News room: Get your book in the press without sending press releases

Get your book in the press without sending press releases by Anna Lewis

As an author, (or indeed anyone with something to sell) you’re often wondering how you can get into the papers or magazines to promote your book. Book marketing is something that should not be overlooked by self-publishing authors. There are of course, lots of avenues of connecting with readers (through social networks, reading forums or tools such as Twitter) but sometimes the traditional route can still be very useful.
Here are a couple of great ways to give journalists what they want, and get your book in the press.

As many people who work in PR will tell you, when it comes to traditional media channels, contacts are hugely important… and they take a long time to build up. Sending out press releases is the usual starting point but can often be a pretty thankless task unless you are already a huge company or brand that people are on the look out for. Plus, you will have to make lots of calls, which can also be very daunting.

So, for the non-PR professionals amongst us, there are two avenues that are definitely worth checking out. They don’t cost anything and you don’t need to spend hours on the phone following up journalists. You just need to be a bit creative in how you sell your book.

Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

This is a service where you can register as a ‘Source’ i.e. someone who wants to help out reporters with their stories. You will receive an email everyday with the requests that have been submitted by reporters – they are generally quite specific, and you can also see what publication they write for. If you think you fit the bill, you can submit a pitch.

#journorequest on Twitter


If you search for the hashtag ‘#journorequest’ on Twitter, you’ll see a bunch of reporters asking for help too. They are often really last minute (desperate) pleas for someone to be a source for a story they are writing. You need to be quick off the mark, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for anything that sounds like something you could respond to. From what I’ve seen so far, they tend to be slightly more skewed towards requests for women, but there is a wide variety.

In both of these platforms, it’s unlikely that someone will be specifically looking for a story about a new book, but the idea of using these kind of services is to raise your profile as a writer, and get your name out there. There are often requests from magazines for sources such as ‘women who have undergone a major career change’ or ‘consultants on ’x’‘. If your background fits, then there may be a way for you to subtly plug your book in the process.
If you don’t fit the bill and it all sounds way too tenuous, then don’t bother… you’re unlikely to succeed, but it could be a great opportunity to get some seriously mainstream coverage.

If you have any tips to share, let us know…we’d love to hear them!

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Written by
Anna Lewis
Published on
Promotion, twitter