In the midst of blogging, social media, and all the other promotion we can do for our books, it’s easy to overlook what authors can do locally and why that might be important. Sometimes the very best way to build your visibility globally and nationally is to begin right in your own backyard. Therefore, here are some tips to help you build local awareness for your book.
Pitch to Local Television:
If you are interested in national television, then your best first step for achieving that goal is to get on your local TV station. National media will want to see you on TV before making a commitment to having you on. They want to see how you present yourself, find out if your key messages are compelling enough, and make sure you don’t have three eyes. In a world where visuals rule, you don’t have to be a model to be on TV, but you do have to present yourself well both physically and via your messaging.
What to do?
Some of your local network television stations have local programming whether it’s a morning news show, lifestyle show, noon news or an afternoon program before the hard news airs. These are all possibilities. Watch the shows to become familiar with the format and culture, and then find out if they take guests. Come up with a show idea and pitch the appropriate producer.
Pitch Local Radio Programs:
Everything above applies to radio too, except that interviews can be in-studio or over the phone. With local interviews, you really do want to do them in-studio. This way you have an opportunity to meet the producer and the host face-to-face, which will help cement your relationships so they may have you on again in the future. Also, ending a phone interview early is easy; it’s much more difficult to end it early when you are there in person. 🙂
Contact Your Local Newspaper:
Newspapers are mostly digital now with an on-the-ground component, so when I mention print, I’m speaking about all print media Newspapers are always looking for interesting content to put in front of their readers and they often prefer to write about local people. They are competing for readership and have to be creative with the material their reader’s want. Being local is always good. Another added benefit to being in local outlets and smaller blogs is that larger outlets look to see what you’ve already done. Having other media coverage says to them that other editors, journalists, and bloggers gave you the OK and covered you, so you must be worthwhile. This speaks volumes.
What to do?
Before approaching print media, create an original pitch about your book or overall message. Unique stories, human interest stories, memoirs, and other novels all are contenders. You can also consider how you might tie into a current news story and pitch it that way. Or the story might be all about you, in which case you have scored a feature. Nice job!
Gather a list of newspapers or magazines that operate in your area and reach out to the editor of each one. Be sure that email includes your pitch, a synopsis of your book, your target audience, a cover image, your headshot and bio, along with any local events on the schedule. Also let them know where your book is available. Keep it short and to the point.
Approach Bookstores About Author Events:
There are those who say the book store event is dead unless you’re a celebrity, but they just don’t know any better. I have actually found them to be quite successful when done right. Of course, it depends on the topic, marketing, and a few other elements, but the last two that I’ve set up we had over 80 people at each of them and they bought a lot of books.
Bookstores have author events and signings because it’s a great way for them to get traffic in the door while promoting the store to the local community. Where most authors fall short is not continuing to promote the store as a way to buy your book. The longer you send local people into that store to buy your book, the more books the owner will order.
What NOT to do:
Forget mentioning that your book is an Amazon bestseller. Big mistake. Remember, every strategy has rules. Mentioning Amazon in your local bookstore is a great way NOT to get what you want.
Connect with Your Local Library:
Your local library is sometimes an overlooked resource.
What to do?
Contact your local library and ask them who you should talk to about holding an event. This may be the library manager or they may have a specific person who handles events. Let them know you have a presentation or workshop you would like to provide for them; a reading and Q&A session makes a nice event Let them know you would also like to donate a book or two to the library. If they aren’t interested in a special event let them know you’d be happy to participate in an any author readings, fairs, career days, etc., that they may have coming up in the future. Libraries market to their patrons, so let them know you’ll market it to our network as well. In addition, you may learn about the groups and social media platforms librarians use to communicate with other librarians. If you play it right, you might be able to get some referrals to approach about carrying your books.
Other Local Readings:
Depending on the genre and topic of your book, try to find opportunities to have a reading and Q&A session. If you have written a children’s book, speak to local schools about reading your book in front of students and educators. If you have a gardening book, see about doing an event at some of the local nurseries. If you have a health book, research any association chapters in your area that serves the group you are helping and see if you can speak there. Consider your topic, and then find out who else serves them.
Attend Local Business Group Meetings:
Groups like your Local Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurs Clubs, Business Networking Groups and others usually meet once a month. They are a great way to spread the word about your book and it’s message. You’ll want to attend a couple of meetings before you start asking about speaking and doing a presentation, keeping in mind that most meetings offer time for introductions so you can always mention you’re the author of a book on whatever the topic is. I probably don’t need to say this, but I will anyway. These meetings are about sharing knowledge and networking and those people who are all about promoting themselves get flushed out fairly quickly. You don’t want to be THAT person.
There are an infinite number of ways to promote your book, and we’ve only touched on a few of them here. Start with this list to lay your foundation and get going. Opportunities abound. Go out and grab some of them.
To your success!
P.S. Is a Media Strategy Session in your future? Take a look at what we will cover here. I’d love to know what you’re up to and how I may help.