How to Make Your Book Newsworthy: 5 Tips from a Publicist
Earned coverage, often known as book PR, is the most elusive of the three main types of book marketing and coverage: paid, owned, and earned. It can be reasonably intimidating because so much power is taken away from the author and given to media experts, authors, and editors who can decide what to publish and distribute to broad audiences.
To succeed and set oneself apart from rival authors vying for the same print and/or digital spaces, authors can take a few specific actions.
Here are 5 quick ideas to get you going:
Research and follow journalists to build relationships
Warm leads and connections—those you already know on a personal and/or professional level—are considerably more likely to result in coverage than cold ones. Take notice of the writers of articles, features, reviews, and other content that is linked to the main ideas of your book as you peruse your ideal channels for placement.
Then, start connecting with their content by following their professional profiles on social media (LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular sites for media professionals to use) and asking them questions, leaving comments, liking, reposting, and sharing their content. It increases the likelihood that when you do contact them about reviewing your book, they will know who you are and reply.
Join industry newsletters for quote opportunities
Journalists occasionally look for sources for their stories in trade publications like HARO, ProfNet, and Quoted. You can subscribe to receive leads directly to your email, frequently several times per day! While it could take some browsing to locate requests relevant to your area of expertise, the majority of topics are covered, including politics, business and economics, medicine, travel, and entertainment.
Be careful to mention your book, whether it has already been out or is still forthcoming, as journalists prefer to make references to the authority and relevancy of their sources. You can do this by stating, “Jane Doe is the author of Title: Subtitle (publisher)” in your biography and/or by adding “Author” as a title in your signature (Ex. Jane Doe, CEO of Company, Field Expert, and Author of Title). This will be especially helpful for nonfiction writers who want to expand their platform; by posing as an authority in a relevant piece, you may be able to draw attention to your book.
Watch the news cycle to spot pitching opportunities
Even though it might seem apparent, it’s crucial to follow the publications you want to review your book for and interact with their material by forwarding their pieces to your contacts, writing comments, and following them on social media. What sort of articles do they publish? With whom are they speaking? What themes do you notice coming up week after week? You can leverage these important media stances to grab their attention.
For instance, if you’re a financial author writing a book about saving money, you can pitch your suggestions and guidance to journalists who have written about recent recessions or even spoken with other finance specialists.
Outline relevant angles from your book
If you didn’t make lists before, you definitely do now! Take notes on the most important points from each chapter of your book as you read it. When looking for your takeaways, the following are some excellent questions to ask yourself:
- What issues am I trying to solve in this chapter, and what are the challenges I’m trying to solve?
- What are the key takeaways or suggestions that a reader can get from this chapter?
- What would the headlines or titles be if I were to give each important topic in this chapter its own title?
Just keep in mind the five Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Chapter 1’s advice on how to decrease expenses in day-to-day living and Chapter 2’s advice on the types of savings accounts to take into consideration might be the two most important things the finance expert in our example above remembers.
Which Takeaways Would Be Most Helpful To Readers
Make a list and use it as a guide as you monitor the news to see where there are opportunities. You might observe that once a significant article appears in a well-known publication, reporters start looking for subject matter experts in the trade publications you subscribe to the next day. Look through your list to determine which takeaways would be most helpful to readers. Make sure to include the top three talking points for the current news cycle when you send your pitches and respond to requests.
Have your pitch template ready to fire
An effective pitch will convince the journalist to write about you, your area of expertise, and/or your book. It may be a letter, email, or press release that is prepared to be updated and distributed as required. Although each pitch will vary slightly depending on the publication and journalist you’re contacting and will need to be updated over time due to the constantly shifting news cycle, the majority of it can stay the same: this should include a line or two about the book, including its publication date (if it’s a pre-publication), a retail link, and key messaging as well as a little bit about you, your background, and where they can learn more about you (author website, social media handles, etc.)
To make it simple for the journalist to follow and learn more, make sure your website and book’s retail URL are both hyperlinked. The pitch can then be updated with an angle, call-to-action, and relevant and timely introduction paragraph that are most suited for the target audience.
When you do receive media attention for your book, be sure to share it on social media and your website while identifying the relevant media figure and outlet in your article to give them credit. When the run link becomes up, the outlet could be more eager to reshare your article than to build their own, so it’s better to make it simple for them to do so by sharing and tagging as soon as you can. This will help you expand your network and make new contacts, as well as maintain your branded material current and search engine algorithm-optimized.
Publicity For Your Book
When starting the publicity for your book, these suggestions should help you get your foot in the door. It’s important to keep in mind that public outreach is most effective about three months before publication, so you can start following journalists and creating your pitch while you’re still early in the process of creating other brand assets like your website and social media platforms.