Just like you can’t write a book for “everyone,” you can’t expect all media to be a fit for you and your book. Sure, a plug on Good Morning America or a review in the New York Times would be a major accomplishment for any author; however, if your readers aren’t watching that program or reading that newspaper, you’re not likely to see any spike in visibility that could lead to sales. So how do you know what book publicity is the right fit for you and your book?
1) Identify the Media Outlets Your Target Readers Follow
Well in advance of you even completing your manuscript, you should already have identified who you’re writing the story for. Whether for middle grade students, adult romance readers, CEOs and executives, new moms, or baby boomers, knowing your target reader is the first step in identifying exactly which book publicity may be a fit for your book. Once you have an idea of the consumer for your book, you can begin to research and identify the media that they consume. For children’s books, for instance, the consumers are parents. In the book publicity world, that translates into strategic outreach to parenting magazines; mommy, daddy, and parenting bloggers; family and lifestyle magazines; and women’s interest print media. We know business people to be heavy consumers of podcasts; thus, in the past year, we’ve placed major emphasis on securing business podcast interviews for authors in this genre which allows them to speak about the concepts of their books to the millions of appropriate individuals looking for new, unique insights through this medium. By identifying media that your target reader consumes, you’ll work towards building a list of target media for you to pitch you, as the author, and your book.
2) Identify Media Influential Authors in Your Genre are Following on Social Media and/or are Being Reviewed By
If you’re an author/aspiring author, you’ve most likely identified the authors in your genre who you aspire to “be.” If you haven’t, you need to! It’s important to know your competition and to set author goals to “make it” in ways that others in your genre have thrived. Whether you’re in awe of an author’s writing capabilities, his/her ability to self-promote, or the sheer range of outlets that have reviewed his/her work, by better understanding success stories in your genre, you have the opportunity to then identify the media outlets that have reviewed and shared information about these books and authors—outlets that you know are receptive to works in your genre.
3) Don’t Let Circulation Numbers Fool You
The truth is, identifying smaller market and/or highly focused media outlets that are smaller in circulation are often better for authors when it comes to exposure for their books than national outlets. A business trade magazine that is specifically geared towards construction company owners would be a prime fit for a finance author whose book offers finance tips for small businesses. While the trade may only reach 2,000 readers, these are 2,000 readers who need the knowledge—much more than the millions of individuals with diverse career backgrounds who may tune in to Good Morning America. While it’s important to aim high and set goals, don't discount the fact that building awareness amongst your core readers in highly focused outlets first gives you footing to achieve bigger feats.