitch that warns retirees about dabbling in crypto while you send another story encouraging 20-something year-olds to double-down on crypto. Or, perhaps you make it more niche.
Send out a pitch to the media that covers travel and explain why one should use crypto while traveling overseas. Then send a pitch to those that cover banking and finance, and state why laws should be amended (or not) for crypto. Then send a pitch to those who cover technology and craft a story catered to them.
When something is in the news you can pitch a story that:
- Supports a trend
- Contradicts a trend
- Adds color and depth to a story
- Dwells on one aspect of a big story
- Makes predictions
- Raises questions
- Demands changes or reforms
- Offers a solution to a problem
- Advocates for something
You can also offer to write an op-ed or byline article that comments on the news item. Or, write a letter-to-the-editor that ties your book into current events.
So, the next time there’s a destructive storm, political upheaval, economic shock, horrible crime, or history-repeating event, whip off some emails to the media that hijacks the news.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This blog, with over 4,000 posts over the past decade, was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Susan RoAne, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, IBPA, Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult: .