When I was marketing my novel, I would often find myself envious of all the media attention some authors received. Little did I know that author had a team of helpers to scour the earth for interview opportunities. Another fact I didn’t know was that sometimes these teams were hired by the author and not their publisher. In fact, many traditionally published authors spend their entire advance (if they get one) on marketing their book.
This is where that assistant comes in real handy (I wrote about that here) because book PR is a lot of work. If you hire an assistant, you can bypass that awkwardness when asking for an interview. Just write a pitch letter for your assistant and ask them to send it, this way you’re still in control.
Timing is Everything
It’s been said a million times but I need to remind you, most magazines and websites publish by an editorial calendar. For example, some magazines start looking for Christmas stories in July and Halloween articles in May. This is why it’s so important to send a pitch or query many months before your promotional blitz. Consider this part of your soft launch.
Pitching the Right People
It should go without saying that you have to be careful as to who you pitch because not all media members are indie-friendly. So save yourself the frustration and anger by learning about the publication you wish to break into. Also, learn the name of the editor or assistant editor responsible for the section you’d like to appear in. It’s no secret that editors hate those, Dear Editor pitches and often delete them or worse, they forward them to the interns who then reject them.
What to do if you Want to Break into a Magazine that Doesn’t Feature Indies?
If you absolutely must get your name in O Magazine, or the New York Times, then you’ll need to write an article that will captivate their audience. In some instances, it’s best to be interviewed but if you’re writing nonfiction, then it would be wise to write a few articles on your book’s topic and become known as an expert in that topic.
Here are a few resources to find the right interview opportunity for your book:
- Poets and Writer’s Database (Literary Magazines)
- Wikipedia Database of Book Review Magazines
- World-News Papers
- HARO (Help A Reporter Out) (Nonfiction writers)
Finding Opportunities on Social Media
Social media is a great place to find information for opportunities not available anywhere else. Some newspapers and magazines update their social media accounts more often than they do their websites. The search engines of LinkedIn, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter should be your best friends.
Try typing the words: author interviews or looking for author interviews into the search engines and see what you find. You can do the same thing for the Goodreads search engine, just be sure to click both the events tabs as well as the groups tabs at the top.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about podcasts. This past week, Red River Radio launched its first Facebook page and the turnout was tremendous. In less than 24 hours, they had over 270 likes, and several authors contacted them directly about wanting to be on the network.
Podcasts are a great way to land an interview as well as get a book reviewed. Hat tip to BookBuzzr for this list of Podcasts for Authors.
Research Tip: Go to Blogtalkradio, Podbean, Spotify or iTunes and type the words: authors or books into the search engine. Be sure to listen to the podcast before you request an interview to see if it’s the right fit for you.
Yes, it’s been said radio is dead but in certain parts of the country and even the world, radio is alive and well. Many radio programs offer interview segments and some are absolutely desperate for guests. This is where you come in with your free books and swag. You can find thousands of stations on The U.S. Federal Communications Commission website which has a database of thousands of stations all over the country.
It’s not user friendly, but it’s very large.
Believe it or not, television is still an option for indie authors promoting a book. Sure you may not end up on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) or Ellen, but you don’t need to. There are plenty of places that want to interview authors of any stripe. Just check out a few local programs in your neck of the woods. Here’s an online station locator and another here.
Who and How to Approach?
Many radio and television stations have a contact us page like this one here. Depending on what you have in mind, you can offer a contest of some kind or just request an interview. Whatever you choose, make sure to perfect your query/pitch letter before clicking send. It would be wise to approach the producers (if you want an interview) or the marketing department (if you only want to run a contest) to get an actual response. If that information isn’t easy to find on the site, Google it. That’s how I found the producer of the local morning show in my town.