Book marketing to national media has becomes increasingly competitive, so why not spend some time focusing your book promotion efforts on media outlets in your own backyard? Today’s post is all about how to pitch a story to local media — the story, of course, being YOU, a local author with a new release.
Is this breaking news? No. But there are smart ways to make yourself more appealing and secure more coverage. And as an indie author, your focus should always include local media because these are the outlets that will help you build your brand, reach new readers with whom you have something in common, and nurture relationships with buyers who will support you for the long haul.
Establishing yourself as a local indie author worth following is key, especially if you’re fortunate enough to live in a vibrant, civic-minded part of the country.
Know Your Reader
You should already know your target reader like your best friend. What’s really important is considering what changes when you move those people from the virtual world to the real world. Where does your target reader hang out locally? Do they shop at particular types of stores? What activities or groups might they be a part of?
Let the answers to these questions inspire you!
Focus on Events and Activities
What events, organizations, and/or businesses — both local and regional — cater to your target reader and their interests?
Check the local events calendar of your newspaper. Find a local media website dedicated to events happening around town. If you live in a popular area for tourists, you can be sure you’ll find one. Check the events tab on Facebook as this platform has become a popular hub for finding local events and activities. See what’s happening in your local area today!
Compile a list of events and activities that complement your goals as an author and then reach out to each one on the list. At the same time, make contact with the businesses. Explain who you are and what you do. Immerse yourself (and your book) into your community.
The more you follow and participate in what’s going on, the more relevant you are to local media for a potential story. Focus on being a thought leader on a local level and you’ll see your value skyrocket.
Make Yourself Newsworthy
To understand what’s newsworthy, you need to follow the news and other local media outlets. So, if you’re not already immersed, work on that.
As you’re poring over local media coverage, create a list of local and regional media contacts that cover local businesses, artists, and lifestyle & entertainment topics.
Most news outlets, publications, and radio shows have a set process for pitching story ideas. Do the research. Follow their rules. Pitch yourself in a way that makes you stand out — remember what I said about being a thought leader and making yourself relevant.
There are over 4,500 books published every day — publishing a book is not newsworthy. Dig deep to figure out what you can offer at the next level.
Bring the Local Media to You
Compile a list of potential venues for an author event. An event allows you to control the way attention is put on you and your book and it can also highlight what you have to offer your community.
Bookstores, which do indie author events all the time, are a go-to. But think outside the box and consider non-traditional locations as well. In these venues, you may be even more of a commodity.
Maybe your readers frequent a local brewery or wine bar? Visit a coffee shop that does live music. Find a venue that is well versed in planning and hosting events to take a lot of the guesswork out of it. Contact your local YMCA or other youth organizations if you have a book that interests parents and children.
You may be surprised at how receptive non-bookstore venues can be.
Do Some Competitive Research
You should already have a short list of your competition. These indie authors write in your genre and are at a similar level, perhaps not yet at bestselling status, but hungry.
Start such a list if you don’t have one already. It will come in handy when researching book marketing strategies.
Check out the competition’s websites and social media. See what kinds of events and activities they promote to their fans. Study the most successful of the authors on your list. Find inspiration.
Don’t put all your time and energy into marketing and promoting yourself to big media.
Yes, these kinds of placements are great to add to your resume, but getting to that level is a process, and very, very few indie authors get to skip any of the steps. I challenge you to find one.
I’ve worked with a lot of authors, both indie and traditionally published. Most are surprised at what little return they get from big coverage and shocked that they didn’t see a spike in sales or social media follows after a big media placement goes live.
Personal connections are still the most valuable ones you can make. Drum up local interest and support for your work. Use local book marketing to plant a seed of interest and grow it into regional awareness. When you carefully build your following and continue to publish books, you’ll soon find that national coverage is within your reach.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." Her next book From Book to Bestseller is due out in this fall.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.