Author PRSelf-published authors focus so much energy on getting book reviews that they often miss opportunities for wider press coverage from outlets like newspapers, weeklies, local cultural or art magazines, local TV news and news magazines, interview or lit-based programs on community, college, and online radio, podcasts, book blogs, and more.

It’s no secret that positive media attention can help you exponentially extend the reach of your book, so isn’t it time you pursued a few of these avenues?

But how do you go about contacting “the media?”

Actually, it’s simpler than you might think. There are five basic rules for handling your own PR:

1. Contact the correct person

Do a little research. Make sure you have the right name and email or mailing address for relevant producers, podcast or radio hosts, editors, etc. Nine times out of ten this information is readily available online.

2. Keep your pitch short and sweet

As they say in the world of pop music, “don’t bore us; get to the chorus!” Communicate in the first few sentences of your email (or phone call) who you are and why they might be interested in your book, your writing career, and the story BEHIND the story. If you’re delivering this pitch in person or over the phone, practice it until you’ve got it down.

If you’re communicating through email, follow up with a paragraph that contains supporting details, links to your website and supplementary information (online press release, hi-res author photo, bio, etc.), and then sign off.

3. Be polite, never pushy

If you rub someone the wrong way, they’re not going to help you. It’s common sense.

If they respond and say “no thank you,” stay calm and try not to take it personally. They may just have too much on their plate right now.

4. Follow up

If you don’t hear back from them after a week or so, go ahead and send another email asking if they’ve had a chance to check out your book, website, and press release. You know that old saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease!

5. Deliver

If someone writes you back with interview questions, a request for a review copy of your book, or wants you to appear on-air, be sure to respond to them ASAP and make it happen!

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For more information, check out PR basics for authors: how to create a digital press kit.

Have you handled your own PR? Did you get some good press for your book or writing career? Let us know about it in the comments below.

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Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 571 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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