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Lights! Camera! Action! Promote or Die (sorta-kinda-in-a-way)


Increase your audience! It'll be a feather in your writerly cap...

Today’s Tuesday Tips blog launches the next series and I’m talking about (GASP!) media training for authors. Heck, ANY writer (any NONPROFIT!)  benefits from learning the basics because let’s face it, your publisher ain’t gonna do this for you.

Okay, I’ll take that back. If you’re the sparkle-tacular Sandra Brown (she’s a Texan, ya know! just “met” her on Twitter, FAN GIRL MOMENT!) or the furry-fantastic James Rollins you’ll get folks rolling out the red carpet-diem for quotes and promo ops. The rest of us schlubs need quite a bit of hand-waving creativity to get a notice about current projects, books and causes.

I gave this talk last year at the Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference, and thought I’d share the high points with readers. Just so’s ya know, I’ve used all of these tips and appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows, been quoted as an expert in (mumble-mumble) LOTS of print and online media, and made numerous public appearances. So I know a wee bit about the process, what works and what might be better relegated to the “who cares, don’t waste your time” circular file.


Maurice, do-ing his doody Dragon.

By the way, you CAN hire this done if you’ve got deep pockets and plan to win the lottery to fund such things. But if you’re able to fund hiring it done–I hate you and will send Maurice to do dragon do-do on your inbox. Or something.

Most writers ain’t got the funds and need to do media on the cheap. Ahem.


Most folks think of “media” as television and radio. Today there are hybrids and new, better, more creative ways to use technology to communicate. Ten years ago, who ever thought I’d be shooting my own ASK AMY online series? Or have a PET PEEVES radio show via the Internet that never-ever-goes-away (can you say perPETual promo?).


When you’re a writer, author, volunteer for a cause, or other fill-in-the-blank, there are three major benefits of using media. You are, after all, looking for an audience. Well, some of us want more than Mom and Weird Cousin Al to appreciate our creative efforts. There’s nothing wrong with writing for yourself and keeping a personal diary (when you die who cares if the whole family is embarrassed when it’s discovered and pub’d, right?). My own work seeks to empower readers to help their cats and dogs–and since cats and dogs have trouble reading (there’s that whole glasses thing gets in the way), part of my job as an author is to entice pet parents aka “readers” to pick up the dang book and read. I suspect most of y’all out there share that desire.  So the top reason you should care is media savvy allows you to reach a wider audience.

Travis needs home

Be creative--get the word out! Can you say "photo op?"

How many of y’all have made a TV or radio appearance after which your family and friends look at you in a different way? (Dang, shouldn’t have worn polka dots…) Wait, no, I mean your appearance on media–and making a GOOD impression (more about that later) increases your credibility and raises your status. Don’t argue with me, it does. Just having been published gives you an air of coolness but getting MEDIA ATTENTION means that the high-and-mighty MEDIA GAWDS recognize you and that (drum roll….) establishes you as an EXPERT.


YELL about it--sorta-kinda-in-a-way...

Why do you want to be considered an expert? Because it gets you MORE media attention, which gets your name out there, which sells your book/cause/personal brand (more about BRAND later). See how the circle-of-life makes wondrous things happen? That’s the third major benefit. Media helps build buzz for book sales/appearances.

So have you leaped from behind the safe anonymity of your writerly desk into the shark-icty of the media circus? How’d that work for you? Are you a new or aspiring author? A writer interested in expanding your blogging readership? A volunteer looking for ways to help your pet cause? What are some ways you’ve used media to work for you? Or (rubbing hands together with glee…) any HORROR STORIES you’d care to share? Don’t worry, I’ll share some of mine, too. We are coming up onto Halloween, of course!

Stay tuned and next Tuesday I’ll post the next part of this series, including what’s available today and how you might use it.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

13 responses »

  1. Fantastic post Amy. We could all stand as much media training as possible. I do a fair amount in my day job but it’s never something I am 100% comfortable with. It takes practice and practice….
    I like how you talk about opening up your ideas about what media is – it’s so much more than TV, radio and newsprint these days and if you aren’t aware of all the channels, you are missing out.
    Looking forward to your next posts on the topic!

  2. OK, what Natalie said, plus this series just sounds freaking awesome. I loved the last self-publish series too.

    Soooo…Amy BlogSeries=WOW!

  3. Thanks folks (blush)–and Sandra Brown “re-tweeted” to her followers, too, neato!

  4. Amy, I’m so glad you’re doing this. Media training is a must in this day and age. It’s especially important for shy types like me. Thankfully my husband is a filmmaker and coached me.

    • Layla, you’re a natural! And for me the “acting” comes into play. Luckily for those of us with a pet focus, you can be on camera with a cat/dog and all eyes are on the fur-kid. That really takes off some pressure, LOL! But then you’ve got to be a pet-wrangler, too.

  5. Thanks for this! Love your pix, BTW, and your helping the furry ones. I’d love to have a parakeet again but design issues have to be handled to protect them from the cats.

    Glad I am not the only one who uses kinda-sorta.

    I know several people who need this post!

    • Thanks for the kind words, Brenda! I used to have a Spectacle Amazon parrot that bossed my first German shepherd. But you’re right, you do need special arrangements for birdy safety issues.

      Please feel free to share a link to the post with those “several people.” *s*

  6. Catherine Johnson

    I should definitely browse your posts with my interesting and crazy puppy lol. I learned a lot about online media from an internet business I worked for a long time ago. The internet really hasn’t changed much since. A consistent effort in a few key areas can work wonders.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting, Catherine. Yes, Internet efforts can pay off but it goes beyond that of course. Hope you come back for the rest of the series–and will add some of your insight!

  7. Pingback: Tuesday Tips: Traditional Media & Brave New (Internet) World « Amy Shojai's Blog

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