Readers can’t buy anything if they don’t know it exists.
If you’re shy like me (I’m working on it, I swear!), this isn’t a concern. You’re perfectly happy curling up with your phone on the couch and posting quotes and pictures of your book on Instagram to your followers. However, for those of you who are a little more adventurous and don’t mind being quoted in a magazine or interviewed on a talk show, you may be wondering how in the world you even secure media coverage for your book.
Start Your Author Website
Having an online presence is a great place to start when it comes to getting media coverage for your book (or yourself). This creates a single spot where people can go to find out more about you, review your body of work, and contact you for interviews, appearances, lectures, and more.
The Wheel Already Exists
You don’t have to code a website from scratch, pay someone to develop it for you, or spend hour-upon-hour trying to figure out how to create your website on your own. There are plenty of “drag-and-drop” platforms that offer site or blog hosting services. Many of them are free of charge, such as Wix.com or WordPress.com.
The two things that will cost you some money if you decide to use them are a domain name and an ecommerce feature.
A domain name is everything between “www” and “.com” (org, edu, gov, net, biz, etc.). So, for most authors, they will try to simply use their full name. For example, mine is TeneshaLCurtis.com. And I highly recommend something simple like that: JaneABrayon.com, LarryTenton.net, ArabiaJohnson.me.
In order to do this, you’ll spend somewhere around $10 to $20 per year on a domain name from places like GoDaddy. They usually have a search bar for you to input the domain name you’d like. The system will let you know if it’s already been taken, is available, or is being held by a third party for sale. Most sites also provide recommendations for variations on the domain name you want.
If you find that your name is already taken, try adding an extra word or an initial to differentiate. For example, instead of ClaraPeters.com, try ClaraCPeters.com, ClaraPetersWrites.com, or AuthorClaraPeters.com.
Once you set up your free website, you can attach your custom domain to it. The steps are a little different for each platform, but the instructions are readily available. If you want to do everything on the same site, you can simply buy a domain name from wherever your free site is hosted.
With most free sites, being able to sell digital and physical products is not a standard component of the website. You will have to pay (monthly, in most cases) for the ability to sell anything directly from the site. That being said, you don’t necessarily HAVE to use these features. You can just as easily use a button that leads to Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, or wherever else your book is being carried and let them deal with customer service, order processing, warehousing, packing, and shipping. Adding the ability to sell things is usually somewhere around $10 to $20 per month.
Be sure to represent yourself professionally on your site including having a clear way to contact you, highlighting your latest book or work-in-progress, and a way to see past books you’ve written.
Create Your Email Template
You can find hundreds of media contact templates on the web. The reason so many exist is because there are so many different ways to construct a media request email. If you’re not going to be hiring a PR firm to help you with your media campaign, you’ll have to be patient and thick-skinned as you trudge through the process of finding, researching, vetting, and contacting media outlets about your book.
Two common, key components of this email are including what exactly you want from the outlet (a book review, an interview, etc.) and how it would be of benefit to the outlet (how does it help them to cover you?). Don’t just tell them it’s content for their website, channel, or publication. Just about ANYTHING could be. But what is it about you or your book that’s going to solidly connect with their audience and make them glad that they subscribe to that outlet?
I’m Tenesha L. Curtis and my new creative self-help book Book Outlining Basics would be great for you to write about for NYT.
Please get in contact with me at 404-579-7252 when you’re ready to schedule an interview.
The brevity is awesome, but I’m not sure Horatio would know exactly what I want or what’s special about my book versus the hundreds of other book requests he probably gets on a daily basis sent to his inbox. I’m not claiming perfection or a guarantee of coverage, but here’s something a little better than that:
Good morning, Horatio!
I’m Tenesha L. Curtis and I’m writing to request a book review in the nonfiction section of the weekly New York Times book roundup, BookShowcase, that you produce.
My latest work is called Book Outlining Basics: Strategies for stronger first drafts and provides a succinct, actionable set of instructions for creating outlines for books and screenplays. Readers don’t have to sift through any fluff like theories and history to find the knowledge they’re looking for. With the bulk of your audience being readers who may have considered writing a book, but never acted on it, a book like mine would give them the exact kind of straightforward instruction they’re looking for regarding how to start planning a manuscript. They would appreciate creating a book that might one day end up on BookShowcase, I’m sure!
I have included the Book Outlining Basics introduction and first chapter in the body of this email for your convenience.
Please call me at 404-579-7252 or email Publish@VoloPressBooks.com with any questions.
Thank you for your time.INTRODUCTION
At the end of the day, without having an intimate friendship with a contact at the magazine, news channel, Instagram profile, or other outlet of your choice, it will be difficult to know exactly what to include in your email. Many authors describe the media pitching process as one of trial and error (much like sales copy writing or keyword selection for advertising). So, be patient and keep plugging away at it. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from most or all of the people that you reach out to.
Create Your Contact List
Research YouTube channels, magazines, blogs, talk shows, podcasts, and other outlets that cater to your target audience or directly deal with the central theme or material your book covers. For example, if you write a novel about a cancer patient falling in love, you could market that to romance outlets, cancer sites, and dating sites.
For each outlet, make note of their:
- audience demographics (what are most of their viewers/readers/listeners made up of? Their sex, socioeconomic status, nationality, native language, location, etc.)
- site content (what is most of the information on the site focused on?)
- media contact (their name, email, and phone number or social media account)
- link to their editorial calendar (if applicable)
If you’re creating a table, I’d also recommend adding space for noting when you contact them, how, and notes.
That’s okay! This is why PR firms exist. Click here to do a search and simply choose from the available options.
Happy writing (and promoting)!