It strikes me that I may have jumped the gun. I’ve told you all about the interview but I haven’t told you about getting the interview. The truth is, that you get an interview, indeed any media coverage, in just the same way you get anything else.
I learned this from a journalist/news editor friend of mine, who stood over me until I’d rung the ABC to tell them I was doing a school tour in Tasmania about my book Mae-be Roses. He insisted because he knew what I didn’t. He knew what a journalist looks for in a story. He knew that my book was about teen pregnancy which was very topical at that moment, so the journo in question could use my book as a springboard into a bigger issue/story. He knew that journalists LOVE being handed stories they can take to their editor rather than having their editor chew them out for not being productive enough. He explained to me that if you want some attention, you’ve got to be a bit bolshy. And so I was.
Jocelyn Nettlefold did a great story on teen mums. I was in the piece for approximately ten seconds but I didn’t care because the aim was to bring light to the subject. That’s precisely what Jocelyn did and I was very grateful.
So, if you want a some media attention for your book/art showing/whatever, this is what you do:
- Survey the local media and decide who you want to talk to. Generally they’re not hard to Google but Margaret Gee also produces a comprehensive media guide that lists newspapers, contacts and numbers.
- Know your niche. How does your story fit within a bigger issue? Be prepared to explain this carefully for the journo, who may not immediately see the story value in your offer.
- Start local. Small newspapers love a local story. Tell them you’re a local author who’s produced a book on a topical issue and the job is virtually done, better still if it involves local landmarks or personalities.
- Sell your expertise. Are you an expert in your field? If so, be sure the reporter knows. It’s always better to interview an expert than not.
- Offer something in return. Can you organise a competition or some such thing that could be linked to your book and offered within the article. Competitions never fail to gain readers, so think about it.
- Second to competitions come the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ lists of hints and tips. Things people can read for quick advice.
- Be brave! Your book is obviously good because it’s published. It’s a piece of work you should be proud of, so if you won’t speak for it, who will? Stand by your work and your passion will translate.
That’s it. That’s how I got the couple of interviews I’ve done. Try it. Let me know how it goes.