Guest Expert: Tony Eldridge
It is the dream of most authors to get their book reviewed in a major newspaper. But even the big ones are starting to cut back or eliminate reviews. And the ones that are still doing reviews tend to only do so on books published by the largest publishers. But that should not discourage you from getting your book mentioned in print. Here are some ideas that I have used to get my book, The Samson Effect, mentioned in newspapers.
1. A write-up doesn’t have to be in the New York Times or the LA Times to benefit you. Think local. Does your hometown, or the hometown you grew up in have a newspaper? Instead of a nameless, faceless book review, you now have become a story of local interest. “Local Author Publishes Book.” And most of these local newspapers will put your story on the web so that they will be there forever.
Here are some of the places I have been able to get into local newspapers:
The Forney Post – Local, online newspaper
The Forney Messenger. I have been in there 3 times. It is a physical newspaper with a limited web presence, but I have the clippings :)
Kaufman County Life: A nice, half page article with a photo, and featured on the cover. This was before the Kaufman County Life was put out to rest by The Terrell Tribune. Again, I have the clippings!
Terrell Tribune: The Terrell Tribune also did a write up on me. Again, not on the web, but– yes, you guessed it– I have the clippings.
Indy Star: This is an interesting one. I grew up in Westfield, IN (an Indy suburb), but the Star is a big paper and my chance to get my book in there was tough to say the least. What did I do? I contacted the reporter assigned to cover local events in my hometown. A couple of weeks later, I had an interview in that section. I was even online for a while. Now the story is archived and accessible for a fee, but I have the clippings.
2. Think Specialty Publications. I contacted the colleges I attended and let them know that I was now a published author. That led to some nice write ups. In fact, The Florida College Bookstore started carrying my book after their alumni paper mentioned my book. When I contacted my high school, I was pleased to find out the principal was a classmate of mine. That led to some write-ups and an invitation to speak to their creative writing class.
If you have written a book about plants, a medical condition, coin collecting, or whatever, do some research and find out what specialty magazines and newspapers may write about your book’s subject. If you come in with a connection to their subscribers already, your appeal to them will be more targeted.
3. Submit your events to small, local papers. If you have a book signing or a speaking engagement coming up, don’t forget the smaller, local papers in your area. If the subscribers of a paper are within driving distance of your event, submit the event to the paper. You have a better chance at getting picked up, and maybe even contacted by a local reporter of smaller newspapers than you will the Big Town paper.
4. Keep it newsworthy and you will have a better chance at being picked up. Newspapers love news. Newspapers love advertisements– as long as you’re a paying customer. Confuse the two, and you will have a tough time getting into their paper without paying a small fortune. There are a number of sites out there that will help you keep your news piece newsworthy, and this will be a topic of a future article on my blog, but here are some things to remember:
Write in the 3rd person
Focus on an event or an accomplishment, not about purchasing the book.
Downgrade the language that tells readers how great the book is and make sure you focus on the who, what, where, when, and why of the news story.
Quote an expert, even if it’s you. Just make sure you tag it in the 3rd person.
Do: “I’m thrilled to help the XYZ cause by donating a portion of my book sales on Feb. 14th to them,” said Tony Eldridge, author of The Samson Effect.
Don’t: “I’m thrilled to offer a portion of my exciting, memorable, must-read book–The Samson Effect–(available at my website and Amazon.com) to XYZ cause.”
This is the tip of the iceberg on writing newsworthy releases. Do your research or wait until I cover this topic in more detail. I just wanted to touch on the subject to let you know that there is a lot to think about if you want to write something that is more likely to be picked up in a publication.
5. Don’t be afraid to twist arms or call in favors. A nice write-up in a newspaper can be worth a thousand ads. Do you know a reporter, even if they live across the country and write for a local paper of a place you have never visited? Contact them and ask them about writing something about you. Does your grandmother know a newspaper editor? Get an introduction from her. Is your brother a member of the local chamber of commerce? See if the local paper has an active member who works for the paper. Do anything you have to do to get a warm contact or an introduction. You never know where it may lead.
6. Offer to do work for the newspaper. This is a great way to get your foot in the door. I have written articles for small newspapers and without question, they have done articles about me and my book. One paper even offered me a free ad about my book for the articles. Not only can you get some good exposure for you and your book, but you will also expand your writing portfolio.
7. Find newsworthy events to get involved with. Every piece of writing in a paper does not have to be about your book to get great exposure for your book. Are you volunteering your time for a charity? The small bio written about you can mention that you are the author of XYZ even though the story may have nothing to do with your book. You can volunteer to conduct free seminars at your local library or for a local civic organization. The possibilities are endless.
Keep thinking about ways to get you and your book in the paper. Once you start seeing success, the ideas will start flowing. With a little persistence, creativity and research, you may be surprised at how many times you become today’s top story.
Tony Eldridge is the author of the award winning action/adventure novel, The Samson Effect, which Clive Cussler calls a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.” He is also the creator of Marketing Tips for Authors, a site that publishes free tips and videos to help authors learn marketing techniques for their books. You can read Chapter 1 of his latest book, Conducting Effective Twitter Contests on BookBuzzr. You can also sign up for his free video tips newsletter and get access to over 45 minutes of free video tips instantly just for signing up now.