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You have finished your book, and you feel in your gut that it’s best-seller material – if only people knew about it. Enter the media. The media landscape has shifted greatly over the past few years, and the world of the blogger has blurred the lines. I would challenge you to look beyond just traditional media to find influencers who can tell your story and talk about your book.

Here are a few things to consider when you are reaching out to media outlets and influencers to generate buzz about your upcoming book.

#1: Start Early
Your book is launching in November. That does not mean starting outreach in November. To take advantage of all of the influencers who might write up a review of your book or some of the other types of media who require longer lead times (time between pitch and publication), you have to start up to four months in advance depending on the outlets you are targeting. The media won’t just blindly print a story about your book without taking the time to read it. They might do a feature on you as an author, or a radio interview discussing the overall topic, but to get it reviewed takes time. This means arranging to have either print or e-books ready to deliver to your target list.

#2: Know your audience
This means a couple of different things. First you need to know who would read your book. Once you decide who your reader is, you need to look at outlets and influencers who would reach the same audience. Once you pinpoint the outlets, find journalists/bloggers who would be interested in your book and create a target list for yourself, so when you are ready to reach out, you have all of the relevant information.

Ask yourself: Who influences my reader?

#3: What’s the hook?
Sure you have written a book, but what about all the others who have also written a book? Your hook should be something that connects what you have written to current news or pop culture. You want to make sure that you aren’t reaching to make the connection – it has to be relevant to what your book is about.

Ask yourself: Why would someone read this book right now?

#4: Build a media kit
Sometimes the difference between someone writing about your book and not is how easy you make it for them. If you send a pitch, but you have no information in the email other than a link to your website and a few sentences about the book, you likely won’t get anywhere (unless the person who you are pitching to is a friend). A well-written media kit will give journalists/bloggers all the information they need to write a story. It’s always best to include it as an attachment so they don’t have to go searching through your site – unless they want to!

Ask yourself: What information would they need?

#5: Have a user-friendly website
In 2015, there really is no excuse not to have a website, whether you are on WordPress or another blog set up for free or you have hired a web designer to build a site for you. Your website should clearly define who you are as a writer and what your books are about. When a media outlet covers your book launch and links to your site, you want to make it as easy as possible to navigate, otherwise, people won’t spend as much time there, which translates into lack of personal connection and lower book sales. One key thing many authors miss is having a media room on their site. This should be a page that has your media kit and any other information and downloadable images a journalist might need when they are writing a story about you or your book.

Ask yourself: Can people find me? Am I getting my message across?

Remember that media relations isn’t the only way to get your message out there. You should be running a strong social media campaign and networking to make great connections who will also help to spread the word about your upcoming book! When we build and execute strategies for authors and experts, the ones that are most effective are those that combine both traditional and non-traditional tactics to get the word out.


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Candace Huntly is the founder and Principal of SongBird Marketing Communications, a Toronto-based boutique firm that works with clients to take their strategy and brand to the next level. She is an expert at telling brand stories and getting them shared through the right channels. She is conducting one of the workshops at Author Summit 2015, PR for Authors.