Media coverage isn’t just about your next launch day.
Getting media coverage for your book has several advantages, even beyond what kinds of sales day you’re going to have on your book’s launch day. By promoting your book, you’re also promoting yourself as an author. This means that when book number two is ready, you’ll have a fresh following of people who will be eager to purchase it.
Being interviewed and featured in newspapers or on blogs also means that you have the opportunity to get in front of a new demographic. Some of whom may want you to come on their show or be featured on their outlets as well. Some authors are able to make a single news interview blossom into commercial book deals, acting gigs, speaking engagements, and more depending upon the content of their book and the kind of coverage they receive.
You are what you write with.
Classic Century 10 Karat Gold Filled/Rolled Gold Pen and Pencil Set
WhoUses Media Coverage?
Just about any author who is looking to turn their writing hobby into a global phenomenon. This is especially true if the book is simply one method for expressing a larger message. For example, if you are an inspirational speaking, writing a book about your life perspective may be just one brick in your road to holding live webinars that pay you enough to sustain your household.
What Does Getting Coverage Entail?
Reaching out to the right people at the right outlets to make sure your book gets in front of the right audience.
Show, don’t tell, with an interactive project camera from Michaels!
When Should I Start Trying to Get Media Attention?
Editorial calendars vary depending on the outlet, so this is a question you’ll have to answer based on who you plan on reaching out to. Go to that company’s website and figure out what their editorial calendar looks like so you can figure out where you fit in and try to estimate when you should start reaching out to them about your book.
Where Should I Look for Media Coverage?
Everywhere you can that fits your audience! This includes blogs, magazines, newspapers (yes, they still exist!), YouTube channels, podcasts, talk shows, and radio shows.
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.
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.
A collection of books to help you prep, begin, or enhance your writing project.
If you’re one of those people who has been talking about writing a book, but never started, there is a new collection available that’s got your name on it! This set of works can event guide you as you start or if you’re in the middle of your literary project.
The Author Tool Kit is a collection of works by experienced literary professionals like myself who want to help you transition into the world of being a writer as smoothly as possible.
The main thing most new authors are lacking is knowledge. They have the desire, they have the drive, they’ll make the time, and they have the hardware (keyboard, laptop, tablet, etc.) and software (word processor) to get their book done. They just need the insights of someone who has been through it all before to help them with some of the details.
Included in this collection:
Ditch the Fear and Just Write It!
The Newbie’s Guide to Book Development
The Indie Writer’s Handbook
Do Less, Write More
Time Management for Writers
Top Ten Tips for Enhancing Your Creativity
Writing as a Business: Production, Distribution, and Marketing
Pantsers Plotting and Planning Workbook
Writing Day In and Day Out
Write Like a Boss
and twelve more helpful pieces on everything from following the “show, don’t tell” rule to writing sex scenes.
You can create a website dedicated to your authorship and books in less than 30 minutes in many cases (an hour if you’re not quite as tech savvy). Being a new author, we won’t bore you with the minutia of technical stuff like metadata and SEO. As a newbie, you’re first goal is simply to get something online that represents you as an author so that you’ll have your own space to promote your book once it’s finish. We encourage you to start your site ASAP (seriously, within the next week), whether you’ve started your manuscript or not. With the overwhelming number of free blog, site, and social media options available, getting set up is a snap! But here are some things to consider and steps to follow regarding starting your author website.
1. Dedicated Email Address and Social Media Profile
Building an author site is about as easy as getting a new social media page these days. But since this particular site is going to be all about the wonderful books that you write, the best first step is to open a dedicated author email account.
For example, you could open a new Gmail account such as AuthorTeneshaLCurtis@Gmail.com or ReadTenesha@Gmail.com. When you pass this email along to literary agents, publishers, or readers, it should be clear that it’s not your personal email address. If you want your email to have a more professional look, after you create the account, go purchase a custom domain name and then use your email service (Gmail, in this example), to create a custom email address such as Tenesha@TeneshaLCurtis.com or Bob@BooksByBob.com. This is by no means essential, but it can help some people take you more seriously than an @gmail.com or @yahoo.com account.
Once you have an email address, use it to create a dedicated social media profile (focus on one or two, don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to manage 10 different social media accounts). Remember to brand it as your author profile (@TeneshaLCurtisAuthor or @BooksByBob).
Having a dedicated email address and social media profile that you only provide to people for literary reasons also means you don’t lose important messages (such as those from editors, publishing houses, or libraries) when they get shuffled into your family, work, or other personal communications.
2. Pick a Site
There are hundreds of hosts to choose from when it comes to starting an author website. Some of the most popular are WordPress, Wix, and Weebly (alliteration, anyone?). They all have various features that you may find interesting, but if the general idea is that you need to have a website that people can go to so they can learn more about you as a person and writer, just about anything will do. Remember, you can also switch later if you’ve purchased a custom domain. It’s a simple matter of pointing TeneshaLCurtis.com to Teneshasblog.wordpress.com instead of teneshasblog.wix.com. No biggie!
3. Open an Account and Start Writing!
You’ll find “start a site” or “start your blog” or some similar such button on whichever platform you choose. Once you’ve followed all of their instructions for registration, it’s time to start putting up some content. That’s where the remainder of these considerations come into play. Once you’ve read through all the following topics and made your stylistic decisions, put up at least one blog post and then go ahead and start sharing your new site with your (understandbly small, maybe even non-existent at the moment) social media audience.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR STARTING AN AUTHOR WEBSITE
Separate Personal and Author/Business
I know the idea of adding a second Facebook or blog to deal with may seem daunting, but it’s not as hard as you might think. And separating your fans and readers from your friends and family is critical for a couple of reasons. First, you will want to post different things for your personal profile than you will for your author profile. For example, your readers may not want to know about your latest power struggle at work with your supervisor. At the same time, your family may have no interest in reading your incestuous erotica (especially your siblings!).
The second benefit of separating these two worlds is that you don’t end up divulging personal information to your readers that you would normally only share with close family and friends. This might include things like a medical diagnoses or mental health issue.
We know you know your own name (at least we hope you do), which is not the issue here. Consider your pen name (if you want to use any), consider your company name (if you decide to start one), and consider your blog name (if it’s different from your website name), as well as your website name. For example you could follow a pattern like this:
A lineup like this makes your job super simple. If you prefer to have different names or variants for these different aspects of your authorship, have at it. Just make sure that they make sense for helping people find you or your work and are easy for you to keep up with. For example:
Pen Name(s): Tenesha L. Curtis (Self-help and Historical), Noro Kusaki (Thrillers and Mysteries), Eden Tole (Romance)
Blog Name: The Burning Notions
Your Post Schedule
Some authors post multiple articles per day. Some through sheer will and discipline, others by paying a blogger to post things for them. Either way, it’s up to you to decide if a schedule such as three posts per day is workable for you. Generally speaking, the more you post (granted the content is of some value to your audience) the more engagement you’ll receive (shares, likes, and comments). However, most authors seem to do well with daily or weekly posts. Daily posts to a blog subscriber can seem annoying to some (us, we’re “some”), but other people love the constant influx of information. At the same time, if you work full-time and are raising three kids by yourself, it might be unrealistic to think that you can accomplish multiple quality blog posts on a daily basis.
Your Post Content
Now that you have figured out how much you’re going to post, consider what exactly you’re going to post. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. If you don’t think you have enough ideas to stay hyper-focused on a niche issue (the kinds of insects that help tea grow in Kentucky, for example) bring in some more tangential things. For instance, if your book is a work of fantasy that involves overthrowing a government, an interracial romance, and dreams affecting reality (and this is just ONE book, mind you), you could write way more than 52/53 posts (to cover the year). Here are some examples:
► Memes about people who want to overthrow the current government / president / prime minister.
► News articles or videos related to things like trends in fantasy book publishing, interracial marriage statistics, foods that increase vivid dreaming, etc.
► Triggers for increased dreaming (stress, diet, mental health issues, etc.).
► True stories / interviews with people who are in interracial relationships or marriages and had to overcome issues similar to what your characters faced.
► Features or lists of the stories of people who have survived civil wars and toppled governments.
Generally speaking, you’re going to want the shortest, most memorable, yet SEO-friendly, URL you can come up with. As an author, don’t be afraid to add words like “writes,” “books,” “read,” or “author” to your domain name just to be clear that you’re the author Jodie Krane, not the plumber Jodie Krane or the lawyer Jodie Krane. This way, when someone types “Jodie Krane book” into a search engine, they’re more likely to find you and not the Jodie Krane travel agent (because they want to book a flight to Tahiti).
We encourage you to set up your author website or blog as soon as possible. Even if that means you’re up and running online before your book has been published (that’s actually the preferred order in which to do this—blog then publish). So, as you’re shopping around for places to set up virtually, consider how you plan on selling your books on the platform. Sites like Shopify and GoDaddy are built to help people sell items online (and include the price tag to match!). Meanwhile, you can get a free blog or website from Wix.com, WordPress.com, and similar sites. The catch with these free sites is often that you either cannot sell products directly to consumers from your site or you must upgrade your service (and pay a monthly fee) in order to do so.
If you’re starting out like many of us did with a seven-figure budget and all seven figures are zeros, you might want to consider looking for a platform that will allow you to sell your book online and simply take a SMALL (5% or less) fee from each sale. Examples include Square and, to an extent, PayPal (though they’re shopping and checkout is pretty clunky by comparison). Just as important as being able to sell items at all is being able to sell digital items. There is a lot of money to be made, at a high profit margin, by selling e-books and audio books on your site. Yet, some platforms don’t allow for digital downloads, or that capability comes at an extra cost. Be sure to research what functions are included on the account / package you plan on using for any website host you choose.
Be Ready to Move
As you gain more followers and sell more books on a consistent basis, you may find that your website needs change. You may need more robust services or more sophisticated capabilities. This is the beauty of getting a custom domain name. VoloPressBooks.com could be a Wix site one year, a WordPress site another year, and a GoDaddy site the year after that. However, the URL itself never changes. VoloPressBooks.com will always point to wherever it needs to. But if you stick with a jodiekrane.tumblr.com site URL, then you’ll need to stick with Tumblr until you’re ready to alert everyone who normally visits that site that you’re changing sites. You can also set up a “We’ve moved” page that allows visitors to the old site to click through to the new one, or automatically be redirected to the new one.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to creating your author platform. However, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started all around the internet and here at Writerwerx.com!
Growing your online presence and giving your fans a way to keep in contact with you as you write and publish is critical. In order to do so, having a dedicated author social media account is helpful.
Which authors need a social media profile?
All of us. There’s really no excuse not to have at least one.
How many author social media profiles should I create?
For a new author, we recommend at least one, but not more than three (guess what the sweet spot is? ^_^). Keeping up with a professional social media profile is quite a bit of work, even if you only have one. If you’re unsure about how many you want to start, get your feet wet with one. Whichever one your audience uses the most. If you can consistently post at least three times per week for a month, then consider adding another. If you manage both consistently for a month, consider adding one more.
What should I post?
Just think about the things your favorite celebrities post on their social media profiles. Yes, they make sure to consistently (not constantly) plug their new movie, fragrance, clothing line, or album. But they also let you into their lives a little. You meet their family, you know what treats their pets like, you see what their favorite dish is at the bistro they love. You don’t necessarily need to give people every little detail of your life via social media. However, mixing up what you post helps keep them engaged enough so that when you do insert those shameless self-advertising links, they are excited about supporting you (and not annoyed at you talking about your new book for the thousandth time that week!).
Which social media sites should I be present on as an author?
The answer to this question has a lot to do with where your target audience resides. For example, if you’re writing for teens, you might want to invest your time in some of the newer social media sites like Instagram or Snapchat. If you write self-help books targeted at highly educated, upper middle-class women, Pinterest is going to be your best bet. Take a look at some of the demographic research related to social media usage to help make your profile decision.
Don’t over-complicate this process. Your author social media is meant for you connect with your fans and fellow writers by being your wonderful self!