Marketing your book to the media is a great way to get exposure for your book. And while you may be tempted to go after the big national outlets right out of the gate, don’t overlook the opportunities right in your own backyard: your local media.
With national media becoming increasingly competitive, the advantages to pitching your local media are numerous. For starters, you have a built-in story – you’re a local author with a new release.
Is it breaking news? No. But there are smart ways to make yourself more appealing and secure more coverage. Let’s take a look at some ways to maximize your local opportunities.
1. Don’t Focus on Your Amazon Ranking and Social Media Schedules
As an indie author, focusing on local media helps you build your brand, reach new readers you have something in common with, 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.
2. Securing Local Media Means Knowing Your Reader
You should already know your target reader like your best friend. If not, download my FREE reader profile worksheet here.
It’s important to consider what changes when you move those target readers 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!
3. Focus on Events and Activities
What events, organizations 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 to find one.
- Check the events tab on Facebook. Facebook is becoming a popular hub for finding local events and activities. See what’s happening in your local area today!
- Make a list of events and activities that will compliment your goals as an author. Contact local 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.
4. Make Yourself Newsworthy
In order 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.
And as you’re pouring through 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, which means going back to what I said about being a thought leader and making yourself relevant.
Remember, there are over 4,500 books published every day so just having a book will not be newsworthy – dig deep to figure out what you can offer at the next level.
5. Bring the Local Media to You
Compile a list of potential venues for an author event as a way to control how much attention is put on you and your book, and what you have to offer your community.
Places like bookstores that do indie author events regularly are a go-to. But think outside the box and consider non-traditional locations as well, because you’ll be 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.
6. Do Some Competitive Book Marketing Research
You should already have a short list of your competition. These indie authors write in your genre and are at a similar level – not yet at bestselling status, but hungry.
Start a list if you don’t have one already. This will come in handy when researching book marketing strategies.
Check out their websites and social media. See what kinds of events and activities they’re promoting to their fans. Study your competition. Find inspiration.
While big media hits are great to add to your portfolio, getting to that level is an intricate and laborious process. And if you do get there, whether as an indie author or traditionally published, you’ll likely be surprised by the little return that comes from big coverage, as it typically doesn’t generate a massive spike in sales or social media follows.
In focusing your time and efforts on a local level, you’re able to make personal connections that will serve you well in the long run. As you continue to publish books and drum up local support, your local interest will grow to regional, and will only get bigger from there, until national interest doesn’t seem quite so far out of reach.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.