Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Media - Handle it with a Positive & Passionate Attitude

The media.


Does that scare you as bad as it does me?

Several months ago, I wrote up a press release. Not for a new book coming, but to help inform my community about the digital market. Yes, there are really people who have no idea what an ebook is. Usually the first questions out of their mouths when they hear my books can only be purchased online aren’t what they are about. Rather, they want to know what an ebook is, and how do you find the publishers.

When I first decided to do a press release, I researched and then I panicked. They said don’t be surprised if the press release brings on interviews.


I panicked. What if they asked questions I didn’t have answers for? What if I couldn’t answer half the questions they asked? And then I thought what if they know more than I do and contradict what answers I give. This is what I do. I have a great idea, and then I talk myself out of it.

Well, I’ve been on a quest to find new and fresh ways to promote myself and my books. In the process of all my research, media came up. I receive a newsletter and have for a long time. A few months ago in it had a spot about Lulu University. On hindsight, I’d seen it before, but well, classes usually cost money and I’d done online classes before – a waste.

I guess it was the timing, and my current interest. I looked into it and found most of their classes this year are about media, and free. I’m caught up on the year and looking forward to finding out what all I’ve missed.

So, aside from Talk Radio, Book Signings Outside the Box, Blogging and other forms to promote with, this is geared towards real time media within your local area. Forget about Oprah or the Today Show. If you don’t have media training, chances are you’ll either find yourself stumbling along or worse , a bore. Neither of these will get you asked back, and most likely have your voice mail filled with cancelations of other interviews you have scheduled.
The first thing you need to do is pitch them. I imagine this is much like pitching to an agent a writer conference. Be passionate, positive and be aware that while you’re pitching they may actually be interviewing you. Their decision to put you on the air will probably be made within your first sentence.

Two things they might take into consideration are how you will affect their ratings and how worthy of an interviewee you are. Do you have entertainment value? Is it relatable to a latest news item?

Once you get a yes and it’s time for the interview. Dress conservatively, no bright colors, stripes, plaids and no large, flashy jewelry items, and especially no glossy lipstick. These are not camera friendly.

For the actual interview there are some don’ts. The quickest way to kill all future interviews anywhere in the country is to say things like ‘if you want to know, read the book’ or ‘you’ll learn about that in chapter seven’. Feed them the information. Don’t hold anything back. Also, don’t constantly bring your book up. It’s already on presentation and the interviewer will remind the audience about it. This will endear you to not only the interviewer, but the viewer as well. Give until it hurts and give more. Leave them believing if you’ve given so much already, you must have so much more to give.

So the keys to having the media love you:

Passionate, positive, know your topic and don’t be afraid to show emotion. Don’t go blubbering, but people like to know people aren’t emotionless droids.

Now applying all this may not be easy, and you may think you just can’t add one more thing to your already overloaded schedule with kids, a job, the house, a husband. I’m not suggesting we cram one more thing, but how about trade-offs? Instead of Monday promos, why not approach and pitch to one or two local media outlets. There is television, radio, and newspapers. Don’t ignore the small free papers – those little papers you may often ignore often have a large distribution. And colleges usually have newsletters, even high schools. Those could be a great way to talk about careers, not your books. Also, church newsletters if you write inspirational works.

We have a lot of options available to us, lets try to utilize what we can, when we can.



Lindsay Townsend said...

Superb article, Bekki! I love the idea of Church mags and college mags.

I'm chicken about media apart from yahoo groups. Maybe this article will inspire me to do more.

Bekki Lynn said...

Oh, it would be so cool to see fiction authors step out and demand the same respect as non-fiction authors.

Courage, self-confidence and belief in our work is going to be the key. Lots of courage.

Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, great approach to utilizing the media. Any author who can should. I did a bit of college TV, reading poetry, being interviewed.
And, it was a kick.

Chelle Cordero said...

This post is wonderfully positive and inspirational. Thanks for a great lesson in promotion.