Archive for April, 2014

How To Get Your Book Serialised in Newspapers and Glossy Magazines

April 28, 2014

Most authors find the idea of pitching or promoting their book to newspapers, magazines, radio and television daunting. However, you presumably wrote (or are writing) your book because you feel you have something worthwhile to say. So it’s worth making sure as many readers get to hear about it as possible.

One of the biggest mistakes authors (and indeed, some PR consultants) make, is to assume that your press release should be sent out mainly to book reviewers. To my mind, this is a massive mistake. A book review tends to have postage-stamp sized coverage, with a teeny image of your book cover if you’re lucky. What’s more, someone has to actually read 70,000+ words before this can happen. Yes, book reviews are influential in selling books. But they shouldn’t be the only weapon in an author’s arsenal.

If you send your press release to a specific science editor, features writer, reporter or broadcaster instead, you power up your PR campaign considerably. SAGA Magazine, for example, has first serialization rights for my forthcoming book. This spans six pages and includes four photographs, plus an image of my book jacket, as well as a double-page illustration. If I paid for similar coverage in advertising, the cost would run into tens of thousands.

Journalists like stories that are:
* topical (an event or activity that’s linked to a trending news topic);
* inspirational (ordinary people doing extraordinary things);
* educational (improves health, wealth or relationships);
* unexpected (eat more chocolate, get slim);
* controversial statements (men are worse bosses);
* ‘then and now’ contrasts (you were overweight/broke/depressed etc. and now you’re the opposite);
* a big promise (lose wrinkles in 7 days with facial yoga).

Remember that most journalists won’t have time to read your book. So bullet-point the necessary facts. Or write your press release about you and your inspiration, or anything else that is interesting and relevant. Another approach is to create an event or photo opportunity for them to attend.

Here are some quick and easy guidelines for structuring your press release:

• Headline – start with something that’s likely to grab attention.
• Paragraph 1 – summarize your ‘story’ giving key information.
• Paragraph 2/3 – flesh out your story – who, why, what, where and when.
• Paragraph 4 – include a quote from you or someone relevant to the story.
• Paragraph 5 – include extra relevant information such as a photo opportunity.
• Final Paragraph – include the all-important sentence: For a review copy, permission to use printed extracts, or to arrange an interview, contact xyz.
• Contact Details: phone, Skype and email.
• If the story is for immediate release, say so. If it’s embargoed until a certain date, this gives journalists time to prepare ahead.

Take time to tailor your press release for different publications. Suppose, for example, you’ve written a dieting book. Your press release for health magazines might look at emotional and physical topics. For national newspapers, you might include more statistical evidence. For regional media, you might mention a “local author”.

Like all things, it takes a while to master new skills. But eventually, you’ll learn to do this on ‘auto-pilot’ and may even start to enjoy it. It will also leverage your time considerably. Compare the potenial return on investment of an hour spent writing your a press release with an hour spent giving a reading in a loval library or bookshop. To my mind, it’s a no-brainer to send out your press release to as many journalists as you can to get maximum coverage!

And if several publications want serialisation rights for your book? Then, you need to weigh up what your long-term goals are and whether their target readership is the same as yours. This is rather a nice problem for any author to have!

If you need support, or an extra helping hand through the process, I offer a range of 1-1 mentoring and done-for-you solutions to help authors get maximum media coverage. (Email for more details at: oxford writers@me.com)

You’ll also get many powerful book promotion ideas in my new book Celebrity Authors’ Secrets which is available for pre-order on Amazon right now: http://amzn.to/1kdtv9G

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How To Pitch Your Book To Glossy Magazines, Newspapers or Radio: Top Mistakes Authors Should Avoid

April 14, 2014

Many authors wrongly assume that their book isn’t important enough, or that only celebrities and famous writers, will get media coverage. This just isn’t true. Radio stations (particularly local radio stations) have many hours of airtime to fill each week. Similarly, most print publications are also looking for inspiring, topical, or controversial human interest stories to entertain their audiences.

You may be thinking: ‘Why bother – it’s too much effort.’ But here’s why it matters: many newspapers and magazines have audiences that run into millions. SAGA Magazine, which has just snapped up the first serialisation rights to my book Celebrity Authors’ Secrets has a readership of 1.8 million. The Huffington Post, for which I am now a blogger, has over 30 million readers globally. Many other newspapers, magazines and radio stations which are running features and reviews for my book have similar-sized audiences.

This phenomenal coverage costs nothing, zilch, other than your time and energy. Yet, in return you can build a massive following for your book even before it’s launched. So it makes sense – enormous sense in fact – to spend time on mastering this.

When authors do approach the media, a common mistake I see is that the press release ends up sounding like a ‘pitch-athon’ for the book. Most journalists don’t have time to read books. They may not even be interested in your book, period. But what they are interested in is you, the story of what inspired you to write your book, or the fact that you’re an expert who can comment on a similar topic that’s in the news. In other words, your book is not necessarily the reason why you will get media coverage. It does however give you a big reason to attract the media’s attention.

Another common mistake is to write the same press release for all publications. Many of SAGA Magazine’s readers are over 50 and interested in writing books – so a press release about publishing secrets works fine. However, when approaching women’s magazines or celebrity magazines, I angle my press release on more personal (rather professional) aspects of famous millionaire authors’ lives. So I look at interesting ‘trivia’ about their day-to-day lives and the sacrifices they make to write their books. This is much more in keeping with the ‘gossipy’ nature of these magazines and what their audiences like to read.

All authors can use this strategy to get publicity for books. It’s remarkably simple and you can do it in a weekend. It’s just a matter of writing a one-page press release and identifying where to send it.

In my next blog, I’ll reveal tricks for high-impact book promotion that even professional publicists are missing.


Be one of the first people to grab a copy of Celebrity Authors’ Secrets, by pre-ordering a copy right now on Amazon.

     “Anyone setting out to write a book should thank their lucky stars for Stephanie’s outstanding inspirational guide. I’m astonished by just how much insider information and personal experience the world’s top million-selling authors are prepared to share.” 

– Sue Price, Arts, Culture and Books Editor of SAGA Magazine

 

Beverly Hills Book Awards Finalist: 2014

Beverly Hills Book Awards Finalist: 2014