I discovered Betsy Talbot and her wisdom when she offered tips on how to be more media friendly in a Facebook group for authors. Talbot and her husband Warren are the authors of Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World. They also co-host the popular Married with Luggage Podcast, a weekly conversation with experts around the world on love, sex, and communication in today’s modern relationships. When they aren’t traveling the world, you can find them writing their next book in a small, whitewashed village in Spain. Find out more about their relationship hacks and real-world insights at Married with Luggage.
How to be media friendly to sell more books
By Betsy Talbot
Are you making it easy for the media to help you promote your books?
I’m an author, too, so I understand your frustration at sound-byting the book it took you months or years to write. But I’m also the co-host of a popular weekly podcast and see the media side of this situation. If you aren’t easy to work with, you often won’t get the gig. And if you don’t get the gigs, you won’t sell books.
You have to promote yourself in brief if you want to sell your work in full.
Today I’m going to show you how to be media-friendly so gatekeepers at blogs, newspapers, magazines, radio, podcasts, and television will be happy to promote your work to their audiences.
Create a compelling brief bio
When thinking about a good media bio, imagine a radio announcer introducing you. What would she say to make the audience want to hear more?
Spend some time crafting a solid short bio, about 3-4 sentences long, and practice saying it out loud. Share it with some trusted peers and ask for feedback to make it better. Then write a medium-sized bio and a longer one. (Or work in reverse order if it’s easier.)
Provide candid and professional photos
To add flavor to an interview or story, media outlets often want photographs. At the very least you should have a good, clear headshot and an image of your book cover. To add even more interest, add a couple of candid shots showing a more personal side.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money doing this; we had a friend take our headshots. But you should put some thought into how you want to be portrayed to an audience of people who know nothing about you. Click here to see our media photo gallery for inspiration.
Script the conversations you want to have
When you provide these to a journalist, you are guiding the conversation and making it very easy for her to promote you. Remember, it is her job to make you appealing to her audience. The more you can do to help that along, the better.
Click here to see how I structured the Suggested Interview Questions to promote our book while still giving the interviewer space to personalize the interview.
Tie it all together
Now that you have your basic media materials, it’s time to put them all together in one neat and simple sheet you can use any time you need to quickly convey what you and your book are about for someone who doesn’t know you.
It’s called a Media One-Sheet for a reason: it’s just one page. This is a great exercise for honing your message and giving the journalist just enough information to want more. I put mine together in Pages (the Mac version of Word), so you don’t have to spend a lot of money or design effort on it. Click here to see how I did it.
Most authors can put a basic media kit together in just one day. You (or your teenager) can post it to your website in minutes, and you can be pitching the media like a pro with your first cup of coffee tomorrow morning.
(Editor’s note: For more on this topic, read “Must-have online press room elements for authors and books” on this blog.)
What’s in your online press room? Will you add anything after reading this?
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