Media tours are necessary for most people who rely on the media to help promote their product. Movie stars do press junkets for their movies, and musicians visit radio stations to promote their newest albums. The same is true of authors, though their media tours look a little bit different. Authors go on a series of book events in a variety of cities, and are lately this includes online tours through blogs. The key to any of these events is to maximize the coverage you get by going to media outlets like radio stations or by gaining coverage of your event in the media. For instance, before you show up in a town, make sure the local media is aware of it. Most papers cover local happenings. Give them a reason to cover, or at least mention, your event. Also, announce the event on your social networks, at the event location itself, and in other community event listings such as the websites and newsletters for local arts council, reading groups, libraries, or other venues. Be creative. If you are writing a cookbook, announce your event at local cooking schools, kitchen stores, and on local radio shows for foodies. If your book is on volunteerism, announce your event with local non-profits, the Kiwanis, and the Lion’s club. If your book is a war novel, announce the event with the local Veteran’s organizations. If you wrote a novel set in a small town, schedule an event in that town and ask the local news channels and radio stations to cover it. Book interviews with them or schedule a meet and greet with the town folks. Was it a historical novel? Get the town’s historical council to sponsor the event and publicize it on their site, in their newsletter, and on the community website. There are so many options. THEN… once the event is over… tell people that it happened. Post the event (and a recap of what made it so great) on your social networks, your website, your blog, etc. And send that recap and a thank you note to the local papers and organizations that helped you publicize the event initially. Now that you get the basics… let’s look at some common media tour events.
Book signings are the most traditional part of media tours. They usually include a reading and time for the book to be signed. The audience can be a few people or a few hundred. Bookstores of all sizes and genres like to host book signings. Think about it: if the store has your book on its shelves, it should welcome you to come and help sell copies. It’s a win-win situation because the store gets business and access to new customers, and you get known and make money. Be sure to leave a few signed copies of your book for the store to sell later. Also, remember that book stores are not the only place to have signings or other events. If you wrote a cookbook, host a signing at the local farmers market or cooking school. If your book is on a health related issue, book an event at a local wellness clinic.
Other book events can also be popular. For instance, you could schedule a meet and greet or a speech. Maybe you do some volunteer work with an organization that relates to your book somehow and publicize that event. For instance, did you write a book on carpentry? Help the local Habitat for Humanity chapter and get some media coverage about your involvement. It’s good for the organization and for you. Remember that cookbook you wrote? Host a cooking event with a local restaurant. Did you write a young adult novel about a fairy princess? Host a princess party at a local bakery, with tea and cookies.
A blog tour is going to look very different from a traditional tour, because you won’t interact with people. Instead you’ll be touring on the Internet. At your own computer, you can be interviewed by bloggers, who then will likely post those conversations on their blogs. This might be a Skype interview (where you are visible on a web camera or just available for an online phone conversation) or it could be a written interview where you reply to email questions that are later shared with the blogger’s readers. Conversely, you can write guest posts for blogs or websites, and those moderators might let you include a blurb about yourself. Find out if it’s OK to add a link to the page where people can buy your book.
Internet radio shows and podcast series are another way to spice up your media tour. Look for shows or podcasts that are produced by or directed towards your target audience. If the podcast is about books, ask if you can be interviewed. Or if you are particularly knowledgeable about a topic that they discuss, find out how to be a guest, and see if you can plug your book during the program.
No matter the event type or location, make sure people are aware of it. That’s the whole point of a media tour… to go to the media and notify the media when you go elsewhere. Get as much coverage as you can. And remember… mainstream media isn’t the only option. Look for community organizations, groups and clubs, schools, and businesses related to writing, publishing, the arts, or the topic, setting, and characters of your book. The options are endless. Now… go get some media coverage for your awesome book!
NOTE: if you love these ideas but want to know more about traditional media tours or get other great venue and event ideas, check out another article, “Media Tour: What is a traditional media tour exactly?”, “How do you organize a traditional media blitz in your hometown?”, and “Media Tour: What is a traditional media tour exactly?” here on the Author Learning Center.
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