You finally got that book published! How exciting! You put into it all that blood and sweat and time—your very soul. Surely the world can see how precious it is? Or at least your intended audience, right?
Our reference points are very different from yours. We didn’t live through your experiences. We can’t see what you see. (At least not when it comes to your book.)
Think for a second about new parents with a whole bunch of baby photos. Sure, the baby is cute. But unless you know these people personally, how many photos do you really want to see of that same baby?
It’s like that with your book. If they don’t know you, they’re not as excited about your book as you are. You want to know how to talk to strangers about your “baby” without making them roll their eyes.
What They Heard (As Opposed To What You Meant)
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that you’re not a jerk. You legitimately thought you weren’t blurting out “Buy my book.” Unfortunately, that’s still what it sounded like to everyone who doesn’t already know you.
Look—you and I know how amazing your book is. But if you’re talking to strangers, they have no context.
When you mention your book, you know in your head everything your book represents. You know all the information in those pages. You know how your book can transform the lives of readers. How it will make them laugh, make them cry, or make them see the world in a new way.
Unfortunately, you’re under the impression other people know all that stuff about your book, too. (Spoiler: They don’t.)
When you contact someone in the media, you have mere seconds to convince them you’re not some weirdo or trying to pull a fast one. If you go straight to your book, they’re going to assume the worst.
The Media Cares About The Audience
What are those of us in the media always looking for? Ways to keep our audience engaged.
I need that audience to stick around. If they leave, I’m out of business.
Looking at it from that angle, I’m obviously not going to put you in my media unless I believe you belong there. I’m not going to risk my job for a stranger.
You have to convince me that you can help me serve my audience. When you do that, you’re helping me keep my job. (And I appreciate it.)
The Audience Cares About Themselves
Now, what about those folks out there sitting in the audience? They’re not watching/listening/reading that media out of some sense of obligation. They expect to get something out of it. They’re always asking, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
- They want to learn something.
- They want to feel something.
- They want to experience something.
When you reach out to the media, you must have a clear picture of what you can promise for their audience. If the audience won’t care—neither will the media.
Focus On Them—Instead Of Yourself
Look, I know you’re excited. You want to shout about your book from the rooftops.
The easiest way to elevate your media pitch is to think about how you can serve that media outlet. Instead of asking for what you want from them, you should be able to say something like…
- “Here’s a topic your audience is already thinking about…”
- “I can teach your audience how to…”
- “I can help the members of your audience avoid this common problem…”
Frame your angle as a way for the media can keep that audience tuned in. When you can do that, you’ll be way more attractive to someone looking for that next feature or segment.
Here’s How These Authors Did It
Here are some examples from real authors who got into the media (and got to talk about their book)—even though the angle of the story wasn’t the book itself.
Historical romance author Julie Klassen
In Victoria Magazine, historical author Julie Klassen provided commentary for a photo essay of the Jane Austen festival. See the original article here. [https://www.victoriamag.com/remembering-jane-austen/]
Event planner and author Djuana Berlin
Here’s a seasonal example from Djuana Berlin, an event planner and author. She took Halloween as an excuse to talk about her specialty. See the original article here. [https://www.care.com/c/stories/3745/throw-a-kids-halloween-party-with-tricks-and/]
Children’s author Shary Williamson
As seen in the Marion Star, children’s author Shary Williamson challenged educators around the world to produce videos of their students singing “It’s a Small World (After All).” See the original article here. [https://www.marionstar.com/story/news/2018/07/25/woodland-elves-author-wants-spread-message-kindness/829832002/]
Financial author Pamela Yellen
Using new year’s resolutions as an excuse to talk about her expertise, financial author Pamela Yellen appeared on Good Day New Mexico. Watch the video here. [https://www.bankonyourself.com/video-pamela-yellen-control-your-own-financial-future-2011]
Historical romance author Eliza Knight
Eliza Knight is a historical romance author who writes about pirates—so she crafted her article around Talk Like a Pirate Day. See the original article here. [https://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2017/09/19/eliza-knight-savage-of-the-sea-talk-like-a-pirate/]
What Are You Going To Do Now?
In this column, you’ve learned the importance of offering something of value to the media. (Instead of giving the impression you’re asking for a favor.) What ideas do you have to open up a conversation with the media? What experience can you offer that audience to make them ask about your book? Share your comments and thoughts below!
We love to keep our indie authors happy. Join BookWorks’ network of established and emerging self-published authors and gain exclusive insight into writing, publishing and promoting your book. Sign up HERE.