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When it comes to how to market a self-published book, I have to admit that local media pitching is one of my fun and maybe best-kept secrets. (Not anymore!) Why?
Well, for one, local media is one of the most underused resources for authors, and second–and maybe even more important–local media loves local authors; there’s almost no exception to when you can pitch them. Unlike bigger, national media, local media isn’t as sensitive about release dates or how old your book is.
How Local Media Marketing Is Ideal for Self-Published Books
Local Author: At its most basic, local media loves their local authors. So, if you’ve got a new book release and you’d like to get on local TV or radio, or a story in print, your local media would love to hear from you.
Local Angle on a National Story: This is one of my favorite strategies. If you have a local angle to something that’s making national news, your local media really wants to hear from you. They’re always looking for a local spin on something that’s hitting the national markets.
Seasonal Angle: With back-to-school and the fall season coming up, the holidays are not far behind. If you have a topic that you can spin seasonally, by all means, do it.
Some years ago, I worked on a book for parents about the importance of humor and kids. Around the holidays I pitched the author with the following angle: Give your kids the gift of laughter this holiday season! And the requests for interviews poured in.
Whatever season appeals to your book is fine–while everyone likes to jump on the busy November and December holidays, there’s a lot more than just Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. Every month we publish a post of monthly holidays, so be sure to keep an eye out for these!
Local Book Signing or Event: Local author events, book signings or anything that’s open to the public is another thing local media is really keen on. So if you have a book signing coming up, or something else happening that’s open to the public, let the media know!
Book Reviews/Features: It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to get book reviews, isn’t it? But local media is a great place to add to your ongoing pitch list. Local publications, newspapers, even those freebie papers you see in grocery stores are heavily read.
A lot of authors overlook those publications, but they’re really a terrific way to garner more attention, reviews, or features on your book! In fact when I’m pitching an author for a local event, I always, always pitch these freebie publications because they’re so popular!
How to Market a Self-Published Book to Local Media: Easy Tips to Grab Their Attention
While big, national media is great–these outlets often require really long lead-times, sometimes as far out as six months. But local media doesn’t require that much of a window. Generally, I’ll pivot to local media pitching a month out from the publication date or less.
In many cases, I’m pitching our authors well after their publication dates, too. Local media has a much wider window and, as I said, if you have written on a topic that’s making national news, or you have a local angle to a national story–by all means get out there and pitch yourself!
A Surprising Benefit of Local Media Pitching
If you’re familiar with the term “top media market” then you know that the top 30 media markets really matter in terms of getting traction and possibly national exposure. So, for example, if you live in Southern California, the Los Angeles media market is consistently in the top 30, but actually, it’s in the top 10.
Getting placement in these higher-end media markets is a bit harder, but doable if you follow the standard rules of pitching. And, if you get placed in a top media market (particularly for print), your story could find its way into other national markets as well. Many print publications do pick up stories from local markets, so long as there’s national appeal.
What Matters to Local Media When Pitching Your Book
When assessing how to market a self-published book with local media, it goes without saying that the story needs to be timely, and you should never assume the media person you’re pitching to will know you’re local–so always mention that.
Be available for interviews, quotes, or any airtime you’re offered, and don’t be surprised if you get a last-minute call. As I’ll address in a minute, it’s not uncommon for media to have a four-minute slot to fill with an hour or less notice.
If you’re pitching an event, pitch the features person early–so a few weeks out, and then pitch them again the week of and then again the day of. I’ll discuss why this is important in a minute. Be clear on all event details, such as where it is, how long it is going on, and mention it’s free and open to the public because that’s important.
Pro Tip: local media’s last-minute needs can be the perfect marketing opportunity
As I alluded to in the earlier section, sometimes an outlet (TV or radio) has a slot to fill, and you’d be surprised by how many guests bail on interviews at the last minute. So pitch yourself to the assignment desk the day of the event; if they need a slot to fill, you might get lucky!
Book Marketing 101: Local Media Matters More Than You Think
Over the years I’ve spoken to numerous authors who have really pushed themselves to local media but one example, in particular, really stands out. I once spoke with two sisters living in Louisiana who had a Cajun cookbook.
Now as you can imagine, there are a lot of cookbooks on Cajun cooking, but these authors were relentlessly dedicated to pitching local media. They also did lots of cooking segments and events.
The sisters didn’t even bother pitching their book nationally; their entire goal was to own their local market. This dedication netted them not only thousands (and thousands and thousands) of book sales but a big-time publishing deal, too.
Local media is a great resource for authors not just at book launch, but long after. Get to know your local outlets, and you’ll be glad you did!
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Resources and Free Downloads
Sell More Books on Amazon
Unique Author Branding and Content Ideas Using August Observances
How to Pitch a Story to Local Media: An Author’s Guide
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