This is a peek preview of some of the tips from the 52-week Marketing Plan course on how to think like a journalist and increase your chances of getting your name in newspapers, magazines and online publications as well as radio and television.

 

  1. Discard the notion that people are interested in the mere fact that you wrote a book. They are not impressed. Think newsworthy.
  2. What places do you use in your story? Write an article about how that particular place inspired you. Be specific. Then send the story to the Features Editor of those local newspapers. Be sure to tell them they can cut and paste it; a large percentage of newspaper articles are written not by reporters but obtained via emails and press releases. This means it needs to be in the body of an email or in an attached Word document, but never in a PDF format. Newspapers generally have their staff listed on their website, along with their email addrsses.
  3. Is history a backdrop? If so, write a story about why that specific time period was essential to your story. Why did that era inspire you? Pitch the story to magazines oriented toward that time period or location. Pitch the story to newspapers in which events might have taken place. When writing your story, it can be advantageous to include specific, true events as part of the backdrop so your book can be picked up by more media attention. Think of Titanic: it’s a love story but it’s set against the true tragedy of the sinking of the Titanic. The tie-in to history provides a built-in annual anniversary.
  4. Do you mention anything about your characters that are true? For example, in the movie The Others, the two children suffered from Xeroderma pigmentosum, a real illness. It was not the cornerstone of the movie but it garnered additional press that focused on that aspect. Do you have any characters whose background could be interesting? Consider the publications that may have an audience interested in this unique slant.
  5. What can pull at a reader’s heartstrings? Readers need to be able to place themselves in a character’s shoes. Some of the books that get the most attention are those that ask the reader what they would do if they were placed in a similar situation. What if your child suffered from cyberbullying? As a parent, what would you do? How far would you go to protect them? What if your child was dying and the only medicine available was not permitted in the USA? What if you adopted a dog that suffered a stroke and you had the choice to help him learn how to walk again, or have him euthanized? Write the stories as though you are a journalist and submit them to both newspapers and magazines, including how those factors tie into your book.
  6. What is your background? Analyze why you are writing the type of stories you are. Who inspired you? What inspired you? Tie that into specific events that occurred to you, including the people, the place and the time. Write an article about how even a chance encounter can be inspiring or help to place someone on their life’s path. Pitch it to the newspapers where those events took place.
  7. What have you learned as an author? Look at ways you can turn what you know into an article for others on the same journey. Then pitch it to writers’ magazines.
  8. Tie your story into the season. We see this done with Christmas, but it can also be incorporated into any holiday or any season. Why did you choose a specific time of the year as the backdrop for your book? Then pitch it to both newspapers and magazines.
  9. What other aspects of your book would readers find interesting or intriguing? Did your family genealogy or history inspire you? Did any of the events in the book actually occur to you or someone you know? Analyze every scene and how you can use it to show the media that your book is newsworthy.
  10. Tie it to current events. For example, one of my books (The China Conspiracy) contains information about how easy it is for computerized elections to be hacked into, the results changed and the programming erased. The book is marketed heavily every time there is an election.
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