How to Land Local Media Coverage

Dream big. But, remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

The same is true for marketing your book. Maybe you have big dreams for your book. It all starts with a small step.

Marketing Your Book Starts with a Small Step.

This small step is done locally, right where you live. Whether you want to conduct author events like book signings, start a speaking ministry, or be a guest on television and radio, you must start locally.

In his new book, Landing Local Media, publicist Jason Jones explains why starting local is so important. He says:

Your local market is not only where you’re best known; it’s also where you’re most relevant. The chances of you landing local media are exponentially higher than landing a covered spot on one of the major networks, cable outlets, or national radio programs. Besides, before you appear before a national audience, you’re want to have honed your skills before a smaller and friendlier crowd—and local media can you do that.

Jason’s book provides great information on the following:

  • Landing Local MediaWho your local media is
  • What your local media does and how you can play a part
  • The myriad things you should do before you ever reach out to media
  • What to do when you’re ready to pitch
  • What to do once you’re booked
  • How to deliver a great interview
  • What to do when your interview is over

In my years of working with independently published authors, I see many of them making some serious mistakes both when it comes to trying to secure media coverage and in their interviews. Two really important pointers that I have given authors are also highlighted in Jason’s book.

1.  Publishing a book is not news.

Many independent authors think that publishing a book is news—even for their local media. A new book is not a news worthy event.

Local media outlets are looking for entertainment and information that will benefit their audience. This means unique stories about people and events in the community, service or products that meet a need, and experts who can expound on local news stories.

2.  Your radio, television or newspaper interview is not about selling your book.

Your media interview is not a commercial for your book. It is about providing entertainment or information to an audience. The purpose is for your message to add value to people’s lives.

When what you share resonates with the audience, they will look you up. If you mention your book briefly in your interview, they will remember that you are an author and find your book.

If you want to secure local media coverage, I recommend that you read Jason’s book, Landing Local Media. The book will give you the information you need to launch a successful local media campaign.

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Are You Offering a Compelling Reason to Buy?

Why should I buy your book?

Have you ever been asked this question? I have, numerous times.

Why Should I Buy Your Book?

As humans, we need a reason to part with our money. We want what we spend our money on to benefit us in some way.

Are you giving your potential readers a compelling reason to purchase and read your book?

A compelling reason explains the benefit that your target audience will get by reading your book. Without a compelling reason, a buyer is left not knowing how your book can solve their problem. Each person who is unclear as to what your book will do for them is a missed opportunity for you.

If you want to sell more books, you need to be crystal clear about what a reader will get from reading your book.

To craft a compelling reason for someone to buy your book answer these questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What pain does your book address?
  • What is your solution to solve that pain?
  • What value or benefit does it bring to the buyer?
  • What are the results of implementing your solution?

Once you have answered these questions, put your answers together to make a compelling case for your book. Here is an example of what that might look like:

For (target audience) who have (insert problem/pain), get the help/answers (say what your solution is) that (state benefits and results of your solution).

Example:

For Grandparents who are separated by distance from your grandchildren, learn five easy strategies to stay connected and involved in your grandchildren’s lives using today’s technology. You can leave a Godly legacy that will have eternal impact.  

Do this for your book. Use this formula to craft a compelling reason to buy that captures the attention of your target audience helps move them to make a purchase.

Then use your “compelling reason to buy” statement in your book’s description, on your website, and in all your marketing materials. Give people a good reason to invest in your book. It’s smart marketing.

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Photo courtesy of Robin Higgins.

 

Amazon Is NOT Your Publisher

I am surprised by the number of indie and self-published authors who tell me that the publisher of their book is Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing, or IngramSpark.

Amazon is NOT your publisher.

It is clear to me that these authors do not understand the difference between an author, a publisher, and a publishing platform.

Authors and publishers have distinct jobs. These jobs are as follows:

Author’s job:

  • Write a manuscript
  • Engage in marketing to assist sales

Publisher’s job:

  • Edit the manuscript
  • Create a cover
  • Lay out the book
  • Secure a printer
  • Assign an ISBN
  • Access distribution for sales to retail and other channels
  • Engage in marketing to ensure sales

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is neither an author or a publisher. It does not write, edit, lay out, or create a cover design for your book. What KDP offers are services.

They offer a cover design template, an ebook conversion program, printing, distribution for sales, and even advertising options. They also offer the option for you to have Amazon assign an ISBN number to your book. This still does not make them the publisher of your book. The option to secure an ISBN is just another service they provide.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a publishing platform. Other publishing platforms include:

  • Kobo Writing Life
  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Draft2Digital
  • Smashwords
  • IngramSpark

A publishing platform is a service provider. These platforms allow an independent author—acting as a publisher—to secure printing and access distribution for a book.

If you are an author who is also producing your book—directing the editing, layout, cover design, and securing printing and distribution—then you are also the publisher of your book.

Amazon is a publisher. But it is not the publisher of your books. Amazon owns 16 publishing imprints. You can find the complete list of these imprints at https://amazonpublishing.amazon.com/our-imprints.html. Be assured, Kindle Direct Publishing is not one of Amazon’s publishing imprints.

Don’t be confused about the difference between a publisher and a publishing platform. If you are the one responsible for bringing your book to fruition, then you are the publisher.

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My Checklist Fiasco

I recently purchased a used car. The old vehicle my teenagers have been driving is on its last leg, so another one needed to be found.

It has been years since I purchased a vehicle from a private seller rather than a dealership, so I tried to do due diligence to make sure we had all the paperwork required by the state I live in. I looked on the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website and found a list of paperwork needed when purchasing a car from a private seller. I felt prepared. The purchase of the vehicle was painlessly completed including a trip to the bank to have the car title transfer notarized.

My next step, after purchasing the vehicle, was to make a trip to the Division of Motor Vehicles to have the title transferred and to register the vehicle. Just to make sure I had everything I needed for this trip, I checked the DMV website again. This time, I found a list of the paperwork needed to brought to the DMV to transfer the title of the vehicle.

Lo and behold, this list had two forms on it that the first list I used did not. It turns out I needed two more pieces of paper. One needed the signature of the seller, and the other one needed to be notarized. This meant that I had to get back in touch with the seller and make another trip to the bank. The whole process was quite frustrating.

The DMV is not the only place where people run into issues with finding out that they do not have all the information they need upfront. It often happens in the publishing world also.

Vehicle

Last year, I talked with an author who told me that, when he was publishing his book, he had to complete four revisions before the book was right. This was four revisions after he had already uploaded the book to IngramSpark for printing and distribution.

At the time, this gentleman was not a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), so he did not have the Member benefit of free uploads and revisions with IngramSpark. He ended up paying over twice the amount an annual membership with CIPA costs just to print and distribute his book.

This author reported that he kept finding out about things he had missed putting in his book that are standard for books (as well as some mistakes). While you might be tempted to judge this gentleman for not doing his due diligence prior to uploading his book, I feel sympathy for him.

There are many elements that go into making sure a book is industry-standard. New authors and publishers can easily miss one or more of these elements because finding a complete list in one place is not easy—just like with my DMV experience.

Because we understand the process for new authors and publishers, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) has developed checklists to help. Two checklists the Association offers to ensure you have all the elements you need prior to uploading a book for print and distribution are:Checklist

  • Checklist for Creating a Professional-Looking Book
  • Metadata Checklist

Members of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) can access these checklists as part of their Membership. If you are considering publishing a new book this year, I encourage you to join Christian Indie Publishing Association so you can be better prepared.

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Are You Using Publishing Industry Standards?

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ~Stephen Hawking

Standards. Every industry is governed by standards. These are a set of criteria within an industry that defines the standard functioning and carrying out of operations.

The publishing industry has standards. Anyone involved in publishing and selling books should be aware of these standards.

Sadly, many independent authors don’t take the time to educate themselves on publishing industry standards. This lack of knowledge often becomes apparent when these authors interact with others in the industry. Then, these authors’ ignorance reflects poorly on themselves and their books.

One place where I frequently see a lack of knowledge on industry standards with independently published authors is the ISBN. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. This is a unique number assigned to a book that identifies the book within the industry. All industry players use the ISBN number to identify a book, much like the government uses a social security number to identify an individual.

The ISBN is a 13-digit number, not a 10-digit number. Yes, Amazon lists both a 10-digit ISBN and a 13-digit ISBN. Yes, Amazon lists the 10-digit ISBN first. This does not mean that it is the industry standard. The industry standard is a 13-digit ISBN.

Go to a bookstore. Pick up any book in that bookstore and look at the barcode on the back. You will see a 13-digit ISBN, not a 10-digit ISBN.

The publishing industry switched from 10-digit ISBNs to 13-digit ISBNs back in January 2007. That almost 12 years ago folks. The only reason that Amazon provides both the 10-digit and 13-digit ISBNs is because they want to be repository for every book published. As a result, they house many books that were published prior to the change to the 13-digit ISBN. Therefore, these books host a 10-digit ISBN. So, Amazon provides both so that any book can be located in their system.

I am surprised by how many independent authors list the 10-digit ISBN when nominating their book for the Christian Indie Awards. The awards do not specify whether to give the 10-digit or the 13-digit number because the 13-digit is industry standard. Since only authors and publishers are allowed to nominate titles, every person nominating a book should know that the 13-digit ISBN is industry standard. Yet, they don’t.

If you are going to publish and market a book, do yourself a favor and take the time to become familiar with industry standards. Read some books or join a publishing association like Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). Don’t let your lack of knowledge become a stumbling block that hinders your ability to secure publicity in any form.

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