How to Approach the Media: PR Tips for Authors

By Tiistso Maloma

This is a follow up to this last post, ‘10 Ways South African independent authors can market their books.’

It has been sitting in my computer for over a year. I thought it would be of use to someone out there.

I have noted the points herein since marketing my first book ‘Forget The Business Plan Use This Short Model’.

People get infatuated with soliciting press for their products, in this case books, it eats up more of their time without any results. I was guilty of it. Sometimes I still am.

The media is interested in what will help them sell, i.e. information their audience would love to consume.

The reason you want press on your side is for a feature of you and/or your book, thus expanding its exposure. It could be a magazine, newspaper, TV show, radio station, blog or whichever platform.

Find out who (media) is relevant for your book and get their email address. For a radio or TV show, call for the show’s producer. Most magazines or newspapers have emails listed on their website. If not, call them; ask for the journalist who covers your sort of content. In my book’s case, it might be a business or entrepreneurship feature journo.

N.B. you cannot force anyone to cover your product in the way you want. If they do not do book reviews, get creative and see which of their feature you will complement.

The assumption here is you know how to draft a press release. If not, Google the how to. It would be wonderful it would be a page long at least.

Enter the pointers:

  • First thing first. Send the right and relevant content to right media or journalist. If yours is a business book, it cannot help the audience of a parenting magazine. Don’t bother.
  • Nonetheless, cognisant of the above point, if you see a befitting angle your book can be of fascination to the parenting audience, try your luck. I do. Example of this is when it has a section of how moms can better manage parenting plus business.
  • Make the job easier for press. Suggest few topics (2 or 3) relevant to the particular audience. The idea is to be of assistance and leave drops of valuable insight.
  • Drama sells. Decide if drama is your thing or not. When you your book has bits of dramatic elements, it would be of advantage to infuse them in your PR communications. Kenny Ku.
  • Be clear of what your book is solving. Use examples. Give it to them.
  • Use numbers and distinct situations. As a catch, I use the ‘over 1000 copies sold’ milestone. Clearly it isn’t up to the levels of DJ Sbu and Gayton Mckenzi, still it works.
  • An edu-tech company I co-own will soon launch one of its products. Already 2 doctors (not medical) have given the product thumbs up. We punted them. Use testimonials if you have. The press loves them. Do not kill yourself to get testimonials.
  • There are too many press releases and emails for journalists to read. It would be brilliant if the body of your email gets to the point and sell in 3 paragraphs. More so your headline. Aint no one got time to read your Mangosuthu letter.
  • Small media. A journalist from a national newspaper was asking who and who featured my book. It’s a lot of small blogs. It was with the aim of featuring it/me. Is it not that she is lazy, she is validating whether my story has enough momentum to produce results for them. Do not forget the small blogs in PR.

My 3rd book ‘The Anxious Entrepreneur’ is up for release soon (this year 2015). I will be sharing some interesting marketing practices as we apply them. Tag along by subscribing on my blog

BULA BULA will soon announce free self publishing workshops. Stick with them, sig-up

Tiisetso Maloma is a parallel entrepreneur, founder of Startup Picnic, author of Forget The business Plan Use This Short Model, Township Biz Fastrack and (upcoming) The Anxious Entrepreneur. He devised the EBC Business Model checklist.

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