Pitch the Story, Not Your Book
So, here’s where publishers and I usually differ, whereas most publishers pitch the book, I prefer to pitch the author. I have had quite a few heated discussions with publishers about this approach. I understand their perspective, they published the book and that’s what they want to promote. The only problem with that approach is that it’s wrong. Pitch your book and you have a certain number of stories and media hooks, pitch yourself, your life experiences, your anecdotal stories and your book and you’ve suddenly broadened the bulls eye.
Remember, when it comes to landing media coverage, it still all comes back to the media hook, to offering them a strong story. It’s the story that will interest the press. Don’t simply send out your book and information to the media, thinking that they’ll be so knocked out by your writing or the book’s subject matter that they’ll be clamoring to interview you. It seldom works that way. Develop hooks and story ideas that you can use to spotlight your book. If your book is non-fiction or a how-to this becomes a much easier task. We have represented authors who have written books on fashion, beauty, health, relationships, sex, and a variety of other topics. Even though we focus on the books in our campaigns, we do not limit ourselves to the book exclusively. Our objective remains the same: to establish our clients as experts in their field. The book becomes a part of the story, but it never defines the entire campaign. If you can place an article in a magazine or a segment on a talk show that revolves specifically around your book, you’ve hit pay dirt. But that’s not always an easy task. Certainly pitch your book as one of your hooks, but don’t limit your campaign. Come up with other story ideas which can include your book, but do not revolve specifically around it.
For example, we worked with a psychotherapist who wrote a book on how to save a troubled marriage. Although we included the book in all of our pitches, the focus remained on the psychotherapist’s expertise in relationship issues. We pitched the women’s magazines and talk shows, relationship-oriented stories in which our client could appear as an expert. The media reacted well to our pitches and interviews were scheduled. Although some of the stories were about marriages and romantic relationships, others were about other types of relationships, such as parent child relationships or sibling relationships. Even though those issues did not revolve specifically around the topic of our client’s book, she could expertly address them. When she appeared on talk shows, our client was introduced as the author of her book and was asked questions about her book during the interview. Although the shows themselves did not always revolve around the book, the book and client were always highlighted. If we had insisted on segments or articles that only featured or revolved around the book, we would have severely limited the media opportunities. We were branding her as an expert. Whenever she was interviewed, she discussed her book, which garnered her book more coverage and led to more media specifically focused on her book. The approach worked.
So, broaden your media horizons. Make a list of all the potential story ideas about you, your journey and your book and start writing again – writing press releases that is