Authors, Are You Ready – Media Ready?

November 30, 2011 | By | 67 Replies More

Authors, are you ready –  Media Ready?

Are you ready to answer questions?

From fellow writers. Friends. Bloggers. Book reviewers. Radio interviewers. TV hosts.

Questions like:

‘Who are you?’

‘What’s your book about?’

‘Why should I fork out twenty bucks to read your work?’

Author and Producer Alison Hill

These are tough yet realistic questions every author must answer, and answer well, if they want to succeed, especially if new and unknown.

It’s not enough just to write a book and automatically expect a publisher to market it and for copies to fly off shelves. Those days are over.

Now, whether traditionally or self published, an author will inevitably shoulder the bulk of publicity efforts.

If you can afford a publicist that’s great, but even then it’s up to you, the writer, to lay your own groundwork.

As an author you must also be able to shine in an interview. This is no time to be bashful or modest. You have to sell yourself, and at the same time connect with your audience.

In addition, if not already famous, your goal is to make a name for yourself.

The way to attract more readers is to gain as much exposure as possible.

To do this every author needs media attention, through television and radio interviews; print and online articles, features and book reviews. There are also countless other ways to become well known, especially through the internet. All avenues should be explored.

And to get attention you must be prepared.

Preparation is key to success. Even before typing ‘The End’ you should be planning your marketing strategy, and already promoting yourself as a professional writer, and/or as an expert in your particular area, field or genre.

Building a platform, in the real and virtual world, is a priority in this tough market. This way, by the time it’s published, readers and media professionals can easily locate information about your book, as well as you, the author. Fans love to learn about an author and their background. This is a great opportunity to gain followers and communicate and interact with them.

Another element of preparation is knowing what to say and how to say it. With so many distractions in daily life, you have to convince potential readers your book is not only worthy of attention, but essential reading. What’s unique about your book? What message or story do you have that could influence others? Identify your expertise, special message, groundbreaking story or information, then flaunt it. Be assertive without appearing boastful and conceited. Love and embrace your own work and this enthusiasm will infect others.

You must also know your book well. Yes, it does sound redundant, but believe me, ‘what’s your book about?’ is one of the toughest questions an author will encounter. It can stump even the most seasoned professional.

You must learn how to easily summarize your book in spoken and written form. Think elevator pitch, think movie trailer. Draw people in, make them take notice.

Media Ready, Media Savvy by Alison Hill

Then you’ll be a media darling.

Good luck out there!


We’ve chosen 5 writers from this list, using folded slips of paper in a bowl, and they will be getting their copy in the mail in early January 2012. 

These are just a few marketing guidelines for writers. For more detailed information and media readiness training, check out the new workbook for authors: Media Ready, Media Savvy.

See Alison’s 10 Publishing Tips on Listosaur.

Keep up with Writer/Producer Alison Hill on Alison Hill Author’s Facebook Author Page.  Visit her book website. 

Media Ready, Media Savvy is a ClearSight Multimedia book, an imprint of Anora McGaha’s ClearSight Creative Resources, who also owns Women Writers, Women Books, this online magazine for women writers. (Updated 6/5/2012)

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Category: British Women Writers, Contemporary Women Writers, Growing Your Platform, Marketing Your Book, Multinational Women Writers, US American Women Writers

Comments (67)

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  1. Great article. Even when I think I am prepared I know there is much more I need to learn. Just saying buy my book is not enough. Working with peers helps make it fun.
    I see authors in the big six working /promoting. Any author wants a RT just whistle.
    My new release:

  2. Jill Lawton says:

    I self-published a book several years ago but even though it was written for and marketed to a small conference circuit I was devastated by the low sales – to think that all those trees had died to feed mice and cockroaches in a dingy storeroom!!!Not to mention the waste of my artistic talents:)Now I am cheerfully but cautiously probing the world of blogging and tweeting before I give the next book a go – and so yes, I would love a copy of yours. I don’t actually have a website – just a blog address (but I think I know the difference – is that progress?)

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Jill,

      Not to worry about the past, think of what you can do now. And it sounds like you’re doing the right things, blogging and tweeting help build your platform as a writer and you have the opportunity of communicating with your audience. I wish you the very best of luck.

  3. These comments reflect concerns that so many of us have about ‘surviving’ in the digital age. I love the writing bit and try to be disciplined but really need to be more media savvy. I find this aspect more daunting than personal appearances and your book sounds just the ticket!

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Sandra,

      There’s no need to find it daunting, although I completely understand – most writers feel the same way. Being prepared is the key factor here, knowing your work and yourself as a writer, then being able to articulate this to others clearly and concisely. Good luck!

  4. Hi there

    I tweeted this a couple of times yesterday or the other day and didn’t enter as I don’t (yet) have a book to market. What I do have though is a whole bundle of ideas and a plan, so I figured I’d come back and give it a shot. Any help at marketing or publicising myself is likely to be useful, and if you could throw in some info on how to multiply the number of hours in the day to fit in everything, that would be fantastic…

    • Alison Hill says:

      Thanks for the comment, and yes, I would offer tips on how to multiply the hours in a day, but I haven’t quite got that formula down yet, will let you know! Even if you haven’t got a finished manuscript, it’s always good to get a head start on publicizing yourself. Write a blog, articles, go speak at some events. Then when you do have a book, you already have a following, however small, to build upon. Good luck!

  5. I thought I did express my interest in the free book via Women Writers? I think it’s a great idea.

  6. Alison, this is fantastic information to know. Thank you so much. You’ve answered a lot of questions I had about the steps I’m about to take. Now I want to know more. I’ve just spent lots of time creating my website that will go live soon. It was difficult knowing what to include and what not to include etc. I would love a copy of this book. Alas, my website is still being born. 🙂 Good luck with all your future projects.

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Vacen, thank you for your comment and kind words. Sounds like you’re embarking on a marketing adventure, and starting with an online presence, which is great. I wish you every success.

  7. Sounds like very useful information and I would love a copy of the book. Last year I self-published a book I had written with a friend of mine. We were excited because we had a lot of fun writing it and people reading it were enjoying it and it looked like we could make the sales we wanted and continue to write more within the series.

    We were very unfocused and unprepared on the marketing end. And naive. We did a few things here and there but it fell apart because there was no clear vision behind it. It still is a fun book and I may resurrect it at some point.

    Right now I am finishing up a novel and know I have to face the marketing portion of it soon. I love that someone is covering this information.


    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Sheila,

      Congratulations on your book, and yes, you certainly should resurrect it. Start building a platform now, and work on your online presence, it will pay off later. This book will help you because it’s simple and fun to use, taking the edge of a process that most creative folk find daunting. I wish you the very best of luck.

  8. Stephanie says:

    I’m beginning to discover exactly how frustrating the journey marketing your book can be. I’ve been traditionally published in the past but have gone the indie route now. I tweet, blog and write reviews and articles but I know it’s all rather erratic and unfocussed. I’m sure a book like Alison’s would teach me where to start and how to sell myself and my books.

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for your comment. It needn’t be a frustrating process at all, just take a deep breath and start from the beginning – which is getting to know your book and who you are as an author. This workbook takes you through several layers of media readiness, from writing synopses and bios, to marketing, pitching ideas and communicating with media professionals. The process can be an enjoyable one. Good luck with your books, and congratulations on being traditionally published.

  9. Gill Wyatt says:

    This book looks really helpful The subject never crossed my mind until I attended the Cheltenham Literature Festival and listened to the authors talking about their books. Pre-arranged questions were one thing, but these writers were fielding questions from the floor and it struck me that, in their position, I would flounder. Even when people ask me ‘What is your book about?’ I babble a bit, so I would love a copy of your book, Alison. My website is:

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Gill,

      So you’ve encountered the world’s toughest question for an author, ‘what’s your book about?’ After completing this workbook answering this, and other questions, such as ‘who are you?’ will be a breeze. Good luck.

  10. Very timely indeed. I recently finished my book and hope to have it out to publishers soon. I would be interested in receiving a copy of the book 🙂 RT’ed your tweet too.

  11. Dara says:

    I’m still working on my novel, but have entered a number of writing competitions. Recently at the awards gala for one, a publisher asked me what my novel was about. And I realised that I don’t really have an elevator pitch. I have a conversational, give-me-ten-minutes description, but not something quick and memorable. What a lost opportunity!
    I’d love a copy of the book. I’m sure I could learn a lot from it.

    • Dara – Your experience is exactly why Alison wrote Media Ready, Media Savvy, The Workbook for Authors. (And the reason I wanted to publish it.)

      What’s your twitter handle? And if you have a website link, would you submit it in a reply? – Anora

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Dara,
      Not to worry, it’s all a part of the learning process. Now you’ll be prepared for any situation. What’s good about the workbook is that it’s a hands-on guide, so when you’ve completed it, you’ll have your one-liner and all the other messages you need, as well as marketing strategies, pitching ideas, and advice on communicating with the press. You’ll know what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to! Being prepared is key. I wish you all the best.

  12. I actually love the marketing aspect and only wish I had more time to do so for my book, “Save the Teens: Preventing suicide, depression and addiction.” As I speak on these topics, I find I spend more time trying to get speaking gigs so I can carry on my mission of suicide prevention for teens. Happily, it all meshes together and I continue to build my platform.

    I probably could learn a thing or two from your book as no one knows everything, I’ve learned!

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      Good for you, being out there in the public talking about your book and expertise/subject matter is a large part of platform building. I’m sure you have an active online presence as well to expand your reach. Sounds like you’re doing some important and admirable work.
      Good luck.

  13. As @Sree says, by the time the plane lands in the Hudson, it’s too late to learn Twitter. I think writers need to get their social media plan off the ground long before book hits print. I’d love a copy of your book! (However, that site doesn’t have anything to do with my fiction, just my blogging and book reviews.)

    • Thanks for commenting Linda. Love the expression by @Sree.

      Alison’s book is a media readiness workbook – specifically on developing your message. What to say, how to say it and who to say it to. Very valuable – most of us writers do not know this and will be grateful for the step by step guidance and exercises. (I’m grateful for them.) And you’re definitely within the 1st 25 to comment!

      For the Social Media part – social media plans and programs are 1/3 of the content covered in my recent, and first book, Social Media for Business (co-authored with a friend, colleague and co-worker Martin Brossman). It’s 2.99 for December on Kindle. Read about it here.

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for commenting. You’re absolutely right, writers do need to get their plan off the ground long before publishing. It can be a fun and smooth process once you’ve got all your material and messages in order.

  14. Hello,
    Yes, for us authors who invest so much of our heart and soul–and time– to finally finish our stories, we come to learn the battle is just beginning once we publish our work. No one besides other writers understand what an accomplishment it is to finally put our words to paper (and e-book). But if we can’t sell the books, then they become keepsakes?

    I’ve done all the publicity myself and it’s been an uphill battle. I have performed well, yet, for me, the hardest thing to sell is what is closest to my heart. So, this book would be helpful to me.


    Donna-Author of MommyBest: 13 Inspirational Lessons Derek & Dylan’s Mom (and maybe yours) Never Learned in School

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Donna,
      Yes, I understand what you’re saying, since I’ve written several novels myself. We pour our hearts out on the written page, sometimes over the course of several years. Maybe you need to take a step back, and try and see your book and yourself as an author, from the outside. Then when you have created some distance you can be more objective and once-removed emotionally from your work. Realize that when it’s finished, it’s now a product on the market, and you can use any aspect of your work and background to promote it. The workbook starts with the basics, creating your messages, including bios and the all important one-liner. Once you have these knocked out, you can utilize them in your marketing efforts. What’s good about Media Ready, Media Savvy, is that when you’ve completed it, you’ll have all the materials you need ready to go, as well as a marketing strategy.
      Love your work, love yourself as a writer, and try and enjoy the process.
      I wish you all the best.

  15. An interesting article with lots of questions I hadn’t even thought to ask myself! I was at a writers conference in the UK in October and every person I spoke to reiterated the importance of having an ‘online presence’ as part of the marketing process but as someone who’s new to the process it’s quite daunting so a guide would be fantastic 🙂

    • Geri,

      For preparing your message to talk to the media, what to say, how to say it and who to say it to, Alison Hill’s Media Ready, Media Savvy is a gem. And you will be in the drawing for a free copy.

      For the online presence part, I can recommend, because I co-authored it, Social Media for Business. (Writing is a business whether or not we’re aware of it.) It’s very readable, broken into mini chapters on specific topics so you can find what you’re looking for. My book is $2.99 through Kindle now.

      – Anora McGaha

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Geraldine,

      Thank you for your comment. I know my workbook will help you, as it simplifies the process, taking you in steps through different layers of media readiness. An online presence is essential but I also strongly encourage in-person events, like speaking engagements. Good luck with your work.

  16. Ali Bacon says:

    Hi Alison
    Some very timely advice, I’m sure. It’s one thing to write a novel, quite another to sell it convincingly. If I expect to give a pitch I do a practice run with writer friends prompt cards – definitely helpful. With my new book I’m already ‘platform-building’ but finding it’s hard to find time for that and writing too!
    Ali B

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Ali,

      It’s good that you’re already building a platform, it will pay off. Readers need to be able to find you and as an author, it’s a great opportunity for you to connect with them. Good luck with your novel.

  17. I’d love a copy. My first poetry chapbook was just released and I feel frozen by what steps to take next beyond email and Twitter posts to family and friends. This would be a great resource for those next stages (and hopefully, the next book!).

    • Alison Hill says:

      Thanks for your comment. This workbook is a practical, hands on guide, that will take you through the whole process, from creating synopses and pithy bios, to developing a pitch and marketing. So it covers a lot and you’ll be prepared to face the press! Remember to always try and enjoy the process!

  18. Having just completed 95k words of my first novel, I’m quickly discovering that, contrary to my initial thoughts, the hard work is far from over… And that’s where this book can come in! I own many, many ‘How To’ books but none tackle this subject so directly and succinctly. Thanks in advance Alison, its definitely one I’ll be getting for the shelf!

    • Alison Hill says:

      Thank you Margaret for your comment. Yes the hard work is far from over as you say with a completed manuscript. But it needn’t be a burden, marketing your book can be fun – you just need to be organized and prepared. Good luck with your endeavors and I hope my information will help you.

  19. Alison,
    In my experience, books sell WHEN YOU SELL THEM. That’s it. Stop promoting them, and your sales will go down. Authors so often hear that they need to create a platform, but they aren’t told how. For many of us who are almost more used to communicating through our keyboards rather than in person, media appearances are incredibly daunting.

    I remember you saying your inspiration for the book came from interviewing numerous authors with great books and project ideas who had no idea how to convey their messages. I have been looking forward to reading your book and getting advice from someone who has such solid media experience. Thanks for writing it, and best of luck with it. I’d love to have a copy!


    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Elaine,

      Thank you so much for the comments and kind words. It was a fun process, and since it draws from my journalism and producing experience, I learned a lot about myself while writing it. This prompted me to include an exercise in the book, where an author explores her own background and life, finding the unique gems, and translating these into marketable qualities. It’s very important for an author to know who they are as well as having a clear and precise message.

  20. Judith Haire says:

    Sorry I didn’t share my experience, I’ve written a memoir Don’t Mind Me and contributed to two other books on mental health and am now co editing a new mental health text book on suicide
    I’d love a copy of this book! Congratulations Alison

  21. Nettie says:

    What a great idea! Who can afford to hire their own publicist nowadays? One of my friends is a literary and art publicist in Boston and I know how expensive a ‘campaign’ can be. I’m not ready to market myself yet, but it would be good to be prepared!

    Nettie x

    • Anora McGaha says:


      Alison Hill wrote this book for her fellow writers – because we need it so much.

      I personally knew NOTHING about the perspective from the other side of the table, from the TV producer or host, from the radio show host, or from a journalist. I stumble when someone asks me about my books – and am dumbfounded when people say, “tell me about yourself.” I know many other writers just haven’t been taught or trained how to prepare their message. So this workbook does that … methodically, with spirit and encouragement, with pages to draft your answers and slowly build a powerful concise message to excite others. It’s a workbook for AUTHORS – but as you say here – it’s good to be prepared.

      Long comment, longer … personally, I feel I will be writing a clearer, stronger memoir after going through the workbook. – Anora, Editor WWWB

      PS – As her publisher, through my business ClearSight Creative Resources, I’m reviewing the proof. The book’s next to me while watching CNN. A host introduces an author to her show – and I jumped to – that’s one of the exercises in the book. Starting to notice what interviewers and authors do on shows. I pulled out the workbook, turned to that exercise, and scribbled away. #eyeopening

      • Nancy Wait says:

        This workbook sounds like an excellent tool!
        ‘Know Thyself’ – it doesn’t get better than that.

        And yet when we put ourselves ‘out there’ with our physical presence, either with voice only or with our physical bodies as well, it’s good to remember how important body language and tone of voice is, and how few words people actually remember. Others are drawn to us because we connect with them. If we can forget self, and just ‘be with’ the other – intuiting them and the situation, we take the focus off ourselves and our authentic self has a chance to come through. I guess what I’m trying to say is yes, the ability to articulate is important, but once you’re out there, just Be. And don’t give away your power to the ‘interrogators’ – because people might not remember what you’ve said, but they will remember the ‘feel’ of you…

        • Alison Hill says:

          Thank you Nancy, you’re absolutely right. When you truly love yourself as an author and love your work, this enthusiasm will shine through and affect the audience. But you have to know your work and how to describe it, so it comes naturally, requiring no pause or hesitation.

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Nettie,

      Thank you for commenting, and yes hiring a publicist can be expensive, especially for self published authors. But with careful planning and preparation, an author can not only manage, but excel at marketing themselves and their book.

  22. Judith Haire says:

    Congratulations Alison on this groundbreaking book…….looks fantastic. Clearly a very useful resource. A very interesting post, thank you
    I’d love a copy of this book!
    My website/blog is
    Twitter @JudithHaire

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Judith, thank you for your kind words. My publisher recognized the need for such a resource after a talk I gave on media readiness. It’s been fun putting it together.

  23. I´m pretty good at promoting others, but struggle with promoting my own work. I have a strong belief in sharing which often overrides the reality of making some pennies. I´d like a copy of this book to see if I can find some nuggets that will help me promote my own work but not be shouting too much about it. I want to follow my gut, and I want to be able to step back. Am I a reader for your book?

    • Alison Hill says:

      Hi Sylvia,

      Sounds like the book would be very useful for you. You can self-promote while at the same time being quietly confident. Getting to know your work, your self and your audience is key. This workbook will help you do these things and more, with exercises, information and tips. I wish you all the best in your efforts.

  24. Julie Day says:

    This is v useful, esp as I have just started an epublishing career. I have just self-published my first ebook, written another and started another. Will be busy writing them and promoting them next year so need to know more about this area, esp as I have Asperger’s. My website is:

  25. Jo Carroll says:

    How useful this is! And how I need a book like this – please!!

    The link to my blog:

    The website is still at the design stage (that’s an optimistic word for the mess it’s in – but it will have a proper shape eventually!

  26. Megan Cutter says:

    Thank you for an informative and thoughtful article Alison! We all have a story or a message that needs to be heard. Building a platform can ensure that others are receiving our story. In a time when media, marketing and technology are changing so fast, I’m so appreciative of media experts such as Alison who help others in the avenues to be heard!

  27. Jennifer Verdolin says:

    An excellent and informative piece. As a scientist and up and coming writer, this is an invaluable resource. Thank you!

  28. Excellent and well-written, Alison. It is perceptive and perception can only be made more penetrating by experience. As an Emmy-nominated producer and prolific writer, you have the mojo it takes to help other writers out!

    Keep up the good work!

  29. Dorothy Jones says:

    This is really excellent and will be of such a great boon to those of us with aspirations and manuscripts and not much knowledge of how to proceed.
    Very good.

    • Alison Hill says:

      Thank you for the kind words. Marketing a book is a long and often frustrating journey, but if we travel together, it makes the ride a lot easier and it can also be fun. Good luck with your endeavors.

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