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There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution, but that doesn’t mean marketing your book is impossible. The media can still be a powerful partner, and here are five ways to get media coverage for your book.

It’s the most common dilemma in the publishing industry: “How do I market my book?”

This question plagues everyone who has written a book. We’re all searching for that “can’t-miss” marketing technique that will turn our books into best-sellers. And as the marketplace continues to grow , the question is only becoming more relevant. With more and more books being released, readers are increasingly hard to find.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution, but that doesn’t mean marketing your book is impossible. When it comes to boosting your book’s sales, the media can still be a powerful partner.

Take, for example, the story of Carl Johan Ehrlin and his book, The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Sleep.

Ehrlin, a Swedish psychologist, self published the book in 2010. He had little luck in selling his parenting guide online, so he started giving away free eBook copies. He sent one of those copies to a writer at the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper. That writer wrote an article about how he used the book to put his precocious children to bed.

The article was syndicated to other papers around the globe. Soon after, the book rocketed to #1 on the Amazon and New York Times best-sellers lists.

This is evidence that the media remains a reliable vehicle for promoting and selling books. While you might not achieve the explosive success of The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Sleep, you can still position yourself and your work in such a way that newspapers, radio stations, websites, and even TV outlets take notice.

Here’s how.

Do a public relations audit

Take the time to think about what the media might find noteworthy and different about you. Are there past experiences that lend themselves to interesting stories? Do you have any industry connections that would pique the interest of a reporter? What aspects of your book are particularly press-worthy? Identify them, then sell them.

You should also conduct an internal audit. What do you hope to accomplish by getting media coverage? Are you trying to brand yourself and promote a business venture? Are you trying to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert? Are you simply hoping to have your book discovered by as many potential readers as possible? Knowing all of this will help you act more purposefully moving forward.

Target potential media partners tactfully

More media outlets, stations, and content sites exist today than ever before. This is a good thing, as it provides you with lots of potential partners, but it also means that the value of any of these partnerships — at least when assessed individually — is more diluted than ever before.

Put together an extensive list of potential partners to target before you start reaching out. Consider which outlets might be a good fit for your book or topic. Consult folks working inside these companies and who lend credence to both local and international opportunities. That paid off for Carl Johan Ehrlin.

Understand what the media needs

Before you start reaching out, consider what the folks on the receiving end of your pitch want and need. You’ll find, more than anything else, they need quality content — books that are well-written, interesting, and new. That’s a given.

So think about what other value your book might add. What tie-in to audiences can you establish? Can you capitalize on your location, content, or theme? Some books lend themselves to be more “newsy” or controversial. Does your book make an allegation or accusation? Does it challenge the status quo? If so, sell that. All these themes could be the cornerstone of your book pitch.

Develop a focused pitch

Finally, after you’ve done all your homework, draft your pitch.

What this means, essentially, is that you’ll need to need to create a press release. This should be based on your core message and informed by what aspects of your book you think might prove relevant to different editors. Chances are, the folks you’re pitching will not have read your book. You’ll need to explain why your book deserves attention and you’ll need to do it quickly and succinctly.

But also be prepared to change or edit your pitch over time. You might be surprised at some of the quirky things that grab the attention of a reporter. That means you need to be okay with trying different angles.

Keep to a PR schedule

Finally, you need to make sure you’re approaching this job with diligence and grit. As such, it pays to abide by a specific schedule. Start out with this rather standard timeline:

  • Six months prior to your book launch: Create your website. Brainstorm ideas and craft a book marketing plan.
  • Five months out: Develop your press kit and media pitches. Pull together your advance review copy (ARC) media list. Start to solicit testimonials, if possible. Research the media you plan to approach.
  • Four months out: Send out your advance review copies (ARCs) to media that have long lead times. Schedule book signings and appearances if possible.
  • Three months out: Follow up on ARC media, including local TV and radio programs. Continue to query book stores and speaking opportunities.
  • Two months out: Contact non-book reviewer media. Approach online reviewers.
  • One month out: Start scheduling interviews. Finish ARC follow-up. Follow up with online reviewers. Look for more blogs and websites for outreach opportunities. Send your media kit to local newspapers and weekly publications.
  • First 90 days after the publication date: This is the time for interviews and stories to run. Media and bookstores see it as new and you’ll be at your peak in terms of attractiveness.

Marketing your book takes a lot of effort, no doubt. But with a little luck and a lot of grit, you’ll broadcast the news and introduce more readers to your hard-wrought words.

And who knows? Depending on what partnerships you manage to form, you might find yourself on that all-important list near the back of The New York Times — alongside sleepy bunnies and all the authors whose work you aspire to match.