Promoting your book costs money, especially if you are purchasing media ads through newspapers, TV and/or radio. So if you could score free publicity wouldn’t you do it? Of course! You can do this by selling a news story. Here are three ways to get free media coverage for your book.
First, Write a News Release – If you are working with a self-publisher they typically offer a news release writing service. I highly encourage you to pay for a professional news release. This is written like a sales pitch to the media. If you don’t have a good pitch, you have no sale. When you review the release look for these key points:
- It answers the who, what, where, when, why and how.
- It is one page or less.
- It has a good title and first paragraph that is written to sell to the media.
- It includes a quote or two from you.
- It gives contact info so a reporter can set up an interview with you
Second, Distribute It Locally and Nationally – Again, this service may be included in your self-publishing package if you agreed to it. If not, you can use a service called PRWeb to distribute your release; however there will most likely be a fee to do it yourself.
While, it is important that you have a good sales pitch/news release, it’s equally important that you distribute to the right folks. Your local media outlets will be the folks most interested in your story, because they’re looking for local stories.
First, visit all the TV, Radio and newspaper websites in your viewing area and look for their contact page. Next, you’ll want to send your news release to their newsroom or news tip emails.
Third, Make Follow Up Phone Calls – This can sometimes be the hardest part for authors, but it is necessary. Your email will most likely go to the assignment editor who assigns stories to reporters. Depending on how big the news viewing area is, an assignment editor may receive anywhere from 20 to 100 releases a day. That’s why you have to call and pitch your story too.
A good place for authors to be interviewed is on a TV morning news show because the shows are longer and they are usually looking for fluff (not as hard-hitting) content. The interviews are typically 3-4 minutes long. Radio spots can sometimes be longer and last for a few segments.
- Call in the morning usually right when the show is over. Ask for the assignment editor or the producer of the morning show.
- Ask if they received your fax. Don’t be surprised if they say, “no.”
- Ask if you can be on their show and tell them why.
- Then before you get off the phone ask them if you can send the release to them. Most will ask you to send it to their personal email. (Keep this contact. It is the person you will contact for future sales pitches.)
Hopefully, before you get off the phone you will have booked an interview. Do not try to change the time they suggest. It’s going to be early, make it work. Trust me. This is free advertising worth thousands of dollars to you and it could potentially increase your book sales. If you didn’t book the interview, call back again after you send the news release to make sure the person you’re sending it to received it.
There are no guarantees that your release will be covered by any media, but if you follow these three steps, you’re chances for exposure increases dramatically. Be bold and good luck!