From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making the News


There's a technique or strategy that I've been talking about with my dad in terms of my social media job; but I think it could be very useful for writers too. I thought I'd get your ideas on how to really make it work.

The strategy is this: keep a list of journalists in your field from online journals and newspapers all over the country and then contact each of them with a story when it comes out. For us writers I guess that would mostly mean book reviewers or journalists in the publishing industry. This isn't groundbreaking stuff. In fact its pretty basic publicity. A good idea, but pretty basic.

So I'm wondering how we use the media to the best advantage. Getting published is news, certain levels of sales is news...but is that it? How do we keep the buzz going in the interim?

I suppose we're getting in to publicity stunt territory here, but maybe that's not so bad. Our first and foremost priority is to our craft, of course. That's as it should be. But we might as well do what we can for marketing, yeah? So what kinds of things can we boring, average, middle-of-the-WIP writers do to generate a little media buzz?

This is where I need your ideas. I've thought of a few: maybe organizing some kind of event, like a read-a-thon, book drive, or even a blogfest or some kind of online event. You could do some really awesome things, and the publicity would just be an added bonus. What other kinds of big-event, news story type things can you think of that we writers could generate ourselves?

There are two key points to this, I think: First, to keep whatever you do writing/book related so that the publicity generated is about you as a writer more than some random thing. Second, make sure you connect directly with the journalists on your list so they're aware of the story you have ready for them. From what I've heard, what with deadlines and being lazy, journalists love being spoon-fed.

Social media is fun, fantastic, and amazing for connecting directly with people. But as far as getting some real buzz going, I think this is probably one of the best strategies we have short of having some really good luck. Do you agree? Do you think this could work, and what ideas do you have to put the strategy into action? Or is it all too mercenary and vulgar in the first place?

Sarah Allen

6 comments:

  1. Hi Sarah, its been awhile since I last blogged but I am inching my way back. Your catchword , social media -brought me here to your place. I believe in the power of social media.Whenever i write and people find it interesting, I find that it gets linked everywhere...and discussed . I find it both encouraging and frightening. Once, I interviewed a hairstylist who happened to be Anna Wintour's harstylist...he like me is Malaysian. When i wrote the story it got picked up by newspapers in USA!!! i was quite nervous in case there was any factual errors..because I had actually interviewed the guy who created the superbob for Anna Wintour. well, that's my contribution for today. Keep writing!

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  2. I think this sounds like a good idea. Like most things in life, it will either work, or it won't. And there's no harm in trying. Every little bit of publicity helps. Like ripples in the pond, each drop spreads.

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  3. Quite honestly, these days, I think it's all about grass roots and building relationships. Journalists are unlikely to be impressed by someone who has published a novel, unless you can come up with a local angle that's relevant to them. But if you leverage your connections to help spread the word, that can be more effective... in my opinion.

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  4. Keeping a list of journalists and such can't be a bad idea, although I'm not sure how effective it'll be when less and less people read newspapers and search for news via Facebook, Twitter, etc. For events, I definitely do think contacting local news media is a good idea, though. If nothing else, most have websites for local events where you can add your book event and such. :)

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  5. Good food for thought. I love a good spread sheet. My crit partners and I try to keep one on publishing houses and editors. Why not journalists?

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  6. It sounds like a good idea, but personally I would not devote too much time to it. Until you hit it big, I don't think you will see much return on investment. However having these contacts and relationships in place when things take off will only skyrocket things.

    Connecting with your customers and fans will return better results. Other than the Oprah lottery, I can't think of any mainstream news review that influenced me to buy a book. That's not to say it can't but I have never picked up a book because it was reviewed in People magazine.

    After watching Blizzcon I am convinced that connecting with your customer is the key to success. Not a review in the New York times. (but damn that would be cool!)

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I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

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