Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This just in: Print outlets apparently not the future of media

In light of the gasping, wheezing U.S. economy and the subsequent slow death march of many long-standing print media outlets, it’s more evident than ever that the internet has become the aspiring author’s best friend.

Yes, while that coveted New York Times print book review will surely look great in your portfolio (and your publicist’s), these days you’re more likely to reach a wider and more targeted audience by having a review featured on, or a Q&A posted on their popular blog Paper Cuts.

It’s a fact that more and more readers are moving online for their sole source of news and entertainment. Gone are the days of sitting around the breakfast table with the family, eating a balanced meal, and reading the newspaper. In 2009, folks are rushing out the door to work with a granola bar in their mouths and today’s headlines on their iPhones.

A journalism professor of mine put it very clearly. Speaking to a class of around 400 undergraduate students, he asked what type of media we had turned to for the news that day:

“Raise your hand if you read the newspaper this morning?”
A smattering of hands lifted around the room.

“Raise your hand if you watched a cable news network?”
A few hands more.

“And how many of you read the news online today?”
The majority of hands were raised—nearly everyone present.

And while the growing popularity of these online news sources may lead to increased competition for coverage in the future, the nature of the internet makes it a boundless resource for promotional opportunities, nevertheless.

Meaning, not only is it great for authors to garner those online book reviews, but also consider:

• Contributing helpful tip sheets and articles to writer’s interest web sites, and sites related to your expertise
• Offering to post as a guest blogger on literary blogs, or blogs related to your book’s subject
• Conducting an e-interview with a blogger for a featured Q&A on their site
• Starting and maintaining your own blog, and building your blog roll with other related sites
• Commenting on blogs that you find interesting, and building a network of online contacts

These are just a few ideas—if anyone has sure-fire, creative advice for internet publicity from personal experience, feel free to share in the comments!

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