Chances are you’ve seen journalists on TV talking about books. And you’ve probably seen a book featured on a talk show at some point. Maybe you’ve even heard an Author talking about the book they wrote on the radio.
But how does that happen? How did those Authors manage to get media coverage?
I’ll let you in on a secret: it took some work. Media coverage (usually) doesn’t just drop into Author’s laps.
It’s the result of a systematic book marketing plan and a well-executed book publicity campaign.
But if you’re willing to put in some legwork, it’s possible to drum up media coverage for your book and expand your outreach.
This legwork is especially important for first-time Authors who might need some extra help reaching their target audience.
Your book is a great tool for attracting media attention and spreading your ideas. But let me emphasize an important point:
You’re not out there just to market your book. Your book is a tool for marketing yourself and raising awareness for your ideas, products, or services.
Before you look for any media coverage, ask yourself, What do I want this coverage to do for me, and how can I leverage it to meet my goals?
Once you’ve figured that out, you’re ready to find the right media opportunities.
Below, you’ll learn more about book publicity and find 13 strategies that will help you get more media coverage for your book.
What Is Book Publicity?
Book publicity is technically anything that leads more people to know that your book exists and what it’s about. For example, posting on LinkedIn or Goodreads about your book launch is a form of publicity, and it can be a great way to spread the word about your book.
But when most people use the term book publicity, they’re referring to publicity from media, influencers, or associations with a pre-existing audience.
That’s because media coverage is a powerful way for published Authors to extend their outreach, find new readers, and boost interest in their books. It’s also a powerful way for Authors to build their platform and earn more credibility.
Let’s say you meet a potential client and tell them about your book. When they go to your Author website and see that you’ve gotten positive book reviews from major media outlets, they’re likely to become even more interested.
Let’s get one thing straight, though. The best media coverage isn’t always the most prestigious. Being featured in The New York Times is great, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to boost your book sales or attract more clients.
The best media coverage is coverage that directly reaches your target audience.
What does it matter if millions of people read The New York Times if none of them are looking for a book about personal injury law, generational wealth, or whatever your specific book is about?
Your goal isn’t to get the biggest reach possible. It’s to get the biggest reach possible among your ideal readers.
The 13 strategies below will help you get more book publicity. Remember, the goal isn’t just to get air time. It’s to use your book as a lead magnet to find the readers that can help you reach your larger objectives.
13 Strategies for Getting More Book Publicity
1. Create a Media Kit
If you’re reaching out to the media, you’ll need an Author media kit.
Media professionals get a ton of pitches every day. To stand out, you have to get their attention. You need to look like a pro.
If a media outlet decides to feature your book, a media kit will be the collection of resources they can use to do so efficiently.
It can help them come up with interesting questions to ask you, give them information about your background, or provide copy for journalists who might want to write about your book.
A media kit isn’t just one document. It’s a digital collection you share via Google Drive, Dropbox, or a comparable service.
- your book cover
- Author photos
- a pdf of your book
- a list of 5 key ideas from your book
- your book description and information about the book, including notable endorsements
- your Author bio, website, and social media information
- a book trailer (optional)
- sample social media posts (optional)
- a pronunciation audio file if people often stumble over your name (optional)
- a press release (optional)
For more details, check out this post on how to create a media kit.
2. Create a Book Trailer
A book trailer can be a great way to attract more media attention.
Media contacts aren’t just interested in great ideas. They’re interested in people who can present those ideas in a compelling way.
A book trailer gives you an opportunity to showcase your talents. If you make one, it should be professional. Unless you make videos regularly, that probably means that you’ll need some professional help.
You should be the star of your trailer. Remember, you’re not there to sell your book. Your book is a tool to sell you. But a successful trailer also clearly shows why your book matters.
Finally, it needs to be short. When you watch a movie trailer, do you want to watch 5 minutes of clips? No. You want the juiciest, most exciting bits. The trailer’s purpose is to hook people and leave them wanting more.
Here’s a great example of a book trailer. In just a couple of minutes, the video highlights the message of the book and demonstrates that the Author knows how to engage an audience.
While this is a great example, don’t just go out and copy it. Figure out what sets you and your book apart and embrace it.
Use your authentic voice to show media professionals why you’re the perfect person for their program, podcast, or publication.
3. Share Any Media You’ve Been Featured in
The best way to get more media coverage is to leverage the coverage you’ve already received.
Media is like a snowball. Once one outlet sees that you’re an engaging, interesting guest, other outlets will be more likely to invite you on.
List all of your previous appearances on your:
- Author website
- social media profiles
- LinkedIn profile
- email signature
For your email signature, don’t get carried away. But do share a quote from your biggest media appearance.
4. Reach out to Blogs
When you’re thinking of which media outlets you want to reach out to, don’t just think about traditional media outlets like magazines and television.
Also focus on online publicity that can amplify your voice within your target audience. Blogs are an especially great way to extend your reach.
Because of the quick pace of digital media, bloggers are always on the lookout for new content. That means they’re often open to guest blog posts written by other Authors.
Guest blogging is a win-win situation. Think about it: the blogger gets great content, and you get exposure.
Here’s the key, though: your book must have the same target audience as the blog. A blogger won’t want you as a contributor unless your content is a great fit for their audience.
When you’re pitching, make sure you’re familiar with the blog. You can’t craft something generic and expect results.
Pitch a specific article on an interesting topic at the intersection of your book’s content and their blog’s focus.
Your post has to help the blogger, too, which means staying on the blog’s brand.
5. Reach out to Podcasts
Like blogs, you must research individual podcasts before you pitch. Make sure your target audiences align.
We have another post that will give you more extensive details on getting interviewed on podcasts. But here are 3 tips for finding podcasts that appeal to your target audience:
- Use Google to reverse engineer. Search whatever terms your book’s audience would search when looking for podcasts. For example, if your audience is female entrepreneurs, search “best podcasts for female entrepreneurs.”
- Look up what other Authors in your space are doing. What podcasts have they been featured on? Those would be good outlets to approach.
- Browse Luminary. This is an extensive podcast subscription service, including a lot of original podcasts.
Many podcasts have specific submission requirements, so follow whatever their website tells you.
6. Reach out to Professional Associations
Don’t underestimate the power of professional associations. Many Authors write nonfiction books so they can advance their careers. Thus, media designed for professional networks are an ideal opportunity.
Professional associations often have blogs where you can contribute content. They also often have websites, newsletters, Facebook groups, etc.
When you approach them, do it with a long-term mindset. Try to cultivate a lasting relationship with media contacts in your professional fields. Once you’ve got a tried-and-true connection, it will be much easier to promote any work you do in the future.
If you can become the go-to source for people in your professional media orbit, you’ve got it made.
7. Reach out to Digital Magazines
Many traditionally published magazines have transitioned to online models. And there are also many online-only magazines that have risen to prominence in the last few years.
Some of the most well known include Entrepreneur, Forbes, Thrive, and Fast Company.
These publications are always looking for new digital content, especially from experts in business and finance.
Check their websites to find their preferred submission methods and criteria. Every publication is different.
8. Invest in a Paid PR Tool
If you have a book promotion budget, you might consider investing in a subscription service for media information.
These services provide extensive databases of media contacts and influencers. You identify your target audience, and they will provide suggestions for possible outlets.
These services are a good way to find new media opportunities outside of your personal realm of experience.
Some well-known PR tools include Cision, ZoomInfo, and Ninja Outreach.
9. Reach out to Social Media Influencers
Influencers are people with extensive social reach and high social credibility. When they endorse products, their audience tends to listen.
If you can get a social media influencer to endorse your book, it can significantly widen your reach.
If you have any connections with influencers through your personal network, that’s a great resource. It’s much easier to convince an influencer to support your book if they already know and trust you or a mutual acquaintance.
It’s also possible to cold-call influencers, but you’ll have to find a way to really stand out. Influencers get hundreds of emails a week, so you have to be truly special to catch their attention.
Also, be aware that while influencers are sometimes willing to promote products for free, many expect to be paid. If you’re paying for coverage, you’ll have to decide if the ROI is worth it.
10. Consider Paid Opportunities
While free publicity is great, don’t shy away from paid opportunities. Some podcasts or social media influencers are pay-to-play, but you’ll easily make a return on your investment if you can reach your target audience.
That said, not all pay-to-play opportunities are good. And don’t just judge based on how famous the influencer is. Remember, publicity doesn’t mean anything unless it’s helping you reach your target market.
Do your homework and ask the right questions.
Ask whether you can talk to past participants. Did they have a positive experience, and what was their post-publicity experience like?
Of course, everyone’s experience will be different, but you might be able to get a gauge of how “worth it” the opportunity truly was.
Also ask whether the influencer/podcast/media outlet has statistics available about their audience. What do their audience demographics look like? And how closely do they match yours?
11. Consider Paid Book Promotion Lists
If you choose the right paid book promotion lists, they can help you get a burst of sales.
Notice that I said “the right” ones. There are many paid lists that take your money without giving you any real benefit.
Sales don’t directly translate into media opportunities, but the more you can promote your book and spread the word about it, the more likely media outlets are to hear about it and take notice.
Based on what works for our clients, the top paid promotion sites are:
- BookBub (far and away the winner)
- Bargain Booksy
- Books Butterfly
For more information on each of these sites (and for a list of the sites that don’t work), check out this post on book promotion sites.
No matter which site you choose, you should still keep your marketing tight. These book promotion lists can help you find other opportunities, so put your best foot forward.
12. Connect with Journalists
The best approach to media coverage isn’t to think of it as a series of one-and-done opportunities. Instead, approach journalists with the intent of forming long-term relationships.
But how do you get started? How do you connect with journalists in the first place?
There are some companies that send e-blasts about journalists looking for contributors.
For example, the website Help a Reporter Out (HARO) offers a free daily email list. Journalists post their needs, like, “I need an expert who can talk about rising interest rates.” If you fit the bill, you can contact them directly.
ProfNet is another service that will connect you with journalists seeking experts. It’s a paid service, and the fees are assigned on a sliding scale depending on the number of users, type of organization, and the number of industry categories you choose.
If you have a topic that’s relevant to current events, you can even post it on Twitter. Many journalists will accept pitches on Twitter, or they’ll reach out to experts who catch their eye.
This is less common, and it’s more of a long-game play, but you can still establish relationships this way.
The key is really to build connections. Don’t just be another voice in a sea of voices. Be the person they recognize.
Then come to them with a pitch that will genuinely interest their audience.
13. Consider Hiring a Book Publicist
Some Authors decide to reduce their book marketing workload by hiring a book publicist.
To be clear, book publicists aren’t there to help you come up with a marketing plan. You must already know your audience and your intended media outlets.
A publicist’s job is to connect you with those outlets. They also help you coordinate book tours and get information to booksellers to assist their purchasing choices.
In other words, a publicist isn’t going to magically boost your following. They can help you grow your audience, but you must be realistic. Hiring a publicist won’t immediately unlock the door to success.
Hiring a book publicist or a book publicity service isn’t for everyone. But if it’s a good fit for you and your book, a book publicist already has relationships with media outlets. They can help you connect.
To learn more about what a publicist does and how to connect with one, read this article.