Platform Building & Media Relations for Indie Authors

Chris Well recently joined me on a Conversations with Frances broadcast. Hear what he had to say about media relations and platform building for indie authors.


Chris started young in the media; by college he was writing for national magazines. Later, he worked in radio and worked as an editor with a magazine. Over the years, he has accumulated 25 years in the media working with a number of brands. This is what he had to say:

The right email to the right reporter will get you coverage. That said, any author can find media coverage.

How could a romance author get publicity?  Your pitch wouldn’t be that you’re a romance author. You would pitch a nonfiction topic and look for the right decision maker. Who you talk to will change from place to place. Maybe the decision maker would be a beat reporter or a local columnist. When in doubt, ask the front desk.

Press releases aren’t helpful that often. Press releases can be a part of a larger package, such as your press kit, etc. But a press release isn’t part of your pitch.

The way that he describes an author’s platform is in four parts: (1) your central hub is your home base (website); (2) your authority content is content you create (blog, videos, books, etc.); (3) community outreach; (4) publicity is taking the best step and contacting a person who has an audience and built equity with their/his/her audience (the “Oprah effect”).

Publicity introduces you to a new audience to build your platform.

When people dismiss the idea of media coverage they are thinking too narrowly, such as The Today Show. Don’t put all your energy into the big media. You’re way more likely to get in front of the right people when you “go local.”

Chris has been interviewed on radio, TV, for webinars, and on podcasts. On his website, you can see a list of where he’s spoken. Every media opportunity leads to more so don’t disregard an opportunity because you think it’s “too small.” You never know who will be in the audience who might further your reach to another audience.

Media kits make it easier for people to learn what they need to know about you. If the media is thinking of interviewing you, they need this information to determine how good you’ll be or to determine if they should proceed and interview you. You need information about yourself as an author, a picture of yourself with space around your head so that it can be cropped, and a picture of your book cover (flat cover, not 3D or one with a halo effect). This way the reporter can simply go to your website to get what they need. Don’t include information about your pets or from where you graduated.

It helps to have a press area on your website. Who you are, key points, suggested interview areas, bio, pictures, and where you’ve appeared in the media before.

Don’t focus on yourself or your book when looking for media coverage. Publishing a book isn’t usually newsworthy. Instead, pitch a topic that’s of interest to the media’s audience. For example, a celebrity who’s appearing in a new movie won’t be interviewed about the movie but on another topic that’s intriguing.

Chris said so much more on this topic and he explained related issues so well. Be sure to watch the entire video of the webinar.

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

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