Naturally, most authors would love to see their books reviewed in major outlets, such as The New York Times Book Review, USA Today, LA Times, or featured on NPR or one of the network morning news shows. There is certainly nothing wrong with aiming high—and landing those big media placements is exhilarating—but I’ve long been an advocate of casting a wide net when it comes to soliciting coverage for your books.
In my twenty-plus years working with authors and books, I’ve found that authors sometimes overlook perfectly good opportunities for book coverage. Of course, making contact with the usual suspects—book reviewers at newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, etc.—is vitally important, but consider casting your own wide net when considering your areas of outreach.
For instance, here are a few ideas for outlets/places that might be worth contacting:
- Alumni outlets: Most colleges and universities produce an alumni magazine, eNewsletter, or bulletin that features alumni news. Make sure you explore what opportunities your alma mater has. Don’t forget your high school and elementary school. More and more, I notice high schools sharing alumni news via newsletter, website, or Facebook. Make sure those connected with all of your school affiliations—college, graduate schools, professional schools, high school, elementary schools—know about your book.
- Local and beyond: Reaching out to your local/regional media is definitely a good idea, but don’t overlook hyperlocal outlets, such as magazines or papers that cater to a particular neighborhood or area of town. Typically, the editors of those hyperlocal outlets are very receptive to news about people who live within their area.
- Professional clubs and organizations: Many professional organizations and clubs feature magazines, newsletters, or other types of communication that highlight member news. Make a list of the professional organizations and clubs you belong to and take some time to research what opportunities exist for spreading the word about your book.
- Social clubs and groups: If you belong to a social club, such as a country club, find out if it’s possible to have news of your book communicated to other members. Most country clubs feature a regular newsletter and might be receptive to sharing news about your book.
- Other organizations: Consider other organizations of which you are a member. For instance, if you pledged a sorority or fraternity, be sure to look explore how the organization communicates with its membership. In the past, I’ve found the editors of these types of publications very interested in sharing news of its author members
- Hometown(s): Be sure to contact newspapers and other media in your hometown—and emphasize your connection to the area—to share news of your book’s release. If you grew up or lived in several places, make an effort to reach out to media in each of those areas. Hometown coverage can be a phenomenal means of generating interest in a book.
Successfully promoting a book can mean really thinking beyond reviews and getting creative about finding places to help spread the word. These six tips are just a start of the many places that could provide opportunities for book coverage. Whatever you do—don’t be shy about spreading the word about your book.
MARYGLENN MCCOMBS, is an independent book publicist who has worked in the book publishing industry for more than twenty years.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Maryglenn serves on the board of the Nashville Humane Association.
Maryglenn is a native of South Central Kentucky. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Tim Warnock, and their Old English Sheepdog, Majordomo Billy Bojangles. A native of South Central Kentucky, Maryglenn currently lives in Nashville with her husband, Tim.