In the August 2003 issue of the PMA Newsletter, Steve O’Keefe wrote a good
article about “How to Build Your Own Media List of E-mail Addresses.” He
mentioned Bacon’s MediaSource, but didn’t go into depth about this service.
Bacon’s MediaSource is a website (http://www.bacons.com) that lists more than a half-million media contacts. They make updates and corrections every day. Using Bacon’s MediaSource won’t guarantee that your books will be reviewed or that your press releases will be published, but at least you’ll always be talking to the right people, without wasting time.
Now for the bad news–along with some good news. The bad news is that Bacon’s MediaSource costs $2,395 per year. The good news is they’ve offered PMA members a lower rate.
Bacon’s MediaSource provides contacts for:
- Daily and weekly newspapers
- News services and syndicates
- Television, radio, and cable stations/networks
- TV/radio production companies and shows
- Internet media
- Analysts and research firms
What you get for each contact is:
- Beat (subjects the person covers)
- Phone number
- Fax number
- Pitching tips
- Best times to contact
- Preferred method of contact (phone, e-mail, fax, or mail)
Let’s walk through a search. Your book I Married a Satanist will be
published in three months. Your press releases and review copies have to go
out now. Let’s start with magazines. You can select magazines by:
- Area (for regional magazines)
- Category (subject matter)
and a variety of other parameters. We’ll select “Category.” Now you’re given
90 categories, each with about a half-dozen subcategories. Let’s look at “Alternative Health & Spirituality.” This yields a list of 48 magazines. Looking through the titles, you click on Psychic Reader magazine. A new window opens and you see that this magazine is “Written for spiritual enthusiasts in the San Francisco, Sacramento, and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Focuses on metaphysical news and current events. Provides exclusive interviews with authors and spiritual leaders, and articles on health issues, male/female communication, astrology, and spiritual healing.”
That sounds like a good fit for your book. Looking at the “Publicity Materials Used” field, you see that they publish book reviews. Just to be triple sure you click on their website URL and look it over. It looks good, so you click on the contact list, and see four names:
- Managing Editor: Susan Hull Bostwick
- Advertising Sales Manager: Christina Frey
- Art Director: Hillary King
- Editor: Kirstin Miller
Kirstin Miller looks like the best contact, so you click on her name. You then
get her address, telephone, fax, and e-mail. Two minutes’ work and you’re
ready to pitch.
Do I recommend Bacon’s MediaSource to every publisher? No; if you’re a
publicity newbie, Bacon’s MediaSource could help you do stupid things on a
grand scale. For example, I easily compiled a bulk mail list of 700 publications
that might review one of my titles. So I sent the mailing list to the fulfillment house and told them to mail out 700 books. I got almost no reviews! After calling some of the book reviewers, I found that I’d done some stuff that reflected–to use President Bush’s favorite phrase, an “intelligence failure.” I could’ve learned the same lessons, gotten the same number of reviews, and saved a couple of thousand dollars by screwing up a mailing of a dozen books. But if you’re a publicity pro or hope to become one, Bacon’s MediaSource is a tool you need.
Thomas David Kehoe is author and publisher of “Hearts and Minds: How Our
Brains Are Hardwired for Relationships” and “No Miracle Cures: A
Multifactoral Guide to Stuttering Therapy.”