2021's Most Popular Topics: Media Attention, Book Relaunches & Book PartiesDec 29, 2021
Featuring the three most popular episodes from 2021
#1 Most Popular Episode: How Do I Get Media Attention From My Book?
Your Book is Not Newsworthy
It is not a newsworthy event except for your mother. Unless you're J.K. Rowling or Brene Brown or one of these people, nobody cares that you have a book out.
It used to be different. Back when I first got into this, it kind of was newsworthy when people had books out.
But essentially it's quite self-obsessed of us to believe our book is newsworthy to anybody. So you need to give the media a reason to cover you. And since journalists and TV bookers are often overworked and underpaid, coming up with a way to do their work for them is the most effective way to do it.
How I Did This
With my most recent book, I said, "Okay, I have written a book about writing and making a messy life into a memoir. What on earth does that have to do with the news?"
I thought about the pandemic and how statistics about depression were rising all the time. And so I corralled a couple of those news stories and studies about that and thought about writing has been very healing for me.
So I came up with a pitch about how writing about what we're going through can help us heal. And then I had a publicist friend pitch that to Good Morning America. And I was able to go on to Good Morning America and talk about how writing helps heal our depression.
That idea is not anywhere in my book. And it didn't matter because they introduced me as New York Times bestselling author of this new book, Make Your Mess Your Memoir. They showed the cover.
How Ryan Holiday Does This
Ryan Holiday talks about something called News Jacking, which was apparently popularized by somebody named David Meermin Scott. And basically, you make the news. When Ryan Holiday sold his first book, he wasn't known as a writer so he wrote the then existing website Gawker and pretended to be someone else, talking about how that guy Ryan Holiday got a book deal.
And then Gawker wrote about it. And then he sent the Gawker piece to someone else. And he really knew how to how to snowball it and make himself the news. So think about your book.
We are publishing at Launch Pad a memoir about somebody with a special needs kid, so we could pitch an outlet on the impact covid has had on parents who are already overburdened.
If you have a self-help book on the importance of meditation and it's near the new year, pitch an outlet, a story about making a New Year's resolution to meditate—basically you come up with the story.
How Cameron Herold Does This
Previous podcast guest Cameron Herold has a book called Free PR and he says go to Twitter, look up hashtags of who's tweeting about your book topic, identify those journalists and if you can't reach them on Twitter, find their email addresses, maybe on a site like Hunter IO.
But journalists are very active on Twitter so you can tweet at them. And what Cameron does is he gets their numbers and he calls them and says, "Hey, do you have two minutes? I think I have a good story for you."
He also talks about looking at how what you are teaching in your book, if you are, in fact, teaching something in your book and how it has helped people wherever they live.
He talked about he has somebody who ranks as the number one service in Cincinnati who loves the content of Cameron's book. So he would contact all the Cincinnati business media about how his book content helped this local company. And I think that that's what's really important: You don't think, "Who cares about local news? I want national news." It's all online and local leads to national.
Cameron also talks about using each media hit to its maximum advantage. So that can mean oftentimes driving paid traffic to that story or really it can just be posting it multiple times. He says that he'll post a podcast interview at least five times on Facebook over the next year, five times on LinkedIn, share it five times on Twitter, link to it on the press page of his website and then have it go out on his newsletter list and ask his team to put it on their social media.
And there are programs and websites where you can do that. Lately, which is about a hundred and fifty dollars a month, uses AI so you can basically put a URL for some interview you did into Lately and it will then come up with 40 different social media posts based on the content that's in that and then schedule them over the next however long period of time.
It's not about getting the media hit and forgetting about it. It is getting the media hit, using that media hit to get bigger media and then sharing it.
Free PR by Cameron Herold
#2 Most Popular Episode: What I Learned From the Party Girl Re-Launch
Ohhhhh, does your own book launch teach you some lessons and that goes double when it's a re-launch like my recent one for Party Girl.
In this episode, I broke down what went right (fun events out of town, asking someone I knew to help me get in a cool store), what didn't (Launch Squad, I'm talking to you if you said you'd review the book and still haven't!) and what was kinda ehh for the money put out (a publicist). That last question really comes down to...Is this story worth $5k?
Hear the whole rant in this episode!
Most Popular Episode #3: How Do I Throw a Book Launch Party?
Know That It Won't Sell Books
Bad news first: your party, no matter how awesome, won't help with book sales (unless the party is at a local book store but even then, you can only count on so many). Chances are, you'll actually be giving books away! So why do it? Because it's fun. Because you deserve to be celebrated. And because why not? So what are some ways to do it?
Rent a Venue
For Party Girl, I rented out the top floor of a (sadly now gone) restaurant next to Book Soup for the few hours after my book signing there. It was fun. It was an investment. I got great photos. End of story.
For my second book, Bought, I threw a party at a New York restaurant and that's when I started to wise up. Yes, I got lovely photos, yes I got to celebrate, yes it even got some press but it was a lot of trouble to go to for not a terrific payoff. And so I thought: I need to have a party that attracts a lot more buzz!
And so, for my next book, Reality Matters, I coerced some genuine reality stars (from The Bachelor, The Real World, Sober House and more) to show up and rallied to get the press there. Again, a lot of trouble for not a huge payoff. So figure out why you're doing your party and whether or not the planning is going to be fun. I'm a slow learner so it took me three times to realize I didn't think it was fun. For my next few books, I didn't do any parties.
But really, I concluded...
It's a Great Idea for Your First Book
That's why we offer what we call a VIP Launch for clients of ours who want to come out to LA to get the celebrity treatment. We get the press there, we gather a crowd, we even get a red carpet featuring their book cover and secure meetings for them with movie and TV producers to discuss the viability of their book as a movie or TV show. My feeling is: if you can afford it and someone else is going to do the leg work, go for it!
And Then There's the Marie Forleo Way
In many ways, Forleo was the first online marketer—and she's certainly the most glamorous. Her first book was called How to Make Every Man Want You and her husband is an actor who’s been on Sex and the City, for God's sake!
As legend has it, she was a bartender who started her mailing list by asking people who came in for drinks to sign up on a notebook. And she’s managed to not only show people how online businesses are done, get endorsed by Oprah and make millions in the process but also to incorporate her myriad interests (hip hop dancing anyone) into her business.
You get it: she doesn’t just break the rules; she makes new ones. And so when she was figuring out how to launch her book Everything is Figureoutable, she basically pulled an Erika Jayne: declaring herself a stage presence.
And she pulled it off, selling nearly 2,000 tickets for her New York launch, with people flying in from 42 states and 21 countries.
What'd she do? She danced! "Imagine," as she put it, "if a Beyoncé concert and a TED talk had a baby, then threw a block party."
Then she took it on the road, securing famous friends in every city to help bring the hype— Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach in Orlando, Chase Jarvis in Seattle and Brene Brown in Houston. She and her team went on to London and Australia.
Did it work? Well, the book became a #1 New York Times bestseller. Was that solely because of her Beyonce-like tour? Surely not. But it sure looks like that made the trip to the top fun.
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