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Using Topics in the News to Get Your Important Messages Out

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by Julia Schopick, Author and Book Promotion Consultant —

Julie Schopick

Are you searching for new avenues to promote your book? Using “hot topics” in the news is an excellent strategy.

In my previous columns for IBPA, I’ve covered various avenues for getting your book’s important messages out to the public by taking advantage of several media opportunities, including radio, national weeks and months, blog comments, questions and answers in your media packet, and Facebook.

In this column, I’ll tell you how to use “hot topics” in the news to educate your potential readers.

To that end, I will share a campaign I created that sprang from one such hot topic news story. I hope my column will help you do the same.

As most of you know, in July 2017, Senator John McCain was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (GBM), a cancerous brain tumor so deadly it is called “the Terminator.” This news brought me back to the time (1990–2005) when my husband was a patient with a brain tumor one grade below Senator McCain’s. This is the experience that led me to write my book, Honest Medicine.

In reading about John McCain, I was struck by the fact that he was reportedly being offered the very same treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona that my husband had been offered 27 years ago in Chicago: the standard of care—surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Nothing more. This has been the standard of care for over 30 years. The median survival time for patients using it is dismal: according to the American Brain Tumor Association, 14.6 months.

But throughout my husband’s illness, and also while writing and publicizing my book, I learned about some promising treatments that had been giving many brain tumor patients added years. Some of these patients have lived over 20 years, when their doctors told them they had only months to live. When my husband was diagnosed, we consulted a nutritionist whose advice, we believed, extended his predicted survival time from a maximum of three years to 15. And since our experience years ago, I learned about several other treatments that had extended the lives of brain tumor patients—including several with GBMs—well beyond the 15 years my husband experienced.

How was I going to get this important message out to the public—and especially to brain tumor patients and their families? Since this topic was in the news because of John McCain’s diagnosis, the time was now!

I decided to launch a media campaign. I hope that by describing what I did in this column, you’ll be able to follow my lead to use the media when an appropriate event occurs in the news that you feel both qualified and passionate enough about to discuss publicly.

I used the two avenues that have proven the most productive for me in getting the word out about my book: radio interviews and Facebook.

My first step was easy: I’ve been interviewed over 200 times on the radio to promote Honest Medicine. I was confident that many radio interviewers would want to have me on their shows, especially those hosts who had enjoyed having me on before. I would personally contact a few of my favorite interviewers about this new topic.

Before doing this, I would need to create materials to convince these radio hosts that an interview with me on this new topic would be exciting.

First, I wrote an article for my website, HonestMedicine.com: “My Husband Outlived His Brain Tumor Prognosis by 12 Years: How His Experience Could Help John McCain and Others.” In it, I described four treatments that have extended brain tumor patients’ lives for up to 20 years and more. These treatments are: nutrition (diet and supplements); repurposed drugs (medications that are routinely prescribed for other purposes but which have also been clinically proven effective in fighting cancer); the ketogenic diet; and Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). Ironically, I had featured the ketogenic diet and LDN in Honest Medicine, but for pediatric epilepsy and autoimmune diseases, respectively. Since the publication of my book, these two treatments were also being used for cancer. Credible studies and patient experiences have been recorded.

Then I created questions and answers specifically designed for this topic.

Armed with these materials, I was ready for Step 2: contacting a few of my favorite talk show hosts—people I believed would “get” the importance of this topic—to ask them if they would like to interview me about it. Both Ric Bratton and Dr. Holly Lucille responded quickly and positively. They were delighted to have me on their shows. You can find their interviews here and here. After this, I hired a publicist, who interested several other hosts in having me on. The interviews on this topic are still coming!

Now that I had links to share—an article and some shows—I started publicizing these placements (and hence this topic) on Facebook: first on my two Facebook pages, and then in several brain tumor groups.

Becoming active in Facebook groups is an important step that many authors ignore. I found that there were several groups that were germane to my topic. My favorite was the Glioblastoma Support Group, with over 12,000 members. But there was also another group with the same name, with just over 1000 members. I joined both. I also joined Brain Tumor Talk, with over 8,000 members; GBM Surviving and Winning, with 4,300 members; Brain Tumor Warriors and Caregivers, with 2,600 members; and Glioblastoma Warriors and Brain Tumor Fighters, with over 1,900 members.

I became active in these groups, posting links to my articles and radio interviews. I also participated in ongoing discussions by leaving comments. It is important to note that I tried very hard to do this in an educational—rather than a self-promotional—manner. As a matter of fact, my posts and comments often included links to articles by experts other than myself: for instance, articles written by authors of books about using the ketogenic diet for cancer.

I found that patients and family members in these groups were often grateful for my postings and my comments. Their doctors had told them only about the standard-of-care treatments. And these treatments weren’t working for them and their loved ones.

Participating in these Facebook groups was very fulfilling for me. I feel that I was able to use my experience helping my husband, and all I had learned while (and after) writing my book, to help brain tumor patients to extend their lives.
In my next column for IBPA, I will share details about how I participated in these groups so that you, too, will be able to use Facebook groups to help get your important messages out to the people you want to reach.

Julia Schopick is the best-selling author of HONEST MEDICINE: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases. A seasoned radio talk show guest who has appeared on hundreds of shows, Julia is often invited back for follow-up interviews. In addition, she successfully uses social media, particularly Facebook, to promote her book. Julia coaches other authors on how to use these promotional techniques effectively. To learn about her coaching service, Honest Medicine Communications, go to HonestMedicineCommunications.com. Write to her with questions, or to take advantage of her complimentary 15-minute book promotion consultation, at Julia@HonestMedicine.com. She looks forward to hearing from IBPA members.

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