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By Ben Cameron, Jan 4 2018 12:06PM

By Ben Cameron

Newspapers are one of the key sources of publicity for authors. However very few writers take the time to understand the types of content that make up a newspaper (either the printed or the online version). If you understand what kinds of stories make up a newspaper, you can see where your book might fit in and how to position it to optimise your opportunities. And, if you are working with a publicity company, a decent working knowledge of how papers work will help you to brief and communicate with them.

So, let’s take apart a newspaper and see what makes it tick! Get one and play along if you can - preferably a printed newspaper as it is easier to see everything at once. And the bigger the better, ideally something along the lines of The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post or the UK’s Sunday Times.

There are publicity possibilities that all newspapers, big national newspapers or small local ones have in common. Larger newspapers have more opportunities, sure, but there is also more competition for that space and a greater need to ensure that you are pitching the right ideas to the right people.

First, you will find throughout the paper that there are three main types of coverage – news, features and reviews:


News is all about the things that are happening now and news can be local, regional, national or international. The fact that you are publishing a book is not news. However it is possible to get a mention for a book or yourself as an expert/author in the news section of a newspaper if your book or personal expertise relates to a newsworthy topic.

Even something like the anniversary of an event that is related to your book can get you into a news story. For example, this year is the anniversary of the end of the first World War. If you have a book about the Great War and have done a great deal of research about it then you need to put yourself forward as an expert. You may find yourself quoted in the news.

Some larger papers also have a separate ‘news review’ section. The articles here are still news-related but can be longer and more subjective. If you are an ‘expert’ with an opinion you can possibly contribute articles or provide in-depth analysis and quotes for pieces in this area of the paper.


Features are articles about a person, place or topic that can contain more depth, emotion or humour than news articles. This includes interviews, personality profiles, topic-related pieces and even photographic features. Features can be ‘longform’, lasting several pages, or very short ‘sidebar’ formats that appear in every issue with a different person or topic each time.

Features are ideal for a book or an author with a backstory or a topic that readers will find interesting. While feature writers may cover many subject areas, sidebars are great for opportunities as you can easily see what the journalist is looking for before you contact them.


Turn to the book section of the paper and you will generally see two types of book review. The first are solo reviews where each review is about a single book, usually a major title by an already-known author or expert. These reviews are usually detailed, aimed at people who are already interested in the author or subject and can be quite long.

The other kind of review that you will often find are combined reviews - shorter reviews of 2-6 books about a similar subject or genre in a single article. These reviews have less impact in terms of sales but can sometimes get you that stand-out quote that can help you to sell you book and your future books for many years to come.

Sections of the newspaper

The three types of articles - news, reviews and features - permeate the entire paper, so each section of the paper can contain any or all of them. For example, in business you will most likely find news (the latest company events), features (profiles of people or businesses) and reviews (resources for business people, including business books). The same goes for travel, sports and other sections.

Be sure to have a look at each section of the newspaper and think about how your book may fit in. In a large newspaper you will more or less find the following topics:



Business (companies, management, careers and money/personal finance)

Culture (movies, art, books, television, music, theatre)


Fashion and Style

Home (cooking, gardening, interiors, buying and selling houses)

And often a magazine (Usually a couple of columns, some long feature articles and a few short features)

These topics are included in smaller local newspapers as well, even if they do not have their own special areas.

There are far more opportunities than you would expect in a newspaper. If you are creative, have a good understanding of what journalists and editors are after and make a great pitch (or hire us to do that for you) you may well get your book in places that you never thought that you would.

Comments or questions? You can contact us at, Twitter: @CameronPMtweets or Facebook:

By Ben Cameron, May 6 2016 11:56AM

The website is a review-generating book marketing tool that allows members to download, for free, electronic copies of books that are posted on the site with the expectation that the reader will then write a review. Essentially, NetGalley solves two considerable problems: Encouraging reviews by readers on Amazon, Goodreads and blogs and getting electronic books into the hands of professional reviewers in their preferred format. It can work for books on any subject but responses are much better for fiction books.

Readers do not pay to sign up to NetGalley, it is paid for by publishers, publicists and authors who wish to post books on the site. Most larger publishers subscribe to NetGalley and routinely make their new titles available.

NetGalley reviewers may review for the traditional media (newspapers, magazines or radio for example), their own blogs or may simply post reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. For the most part they are book enthusiasts - what I call “real people reviewers” - which can be as important in a way as professional critic reviews. The transaction is that NetGalley readers are allowed to read ebooks for free in exchange for an honest review. Reviewers can vary in quality and not every download results in a review. That said, the site does have many wonderful, thoughtful and influential reviewers who can make a real difference to your book’s prospects if it appeals to them.

How it Works

Once an ebook is uploaded to the NetGalley website, the book’s page on the site is populated with a description, format, categories, price and other information. The book can then be requested by members and those requests can be approved or denied by the account holder according to the suitability of the requesting reader. If approved, the reader is able to download the book to their ebook device. DRM protection is added to the ebook file so that it cannot be forwarded or copied. Once the reviewer has the ebook, they are encouraged to post reviews on the NetGalley site, Amazon, Goodreads and their own blogs.

Cameron Publicity and Marketing offers two NetGalley listing services that publishers can authors can take advantage of:

Standard NetGalley Listing

Your book will be uploaded and listed on NetGalley for 4 weeks. We will administer download requests for you and pass any reviews on to you.

Cost: £99 plus VAT

NetGalley PLUS

Your book will be uploaded and listed on NetGalley for 6 weeks. We will administer download requests for you and pass any reviews on to you. Toward the end of the NetGalley listing term we will personally contact all of the readers who have downloaded your book to encourage them to review the book. We will also urge reviewers to post their reviews on their blog, Amazon and/or Goodreads as well as NetGalley.

Cost: £199 plus VAT

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using NetGalley:

• Reviews are always honest, uninfluenced and can be good or bad. Your book needs to be well written, edited, formatted and have a strong cover – but in order for your book to succeed it really needs those things anyway.

• You will get the vast majority of requests to download your book in the first couple of weeks. Books generally do not need to be listed for over 6 weeks – though there are some exceptions.

• NetGalley is not a ‘pay for review service’ and your books’ availability on NetGalley does not affect its ability to be promoted vis Kindle Select services.

• For more information about reviews, see my post here

Good luck!

Comments or questions? You can contact us at, Twitter: @CameronPMtweets or Facebook:

By Cameron Publicity and Marketing, Mar 28 2015 02:00AM

Bloggers can be a powerful way to spread the word about your book but too few authors know how to find the most appropriate ones and how to approach them.

Not an afterthought

Most people consider media contacts in order of ‘importance’, with television being the golden ticket and blogs being something that you try once all other possibilities have been exhausted. However, for many books blogs can be a more efficient, achievable and targeted form of publicity than any other. The trick to getting great blog coverage lies in research and approach.

There are basically two kinds of blogs. Those that are an offshoot of another form of media, such as a newspaper, magazine or radio show, and those that stand alone, independent of any other media. Either way, they are written by a single individual or a small group and tend to have a very personal feel to them. Like humans they can be quirky, opinionated and prejudiced. You are off to a great start if you think if them as people – as wonderful and funny as your Aunt Bessie or as grumpy as your old Uncle Carl.

Pleased to Meet You!

So if blogs are people, you need to get to know them as people. What do they like? What annoys them? What do they respond positively to? Fortunately they don’t keep these things a secret - bloggers write about themselves every day and you just need to read what they say. Obvious, right? But far too many people take a shotgun approach and send out communications and books to a huge number of bloggers without knowing, or caring, who they are.

Like other media, blogs do not exist to reprint every press release that is sent to them. They can get annoyed when someone sends them a communication that shows no actual knowledge of or concern for what they write about. It can be seen as rude, and a blogger, like an angry person with a megaphone, has the power to shout back at you very loudly indeed. They can write a bad review or pick apart your carefully constructed press release or worse.

So read, target and be positive and personal in your approach. Tell them why you love them. Tell them that you care about what they care about. And mean it! There are enough blogs in the world that you can find plenty that should be interested in your book, whatever your book is about. Contacting blogs can be a time consuming activity so focus on quality rather than quantity.

Research, Research, Research

So how do you find the right blogs for you? Start with a Google search, and be as specific as possible to pinpoint the ones that are interested in your subject. You will also find directories, listings and newspaper and magazine guides to the best blogs. Often these guides (or even the blogs themselves) have statistics on how many people read them to help you know where to focus your energy.

Another great way to get to know bloggers is through social media. For bloggers, social media is not only a way of advertising themselves to get traffic to their blogs but also a way of discussing the issues that they write about with others. They are usually warm, welcoming and interesting - so talk to them! And be sure to take advantage of your author networks. The author community is amazingly helpful and open and if you ask around you will receive plenty of recommendations of good blogs who like to cover your sort of material.

The Fun Part

Now that you know who bloggers are, what they are interested in and where their prejudices lie - give them your pitch! Tell them about your book and why they should care. Tell them how it relates to something that they posted back in June. Tell them how the main character is based on a celebrity that they blogged about. Be personal and don’t forget to tell them about yourself while you are at it – now that you know them as individuals let them get to know you.

By Cameron Publicity and Marketing, Feb 25 2015 02:00AM

Booking now, the first ever Indie Author Fringe Festival will take place on Friday 17th April at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross, London. Coordinated by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), the IndieReCon Global Online Conference and London Book & Screen Week, it is looking like it will be the live self-publishing event of the year for both authors and readers - a great opportunity to learn, network and have fun!

The Indie Author Fringe Festival will feature talks, panel sessions, debates, performances and one-to-one professional advice.

The day-long event, sponsored by Ingram Spark, will feature top publishing commentators and author-publishers including Porter Anderson, Ben Galley, Steena Holmes, CJ Lyons, Toby Mundy, Joanna Penn, Orna Ross, Debbie Young and many more. The early half of the event is limited to ALLi members with doors open to all writers and readers at 4pm for an Indie Author Fair, ALLi Member Showcase and one-to-one advice on self-publishing.

Held at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross, the largest independent book store in London, the Fringe Fest will offer exciting ways for readers to meet indie authors and discover great reads. And, in line with ALLi’s mission to be a global organisation for authors everywhere, the event will be live streamed as part of IndieRecon (, so that other authors and readers worldwide can take part online.
Held at Foyles Bookshop, Charing Cross, the largest independent book store in London, the Fringe Fest will offer exciting ways for readers to meet indie authors and discover great reads. And, in line with ALLi’s mission to be a global organisation for authors everywhere, the event will be live streamed as part of IndieRecon (, so that other authors and readers worldwide can take part online.

Tickets for The Indie Author Fringe Festival cost £75 but are free to ALLi members and those with a ticket for The London Book Fair. Register at:

This special live-streamed event will be the culmination of this year's IndieReCon global online conference for authors, which takes place online from 15th to 17th April. The highly successful IndieReCon, now in its third year, aims to provide the best advice and education for independent-minded authors across the world: a mix of online educational seminars, workshops, discussions and masterclasses promoting quality and craft in all aspects of author publishing


By Cameron Publicity and Marketing, Feb 16 2015 01:00AM

Radio interviews are one of the best publicity opportunities for the self-published author. Radio shows are plentiful and they are often on the lookout for interesting people to talk to. But in order to take advantage your story must be pitched to the right producers in the right way, you need to know how to talk about your book effectively, and you must turn the interview into sales.

As with any book publicity, making radio work takes a great deal of time, salesmanship and knowledge. If you think that you may need assistance, just ask and we will tell you how we can help you to find your readers. Send us an email to or call us on 020 7917 9812.

Pitch Perfect

As with any publicity outreach, a little time spent on research will save a lot of time being wasted in the long run. Pitching your book to someone with an irrelevant media focus wastes both your time and theirs. And even if you do manage to get your book about retirement onto the local teenage dance music station, is anyone who is listening going to buy your book?

Start with your local radio stations, both BBC and commercial. Be sure to make the most of all of your “local connections” – if you live in Surry but grew up in Glasgow and went to school in Wales you may be a local author in all of those places.

National radio shows are more difficult, but the rewards can be fantastic. Again, aim for the shows that are most likely to connect with the content of your book or your background. Furthermore, when it comes to national radio shows it is usually not enough to just have an interesting new book. You will have a much better chance if you can make your pitch relevant to something currently happening in the news. And it helps if you have a known publicist to make the connection.

What’s Your Story?

So you have managed to get yourself onto a show. So how do you talk about your book?

It is important to keep in mind that radio listeners know nothing about you. They were innocently tuning in to their favourite programme when suddenly you appeared and started talking to them. While the presenter will introduce you, you need to be sure that you start the interview by easing into your story. Don’t go into a long in-depth description of your plot or topic. Keep it simple to start with and allow the interviewer ask questions that dig deeper. The presenter is the link between you and the audience and a good presenter will ask the questions that the audience will want to know answers to.

Most radio interviews are relaxed conversations between the presenter and the author – friendly, casual and chatty. Once you get started you can relax and go where the conversation leads. But if your book has a controversial element to it you need to be ready to defend your position. Even if things get tense always try to keep the atmosphere friendly and do not take difficult questions personally. If you are well prepared you will do fine.

Before your interview work hard on what you are going to say. Boil your book down to a very succinct headline – an elevator pitch that you can say in less than 10 seconds – and a more detailed but still basic summary – about 20-30 seconds. Write them down and practice your lines out loud until the words come naturally. It also helps to practice with someone who knows as little about your book as possible. Let them ask questions so that you can learn what further information may be needed. A little homework before the interview will go a long way to making your interview more successful.

Turning Publicity into Sales

Obviously in an interview you need to make sure that your book title is mentioned. In most interviews the presenter will say the title both at the beginning and end of your interview and as long as they have done this you do not need to force your sales pitch into the conversation. But if it looks like that is not happening, by hook or by crook you need to get it in there – that is, after all what you are there for.

Make the most of social media’s ability to increase your audience. Before your interview post that it is coming up so that your followers can tune in. After the interview post a link to the interview if it is available online (on BBC iPlayer for example) so that those that missed it can still have a chance to listen. Always mention your book title in these posts and if possible include the handle for the show, presenter or station. If they know that you have posted they will often repost to their followers as well.

If your interview goes really well you may be called in for your next book as well – or as an expert to talk about your specialist subject when it is in the news. I have worked with several authors who has gone on to have regular radio guest slots as a result of just one really good interview.

As with any book publicity, making it work takes a great deal of time, salesmanship and knowledge. If you think that you may need assistance, just ask and we will tell you how we can help you to find your readers. Send us an email to or call us on 020 7917 9812.

Blog Archive

  • Looking for Publicity for a Young Adult Novel? Whatever You Do, Don't Target Teenagers



  • 10 Top Tips For Creating The Best Book Blurb



  • 7 Steps to a Great Radio or Podcast Interview



  • How to Approach Blogs for Book Reviews or Coverage - Make It Personal!



  • We Are All Book Reviewers Now!



  • Targeting Television to Promote Your Book



  • Crowdfunding: It's Not Just About The Money



  • Book Publicity and Marketing: Making the Most of Radio Interviews



  • Know Your Rights! - Tips for Making the Most of Book Sales Opportunities



  • Book Publicity: Five Top Tips for Success for Independent Publishers


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