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Interviews and Media Promotion

The cardinal rule of dealing with the media is persistence. Everyone is vying for the media's attention, and you have to give them a reason to give that attention to you, rather than to that guy over there. It's extremely important to sell yourself, and if that doesn't work, just be a pest. But be certain to have a method to your pestering. Here are some tips:

Media Kit
Prepare a professional media kit. Include a news-release for the book, an author bio, description of the book, a list of questions that will produce a good interview, and a list of previous interviews that you've done (when and where, and copies of any print interviews/reviews/articles you have received). You may also want to include a copy of your book.

Write A Good Pitch Letter
Write a good pitch letter and include it in your media kit as the first thing people see. The better you pitch the book, the more forcefully you grab attention, the better the results. Keep your letter under one page!

Take Names, Make Friends
When contacting media, try to get a name. Call ahead of time, find out who you need to address, talk to, or send your kit to. Making contact with the right person can be the determining factor in whether or not you get coverage. Once you have a name, contact the person directly, build a rapport. You'll find that when you are on friendly ground with the person, you'll have much more success getting covered and having your phone calls returned! If the person wants to talk your ear off on the phone, let them. If you meet them in person, for the interview or whatever reason, shake their hand, thank them for their time, and take an interest in them as a person, not just as a reporter.

Know Your Target
Don't try to hit media where your book doesn't fit. There is little point in trying to get a sci-fi publication to review your victorian romance novel, for instance. Devote your time where it will be best spent. Make relevant contacts.

Give Them A Reason
Don't expect to get an interview by saying, "Hi, I wrote a book." Give them a reason to be interested in the book. Explain to them why your book has appeal, and why it would be worth while for them to give it coverage. Whether the book rides on local appeal, social trends currently in the public eye, or is relevent to a recent event or issue, make sure to grab their attention, give them an angle!

Try The Not-So-Obvious Places, As Well As The Obvious
Newspapers, radio, television, book publications . . . those are the obvious ones. But you may find markets in not-so-obvious places as well. You've written a book in which one of the major issues is water conservation-contact local environmental groups, those dedicated to the protection of rivers and bays in particular, and try to have them review the book, or at least make mention of it in their next newsletter. Your book takes place on the beaches of Nagshead, NC; contact the local newsletters, bulletins, and papers to do reviews and announcements for your book. Just because a publication doesn't normally focus on books, does not mean that they won't focus on a book if it is relevant to their area of interest. Take advantage of every market you can fit your book into. Every extra person you reach is a potential reader.

Did I Mention Persistence?
If one person isn't interested in working with you, then try contacting a different person at the same media. Finding the right person is just the first step, and one of the most important steps in consolidating your exposure. The right person won't always be the first person you talk to, so be persistent!

Interview Questions
I mentioned previously that you should include sample interview questions in your media kit. When developing your questions, make a point of developing your answers as well. Practice them, and be certain to come off well-especially for radio and television, where people will actually hear you speak your answer, rather than reading the revised and edited answers that appear in print. Having good questions is crucial. Be certain that your questions are interesting, entertaining, concise, and make sure you cover all the ground that you want to expose.



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