Our team works extensively with authors to encourage the best practices in marketing books. You’ll find that many of our weekly Front Edge columns offer specific tips, including this one I wrote in answer to the question: Do You Need Social Media?
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Q: Why do we build such strong relationships with our authors?
A: Not all publishing houses work so closely with authors season after season, year after year. Many publishers assign a marketing associate to help an author for a couple of months, then they move on to other authors. That’s not us. With each book we choose to publish, we’re forming ongoing relationships with the authors.
- Our motto is “Great media builds healthy communities” and two of our 10 founding principles are “It’s about connection, not competition” and “Inspiration moves through community.” (You can read more about this in our company story.)
- Working with authors to encourage sales is one of the core values in hybrid publishing, a nationwide best-practices code we co-signed with the Independent Book Publishers Association.
- The greatest challenge any author faces is “discoverability.” How do readers discover that your book exists? I focused on discoverability in a March column.
Q: What is a ‘Media Mention’?
A: Any time someone else mentions you and your book in a newspaper, magazine, website, video or radio broadcast, they are sending your news to their audience. That’s what our team calls a “Media Mention.”
Q: When should I start encouraging Media Mentions?
A: Marketing your book is so vital to its overall success that, long before the first books roll off of the printing presses, you should start making contacts. Call on friends, summon your allies and consider hiring a public relations representative who can help you reach out to media professionals. In these early contacts you’re sharing the news about your upcoming book. You’re specifically asking if media people would consider reviewing your book, interviewing you as the author or even letting you write a guest column about your new book. Getting journalists and bloggers to mention your book is key to successful book marketing.
Q: Can I create my own Media Mention?
A: Sure. Sometimes authors make news by something they do in public. If you’re invited to appear in a program, a class, a panel or a festival—you’ll often find that someone is producing online media about the event. If not, we encourage our authors to create their own media reports by taking high-res photos on their phones and writing up a summary of what happened at the event. From that raw material, we can create a short article about your news in our www.ReadTheSpirit.com online magazine.
Q: What If I miss a Media Mention?
A: Plan ahead. It’s easy to miss news items about you. Sometimes a media outlet will promise upcoming coverage, then weeks may pass before the review or column is published. By that time, you may have forgotten to keep checking. We encourage our authors to set up easy online alerts. Need a refresher? Go back to this early blog post, titled How to set up Google Alerts that Become Your Windows into the World. Once you learn how to set up a Google Alert for your name and the name of your book, you should soon discover some online mentions.
Q: When I find a Media Mention, what do I do?
- Thank the person who mentioned you! A personal note will be appreciated and will go a long way toward building good will and perhaps even an ongoing relationship. When the main topic of your book pops up in a future news cycle, that media person may contact you again. We practice what we’re preaching here. Whenever our team spots a media mention, we also make a point of thanking that media professional in our own coverage.
- Give that journalist a shout-out. Share links to their coverage on all of your social media channels. Email a link to their coverage to your friends. Always tag the author properly so that they will be aware that you’re sharing the news. On Twitter and Facebook you can tag someone by using the @ symbol before their correct Twitter or Facebook account handle. Remember: Today’s online journalists depend on reaching readers. When we thank them, and further share their stories, we’re helping them as much as they’re helping us.
- Save the media in a permanent way. Media mentions can vanish, sometimes within weeks, so figure out a way to save the coverage. I recommend starting a folder titled “Media Mentions” on your computer. In the “Media Mentions” folder create and save at least a document for each article or posting. At the top of the page note the date of the article. Then post the name of the media source that published the article, then add the name of the journalist who wrote the piece. Remember to save the direct URL (the Permalink) to the coverage. Copy and paste the review or media mention from its online posting below this data. Some online media is designed to make this process very easy by offering a “print” or “download” button that can easily be saved. You’ll want to use these records for future social media postings and they could even form the basis of footnotes in a Wikipedia article about you and your work. However, if the online media vanishes, you’ve lost that source.
- Create an at-a-glance index to your media mentions. Create a spreadsheet where you can record all of your media mentions in chronological order. Column headings should include: Date of Mention, Media Source, Media Website, Reporter’s Name, Reporter’s Email, Reporter’s Twitter, Source’s Address, Source’s Telephone number. You may not get all of that information every time, but save as much as you can get. These spreadsheets will give you or your public relations professional a giant head start for your ongoing media outreach.
Tell us about it! When our publishing house was founded in 2007, we also established the popular online magazine www.ReadTheSpirit.com. That magazine has published a new “weekly issue” (a fresh front-page lineup of stories) every Monday morning for 12 years—or, more than 600 issues. Our front-page lineup always includes news items about our authors. However, we can’t do that for you, and your book, if we don’t know about a Media Mention—because you forgot to share it with us. No, we don’t publish a news item about every single media mention we receive. However, our team was co-founded by journalists and we are experts at identifying timely news elements to share good news.
- Help us amplify the news. If you do send us news about a Media Mention and it winds up in our online magazine, please do all you can to highlight that news. That amplifies the news, once again—like an echo that keeps reverberating around the internet. Send your friends, your email list, your social media followers over to the magazine to see the good news about you.
- Help other authors—and they’ll help you. You’re not in this alone! Remember what I wrote in the opening of this column? Our publishing house is built on relationships. Many of our authors want to help each other. The easiest way to do that is to follow both of our websites—Front Edge and ReadTheSpirit. When you see a media mention about another author who shares your particular interests—please, share it with your audience. You’ll discover that, over time, other authors will help amplify news about you and your work.