If you've been following my prior series on how to get media attention for yourself and your book, you have hopefully succeeded in landing some spots. But now's not the time to rest on your laurels. Starting with this post and continuing as a 5-part series, I'm going to share how you can gain continuous media placement by creating many ways to discuss your book.
Back when traditional publishing was the only game in town, it was generally accepted—for 99-percent of titles coming to market—that a book’s shelf life was only a few weeks. But that was the result of the limits of the system. Limited resources to keep books in print and stored in crowded warehouses. Limited shelf space for all the available books in small bookstores. Limited staff to promote all those books in the publisher’s catalog. Stuff like that.
Marathon vs Sprint
Today, with POD and eBooks, titles don’t have to go out of print. And unlike a publisher that’s juggling a whole catalog of titles, you have the luxury to focus on one book. Your book.
The upside? You can promote your book for a long time. As long as the content of that book is still relevant, there’s no reason you can’t keep pitching it and gain media placement until it’s time to start talking up your next book.
As readers of this column have read again and again and again, when you reach out to the media, the last thing you want to say is, “I want to talk about my book.” Instead, you should pitch an interesting angle that will convince that media outlet to put you in front of their audience.
But it’s not enough to come up with just one discussion topic. You want several topics at your disposal! There should be many doors we can enter to discuss your topic of expertise—all of which ultimately point back to your book.
Think of each separate media pitch as an arrow. Your target is that talk show, magazine column, podcast, or whatever. With a bunch of arrows in your quiver, you’ve got a better chance of hitting the target than if you only have the one arrow, right?
For the next few columns, I’ll be sharing practical ways you can generate many discussion topics that will draw attention to your book. If you follow these different methods of crafting a media pitch, you’ll find it much easier to garner the interest of the media for months—or longer!
Multiple Discussion Topics Expand Your Options
Over the course of a year, you want several excuses to be newsworthy in the months between books. It’s a good rule of thumb to create a fresh story angle about every two months.
There are a few reasons for this. Creating several points of entry to discuss your topic or genre gives you…
More Time to Promote Your Book
Like I said, traditional publishing treats books like perishable fruit. “This book is worth our attention for six weeks, and then we’re done with it.”
Your book deserves attention way longer than that. At the very least, you want people hearing about this book all the way up to when its time for them to hear about your next book.
When your focus isn’t on the book itself, it removes the importance of when your book was published. Whether it’s “new” or not no longer makes a difference.
It doesn’t matter whether your book is new, old, or still a work in progress. Coming up with many discussion topics widens your window of opportunity or media placement for as long as you need it.
More Excuses to Discuss Your Book
You need additional ideas to send to those members of the media you pitched before and—for whatever reason—they didn’t accept your previous pitch. Creating more discussion starters gives you more opportunities to start a brand-new conversation.
If that media outlet turned down the previous pitch, it won’t do any good to nag them again and again with the same angle. You can’t force them to run a feature story they don’t want.
But when you come back with a different hook, that’s a brand-new conversation. Maybe the second one still doesn’t make it. It might be the third one or the fourth. What’s important is you come back each time with a fresh angle.
Or suppose that outlet was interested, but the problem is that your pitch had fallen through the cracks? If you come back with this new pitch in two months, they’ll be glad for the reminder.
They may go back to your original pitch, or they may like that new one better. Either way, they’ll be happy there’s another chance to put you into their editorial mix.
Further reading: “Follow Up Your PR Pitch: 7 Secrets for Success”
More Places to Pitch Your Topic
Another reason to come up with several points of entry to your topic is that it expands the number of places you can go. Let’s say that a media outlet schedules you for an interview on the topic you pitched—hurray!
But suppose the next outlet doesn’t want to just use the same topic as that other place. They want something unique for their readers.
If you have more points of entry for your topic, then it’s no problem. You can just pitch something else to that second outlet.
And something else to the third. And the fourth. And so on.
More Media Placement in the Same Outlets
Experts say it takes seven to ten impressions to make a sale. You want one audience to hear about or read about your book three times, five times, ten times. If you expect a particular media outlet to cover you several times, you’ll need several different topics of discussion.
During my years working in music journalism, one of the best publicists I ever worked with represented a particular rock band. She had the foresight to come back every six weeks (give or take) with a new reason to pitch her band to my monthly magazine.
Over the course of the year, she nabbed coverage in different sections of the magazine. This month, they might appear as a blurb in the news section. A couple months later, a review of their latest project. A month after that, a feature interview.
After a year or so, the band had another new album. And the cycle started over again.
In the same way, even if you get a “yes” from a media outlet, that doesn’t mean you can never go back. As long as you are able to pitch something different, you can completely go back.
Now, how quickly they’ll be interested depends on how they silo their editorial content. For example, a weekly podcast that features one guest at a time will need a longer wait than a monthly magazine with several departments.
What Are You Going to Do Now?
For the next few months, this column will go over four directions you can take to create more topics to discuss your book. By the end of this series, you might end up with dozens of distinct discussion topic ideas to promote your book.
As long as your book’s content is still relevant, there’s no reason you can’t continue to garner media placement all the way up until it’s time to promote your next book!
Have you given much thought to how you can start a conversation that’s not about your book—but leads to your book? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below!
(All images Pixabay.com)
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