In today's guest post, media coach Gina Rubinstein shares her expertise in using the media to promote books.
10 Tips on How To Use The Media To Sell Books
by Gina Rubinstein
FACT 1: The marketplace for books is crammed with competition – over 3 million titles a year in the U.S. alone, the majority of which are self-published or public domain.
FACT 2: The average non-fiction title sells less than 250 copies a year, and less than 3,000 over a lifetime. This isn’t surprising since reportedly only 1% of books actually make it onto bookstore shelves.
FACT 3: Authors have to do their own marketing – the days of leaving it up to publishing companies is long over.
FACT 4: Despite Facts 1 through 3, there’s still a lot of value in writing a book. You can use the book to gain credibility, raise your business’s profile, and make a name for yourself as an expert in your field. AND, if you’re like many authors today, you can beat the odds and make money on your books. But you have to know how to market yourself.
FACT 5: The media, in all its forms, is the best marketing tool there is.
Here are 10 tips on how to use the media to sell books and grow your business.
1. Go from author to expert – Become an expert in your field, if you’re not already. Being an author gives you credibility as well, so build on that. Experts are widely used on TV and radio to give background and perspective on current events.
2. Tie in your expertise to the hot topics of the day -- What knowledge and experience can you add to the discussion of the topic? Be creative. A client of mine who wrote a book on parenting got booked on a show about legalizing marijuana because she had advice for parents who want to say “yes” to pot for themselves and “no” to pot for their kids. What interesting angle can you bring to the topics on everyone’s minds?
3. Have a good elevator pitch - In three or four sentences I need to know who you are, why I should listen to you, what problem you’re going to solve, how if affects me and what fresh ideas you have as solutions. A client of mine literally found herself in an elevator with a radio producer, gave her pitch, and by the time the elevator got to her floor she was booked on the producer’s show.
4. Prepare to go on-camera – You need to be authentic, articulate and high energy to look confident and engaging on television. I do on-camera practice interviews with my clients to get them comfortable and ready for television. My client Judy Carter was so comfortable and genuine when she was on the Marie Osmond show that Marie sat in her lap after 30 seconds because she liked her so much! Watch here.
5. Have 3 clear-cut messages – A message is a statement that connects a point you want to make with something your audience needs or wants. The headline of this blog is a message. It contains my point (“Use the media”) with your need (“to sell books”).
6. Write punchy sound bites for your message – You need to have quotable, seemingly off-the-cuff lines that illustrate your messages. They should be about 10 to 12 seconds long. I craft them ahead of time with my clients so that they have them ready whenever they need them.
7. Have compelling stories and statistics – Flesh out your message with stories of people overcoming obstacles. Humanize your statistics by putting them in a context – what do those numbers mean? What picture can you paint with them?
8. Make a demo reel – Get someone to tape you in an interview setting, and deliver your messages, stories, sound bites and statistics. Edit together a 1 to 3 minute video that shows you at your best.
9. Get on national and local TV and radio shows – Producers are hungry for guests for their shows. Check out the web sites for the national and local shows where your expertise could come into use. Don’t forget the smaller shows, especially if they have your target audience. Get the names of television producers from the credits of the show and email them – let them know your area of expertise and include a link to your demo reel.
10. Guest blog for someone who has your target audience – Find a blogger who’s popular with the people you want to reach, and see if you can do a guest blog for them. Several of my clients have seen their book sales go up after doing a guest blog for someone popular in their niche.
Gina Rubinstein (ginarubinstein.com) is a Los Angeles-based media coach who trains her clients to use the media to grow their businesses. She is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer of reality television who has transferred her directing skills into helping authors, speakers and others to become engaging and confident on-camera. She offers a free evaluation to anyone who fills out a short questionnaire.