One of the best ways that you can get your book into the hands of readers is by putting your name, brand, and author platform out into the world. So put yourself out there by doing what you do best—writing. Generating more content for people to consume can be an unbelievable asset in creating interest in your book. But . . . what do you write?
In the olden days, you might submit your short stories to newspapers and magazines. While submitting to literary magazines and short story competitions is still a wonderful option, the target readership is small, and may not match with the target readership of your book.
Today, a better option is to reach out to magazines, blogs, and podcasts about a subject matter similar to that of your book. Is your book about nursing? Contact nursing magazines. Business? Business journals. Is it a picture book? Parenting magazines. If your book is more general, you may have to find an angle. Do you have an LGBT protagonist? A feminist framework? Is your book somehow tied to a disease? These are all great ways to pitch your book, and you can also pitch yourself. Even if the book doesn’t necessarily relate, maybe you do.
If you have a publicist, they will likely compile a list of places that they will pitch your content. They may have made prior connections at some of these places from previous books, and have an easier time getting your content placed.
But here’s the thing. Whether you have a publicist or not—you have to actually write the content.
There’s a million things that can get in the way: all of your other publicity efforts, writing the next book, another job, taking care of family. But you have to make time. This content, especially on online magazines, blogs, and podcasts, is easily sharable, and your reach could become far greater than it would have been in the print equivalent.
What do you write about? If you were successful in tying your book, life experience, or expertise to the subject of the magazine, that’s what you write about. Writing about how you were inspired to write your book, or the tactics you used to finish it, make readers feel connected, and they walk away with your book in mind. This is a great essay to write for literary magazines and writing blogs. It could be a personal essay or a listicle (a.k.a. an article in a list format). Or if you get lucky, maybe they’ll want an excerpt of your book—but usually they’ll want something exclusive, so make sure to tailor your content to the media placement.
If you write a personal essay, it’s important that your piece be more than just a story about your life. Unless you have a huge platform, most people won’t care about the minutia of your story. Make sure to give it a greater meaning.
If you can impart a lesson or a nugget of wisdom to your audience, the piece will be much more salient. And don’t forget to use your best story-telling techniques; just because it’s non-fiction doesn’t mean it needs to read like a history book. The more emotion and voice you put into your essay, the more readers will relate and feel drawn into your story.
Another great way to get your content placed is with timeliness. If you can tie your book, experience, or expertise to what is happening in the world, the media outlets are much more likely to pick it up. You need to try to be a part of the national conversation.
Perhaps most importantly, your content should leave the reader with something to hang onto. Whether you left some questions unanswered that requires they read the book, or peaked their interest by giving them a little bit of your inspiration, they need to finish reading and want more. This is where quality over quantity comes into play.
Yes, it is important to get a lot of content out and in the hands or screens of readers, but content that is rushed, poorly written, or off topic can make people check out just as easily as good content can help sell your book. Make sure you are producing strong content that matches the quality of your book and shows off your skills.
Magazines and blogs are always looking for material and are usually happy to publish quality content. Reaching out and making connections is the best way to use their readership to build your own. The best way of getting your name and book on the radar is by getting your content out to the public—and with as many diverse mediums as there are nowadays, you are sure to find one that is right for you.