Tag Archives: traditional media

You’re an Author. You’re an Expert.

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?

Well the squeeze being put to reporters can actually favor you, dear scribe. An author, well-versed in a particular topic, that’s written and published a book, is an expert!

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:

What Book Publicity Can (and Can’t) Do

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

You are probably confused as to why an AuthorHive publicist is telling you there’s anything book publicity can’t do. And, at the risk of refuting my entire argument, perhaps I should include a disclaimer by saying that almost anything is possible…but is it likely?

Maybe you’ve tried to market your book yourself, and realized how daunting the task can be.  Or, you’ve done your research and realize that for a new author a promotional campaign is a must. That’s where we, as literary marketing and publicity experts, come in.  We offer a complete line of book publicity options, including online outreach to potential fans and readers through social media.

However, there are things I can accomplish as your publicist and those that even Hercules couldn’t.  Becoming a famous author like J.K. Rowling or James Patterson takes a lot of time and hard work. In my experience, authors who have realistic expectations and understand the limitations of this industry prove to be the most successful.

Can a publicity campaign make your book a bestseller? A book publicity campaign itself will not likely make you a bestseller. But, a campaign can increase interest in your book through the third-party credibility of media placement, which can in turn increase book sales significantly.

Will you be interviewed by The New York Times? Major media outlets reserve space or programming for only the most newsworthy stories, which unfortunately aren’t always book releases. Targeting local news, trade magazines, and national news outlets that are already interested in your topic will usually yield the best results in book campaigns. You’ll be reaching out to your target audience, and might even be filed by journalists as an expert for future news stories.

Avoid the “O” word. We hear it from almost every author at the beginning of campaigns: “Can you get me on Oprah? I think she will really enjoy my book!” It’s true that several authors have gone on to find fame and fortune after receiving the media guru’s seal of approval.  It’s also true that a handful of our books have been considered by her staff for promotion. But, the likelihood that you will be featured on Oprah’s show is slim—even slimmer now, since her last episode is scheduled to air September 9, 2011.

While none of my authors books have become one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things,” I have garnered media hits for my authors from notable outlets such as the Ladies Home Journal and American Fitness, and runs in Food and Beverage magazine, the Colorado Springs Gazette, NBC Connecticut, International Business Times, Houston Press, and Boston Globe. Start small, with your local news for example, and then work your way to the top. Believe me when I say that your book can still find increased visibility to readers through book publicity, even without Oprah’s blessing.