by Kevin Gray, Public Relations Manager
I often speak with authors, who are actively engaged in publicizing their books and the great majority put a strong emphasis on pitching their books to book reviewers at daily newspapers. They’re disappointed when their books aren’t reviewed, are rejected or summarily ignored. Many think this means the end to their efforts to “make news.”
The reality is that just as publishing is changing, so too is the news media. A 2010 study released by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reported ominously that “roughly a third of the newsroom jobs in American newspapers in 2001 are now gone, and those cuts come particularly in specialty beats like science and the arts, suburban government and statehouse coverage.” Book reviews can certainly be thrown into this mix.
In a July 2010 interview with the Public Relations Society of America, John Drescher – the executive editor of the Raleigh News & Observer admitted that coverage responsibilities at his paper – the 59th largest in the U.S. – have changed dramatically.
“All beats are still covered, but reporters are doubling up,” Dresher said. “Fewer do more, with changes like paring back to one healthcare reporter, splitting healthcare business coverage among existing business staff, and relying on wire services and correspondents to cover fitness.”
What this all means is that reporters are busier than ever, which puts the squeeze to the time-consuming process of choosing a book, reading a book and writing a review. Whats more, these time constraints come at a time when in 2009, according to R.R. Bowker, more than one million new titles hit the shelves.
So what’s a fledgling author to do?
In 2008, leading up to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Jim Bendat, author of Democracy’s Big Day parlayed his collection of historical Presidential Inauguration potpourri into a landslide of media coverage. USA Today, Bloomberg News, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times were but a few of the prominent outlets that leaned on his expertise.
And once a few reporters called a gaggle of busy scribes and correspondents in need of knowledgeable sources practically knocked down Bendat’s door. Throughout the media frenzy, Bendat consistently mentioned his book. During TV appearances he always had a copy in hand. Bendat got not one single book review, but the number of readers that learned about Democracy’s Big Day is incalculable.
Check out Jim Bendat on Fox News as he talks about his self published book, Democracy’s Big Day: