How to Approach Your Local Media Outlet
I was on my way to an interview about my debut novel, Every Time He Dies, when I realised that I looked like a funeral-goer. I was wearing a black dress, a black denim motorcycle jacket, leather tights and way too many silver rings.
Given the premise of my novel, maybe not such a bad thing?
If the journo made anything of my appearance, he kept it to himself.
We stumbled over introductions, I ordered a decaf long-black in a cup with a side of honey. ‘My order is a bit simpler,’ he laughed and asked for a milkshake. We then spent the next hour waxing lyrical about ‘the craft’.
In my opinion anytime spent talking about writing, books, and reading is an hour well spent, but when the discussion dipped over to my own novel, things got even better.
The internet has provided authors and writers with publishing and business opportunities that weren’t possible two decades ago.
Now, we can reach our audience directly.
We can publish our own (high quality) books.
We can create marketing campaigns that target our specific readers and become a part of the online writing community.
The internet is great, truly, but don’t be so quick to discount the power of your local media.
As an ex-journo, I am well aware of how content hungry the news and media industry can be, especially high-turnover publications like newspapers and radio where the pressure to produce daily, engaging, and meaningful content is incredibly high.
Here are some of the reasons why you should approach local media outlets:
- Communities love supporting members who are doing interesting things
- You can target a wider audience who may not have discovered you otherwise
- Having face-to-face interactions and building relationships with people IRL is pretty awesome.
There are a few things you should prepare before you start emailing media outlets:
- a good press release
- high-resolution images of the book’s cover
- high-resolution photographs of you holding the book
I may write a blog specifically about how to write a press release, but for now, just know that there are plenty of great sources online.
When emailing a media outlet be sure to do a few things:
- Introduce yourself
- State why you are emailing them (eg: book release, book launch)
- Why their audience would be interested in this story
- When (roughly) you’d like the article published (newspaper, magazine) or live interview conducted (radio, television)
- Include links to social media accounts, website and YouTube channel
It’s important that you prepare, at least a little, before being interviewed.
This will help you sort out your thoughts about the writing process, and how you want you and your novel to be present.
Despite all your preparations, you will be asked unexpected questions. However, rehearsing your responses to basic questions about you and your novel will give you a greater sense of ease and control.
Standard questions may include:
- Your journey/background as a writer
- What your book is about
- Why you wrote the book
- Your writing routine
- What you hope readers will “get out” of your novel
Reaching out to local newspapers, radio stations, tv shows, independent bookstores and trendy cafes is a great way to include your local community in the release of your book.
There is tremendous power in getting out there and meeting people face-to-face, and readers love meeting authors and hearing them talk about their work, the writing craft and the writing life. After all, there’s a reason book festivals are so popular!
When we build connections with our readers, they are more likely to stick with us.
Reaching out to your local media may seem scary at first, but what is life without a little risk, eh?
Put yourself out there, the worst someone can say is no and I am pretty sure you can handle that.
We may be in the digital age, but relationships and community engagement still matter.
So, what are you waiting for? Fire up Google, gather a few email addresses and start soliciting yourself. 😉 I won’t even judge you, promise.
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