We put a lot of thought into how we pitch a book to the media. Oftentimes, we rely on publicity tools to get the media to notice a book – timeliness, connections, or news of the day.
Most importantly, for the media to pick up a story on a book, we have to present the book as relevant. What is happening in the world right now that would make an audience interested in your book?
Sometimes, the media gets saturated with current events and it makes it difficult to secure a media “hit.” What do you do when the news of the day is taken over by a singular topic?
First and foremost, you need to think about how your book (or anything) that you might be pitching is still relevant. Even when the big news outlets are solely focused on covering a single current events topic, there will always be smaller publications covering other topics. Often, the smaller publications will have a better niche audience for your product and will be more receptive to your pitches.
Let’s look at COVID-19, for example. COVID-19 is obviously a huge current events topic that’s dominating the media right now. Turn on your TV, and any news channel you flip to will be covering the virus.
Despite the total saturation of the media, there are still ways that you can break through the noise with your pitches. Let’s look at some important points to consider.
- People are looking for distractions from the scary hard news and many will spend extra time at home reading books, getting caught up on their wishlist of titles.
- With so many people at home, there will be more reading for all age groups, more online book sales and more audiobook sales, too.
- People are spending much more time on social media. This creates an opportunity for social media promotions with lots of “lives” since people at home will be scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Now, let’s look at how you might connect your story to the news of the day. One of the best things you can do is comment on the virus and stock market status when reasonable and tasteful to the issues. Sometimes, all it takes is a lead sentence that makes a strong connection to the current event to grab the media’s attention.
- Remember, all radio and podcast interviews done via Skype or telephone will still take place.
- Think about how you might be an expert on anything trending in the news. Does your story relate to COVID-19 or quarantine? Or do you have insight that relates to stockpiling groceries, how the stock market works in a time of crisis, or fun ideas for kids while they are out of school?
- Media angles are everything. Some other common hooks during a time of crisis are ways to communicate to family and kids about the crisis and ways to make the most of more time with family while stuck at home.
- Even though COVID-19 is dominating the general news headlines, there are still non-news driven media that are still developing and creating content on a daily basis. Think about outlets that have their normal programming cancelled due to the crisis, like SportsCenter.
- With everyone staying at home, people are checking news online more than ever before. Online and digital media stories are booming, so take advantage of the opportunity.
Here are a few examples of media “hits” we have gotten for our clients during the COVID-19 crisis:
Kay Hutchison, author of My Life in Thirty Seven Therapies, was recently featured in Yoga + Life magazine with an article on mental health tips for cabin fever. We were able to secure this media hit by pitching the need for maintaining good physical and mental health while self-quarantined.
Judy Gaman, Executive Medicine of Texas CEO and author of Love, Life, and Lucille, appeared in a Best Company spring cleaning blog post with a statement on why you should take care of your gut. Again, this relates back to the hot topic of public health during COVID-19.
Jim Renacci, former congressman and author of The GOP’s Lost Decade was featured on The Fulcrum with an excerpt from his book detailing steps to preventing another lost decade at the Capitol. Many readers have their eyes on the government during a national crisis.
Above all, remember that the media exists for their audience, not for you. So, if you can be creative about how to tie your story to the news of the day, then the media will be much more likely to pick up your story.