Decide on a media angle to generate publicity
Before you approach the press, see if you can think of any possible media angles. Perhaps the subject of your book is particularly topical due to something in the news, or a national/international event? This will all help to give journalists a ‘hook’ to hang the news of your books release on.
Your local media is always a good place to start if you are trying to generate some publicity. Approach your local newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations to see if they would like to review your book, do a feature on it or maybe interview you. There are lots of other specialist publications that might be interested in your book, particularly if it is non-fiction, so get researching and get in contact with them too. If you are approaching a newspaper or magazine, give them a ring to check who you need to contact first.
The national press will often draw their stories from local or specialised news items so it’s good to cover all of those bases first. If you do get in contact directly, it’s a good idea to be as targeted as possible. For example, if there is a particular columnist who you think would be interested, send them an email explaining why you have chosen to get in touch with them and giving them some information about your book. Remember to keep it brief, but try and get them excited about your book. Don’t be downhearted if they say no – they simply can’t feature every book they hear about.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ’It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Personal contact is especially important in the world of books where the highest factor influencing someone to buy a book is the recommendation by a friend. So it is even better if those friends happen to be booksellers, literary agents or even publishers. Get networking!
Book festivals, seminars, conferences, writing courses and readings by other writers are great places to meet people who are likely to be interested in hearing about your book. Anybody you speak to, keep their name and contact details and try to follow this up with a quick email to say that it was nice to meet them (and including a link to your website, blog or page on CompletelyNovel). It’s also worth getting business cards printed so you can easily give people your details to keep for the future.
Online forums are also a good place to make contacts. Read our tips on social networking on the right hand side of this page to help you make a good impression.