You have probably heard the pessimists. Newspapers are on the decline. The space for book reviews in newspapers is shrinking. Fewer people are reading newspapers. Only around 29% of people read a daily newspaper, down from 47% in the year 2000. Print magazines are also dwindling in number, leaving fewer places for authors to garner book coverage in the media.
The truth is that, yes, it is not as easy to secure coverage in print media as in previous decades, but this medium is not yet closed to authors. Remember, over 1,200 new books are released every day in the United States. That is a lot of competition for limited print space. Yet, it is still possible to find journalists who will write about you and your book.
The key is to not chase large national newspapers and magazines, but to court the small, local newspapers and journals in your home town or county.
An author who nominated his book for the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award enclosed copies of local coverage he had secured for his book. In his county’s daily newspaper, the author received a half-page article featuring his book with a large picture of the book’s cover. In a monthly county magazine covering county-wide news, the book had a quarter-page write-up with a small picture of the book’s cover.
You may be asking yourself: How was this author able to get his historical Christian novel featured in these print media resources? Consider the following:
- The novel is set in the author’s home state.
- The newspaper article included the information that the author would be signing copies of his book at a local arts festival, providing coverage for not only the author and his book, but also coverage for a local event.
- The author clearly took the time and effort to seek and secure these articles.
A press release alone rarely gains the attention of your local news outlets. More is needed. Sending a press release is the first step. However, this press release should be sent to a specific journalist or publisher.
Study the publication you want to be featured in. When a book is covered in the newspaper or journal, note if a journalist’s name is tied to the article. If it is, that is the person you want to send your press release to. If it is a small publication and names are not given, then send the press release to the publisher or editor. However, sending a press release is not enough. Next, you must follow up with a phone call to that journalist, publisher, or editor.
When crafting your press release, make sure that the information is not just about the book and the author. Include information that will help catch the attention of the journalist. Give him or her a reason to share your news. This can be done by tying the message of your book to some local news or problem that people in your town or county are interested in. Or, it could be that you are giving a percentage of the proceeds of your book to a local charity; that is also newsworthy.
Media coverage for your book is possible. It just takes knowing how to craft your press release and time and effort to reach the appropriate news people.
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