By Sandra Beckwith
If you’re like many authors, you’ve seen a “roundup” article that made you think, “My book should have been included in that.”
A roundup article shares the best, worst, most, least, newest, top, funniest, etc. products related to a specific category or theme. They’re published in magazines and newspapers and appear online on media and content sites as well as on blogs.
Books are a popular roundup topic, especially this time of year, when media outlets and online sites share their “best summer beach reads.”
Round-up article themes
There are many other book roundup topics, though. Here are a few more for this time of the year:
- Favorite grilling cookbooks
- Best new gardening books
- Great books for newlyweds
- Books recent graduates will love
Roundups can be broader than books, though, giving you an opportunity to get yours included along with other products. These more inclusive roundups are often seasonal:
- Grilling essentials
- Bridal shower gifts
- Baby shower gifts
- Gardening must-haves
Your book belongs in a roundup, right? Whether it’s appropriate for a summer-specific list, back-to-school, or holiday gift-giving, if you want yours included, you need to know how to make that happen.
1. Determine the roundup topic that’s best for your book.
To select your roundup topic, look at your book’s category. Nonfiction categories include:
- self improvement
- and others
Fiction ranges from:
- historical romance
- hen lit
- science fiction
- young adult
- and so on
Next, determine your sub-category. For example, let’s say you’ve written a book on how to find that first job after college. “Careers” might be the category, while “job hunting” is the sub-category.
Your next step is brainstorming roundup titles. For the first-job-out-of-college example, titles could include, “Best gifts for college graduates,” or “Top career books for Gen Z and Y.”
How about a romance novel set in New York’s Catskill Mountains? Get regional publicity with a roundup on “Books that showcase the Catskills” or “Great gift ideas for mountain lovers.” A book on Wisconsin bike trails can be included in regional roundups about “Everything you need to pack for a Wisconsin biking vacation.”
See how it works? You can do this for your book, too. If you’re struggling to come up with topic and title ideas, ask a creative friend to brainstorm with you.
2. Determine which sites or media outlets will like your idea the most.
For example, you wouldn’t pitch that first-job-out-of-college idea to AARP the Magazine, right? But it could be perfect for a noon TV program in a city with several colleges as well as online sites popular with that age group.
For the Catskill Mountains romance novel, you’d target a newspaper in the area or a hiking magazine, blog, or online content site.
3. Study the media outlet or site so you understand how it might use your information.
Does it run list articles – “listicles?” Roundups are perfect for that. Is there a home for it in the front of the magazine or a particular section of the website?
You need to know this and include it in your pitch. Editors and producers want to know that you’re familiar with their content and format.
4. Figure out who to pitch.
“Pitch” is another way of saying “sell to.”
Determining the right person to contact will take some digging if you aren’t already familiar with the outlet.
You can do that online, or spend time at the library. There, go through back issues of the magazine you’re targeting or use media directories at the reference desk.
You can also call and ask.
5. Write a compelling pitch letter and hit “send.”
Your emailed pitch is essentially a sales letter to the person you’ve identified as the editor of the section, the reporter who writes on that topic, the talk show producer, and so on.
Your pitch needs to convince the journalist that your idea is a good fit. In your letter, suggest other products for the roundup so the journalist sees the potential.
Be sure to follow up, especially if your idea is time-sensitive. Sometimes people need to be reminded that you’ve sent a great idea.
What would be a good roundup article topic for your book? Please tell us in a comment.