I am pleased and honored to have my friend Raymond Alan Klesc, a real estate developer and a science fiction author share his wisdom about the "importance of a press release," with us. Thank you Ray
The Importance of the Press Release
Media exposure is the most effective method for authors to promote their work. However, how do you go about bribing, coercing and cajoling the media into giving you free publicity? There is no need to take a baseball bat in hand and threaten your neighborhood editor. A far simpler means is at everyone’s disposal – the tried and true press release.
All media outlets - newspapers, magazines, television and radio - rely on a steady stream of press releases to locate and follow up on news and stories they feel their readers and listeners might find interesting. They measure the value of a press release against its human-interest appeal to its broader audience.
In order to grab the attention of an editor or producer it must be newsworthy. It should be brief, preferably one page or two at the most, and must grab the reader’s attention in the first sentence or two. Not unlike writing a great story, the opening must stimulate and provoke questions.
Besides the obvious release of a new book into the market, the author has many other opportunities to bring his book and “brand” to the public’s attention. Each opportunity permits the author to promote his or her brand and latest book. The following are a few suggestions that have worked for authors in the past:
1. Book signings are an excellent opportunity to capture local media attention, as it is an event happening within the community.
2. Other special events such as appearances, speaking engagements, seminars, lectures and demonstrations of something in your book, such as a cooking demonstration provide an excellent opportunity to get your message out to your target market.
3. Contests and special offers always make for a newsworthy press release.
4. Tie-ins with charities and fund raising associated with you personally as a brand or with your book. For instance, if your book were about dogs, associating with the NSPCA would make for a newsworthy event.
5. Tie-ins with a particular industry and its trends or crisis could work effectively for a newsworthy event as well. If you have written about the merits of electric cars, then industry news about the increasing cost of oil could make for an interesting ‘hook’ in the press release.
6. Following on the above two examples, you could leverage survey results about the electric car industry or dog owner trends to promote your book.
Before dashing off a few words and sending it to your local newspaper, consider the following points:
1. The press release should not sound like a sales brochure. After all, media outlets are looking for human-interest stories and not blatant advertising.
2. Read several press releases online and see what the pros say and how they present their product or service. Check with services such as PRLog.com, BusinessWire.com and PRNewswire.com under the categories for books and authors. These PR services are also a great way to get your news out to the media as well.
3. Follow the examples of the professionals making sure you provide your complete contact details, including email address and telephone number, in the top, left corner of the page.
4. Make sure you give your press release a captivating title. Imagine this as the opening line to your novel. Treat the title as lovingly.
5. Press releases should be prepared double-spaced for ease of review by editors and producers if you are sending them directly. If you are using the online services, the material is single space for ease of online reading.
6. The body of your press release should have a strong opening sentence to draw reader’s attention. Then cover the basics, who, what, when, where and why. Remember, you are not writing for the editor, you are writing to your target market.
7. You would be surprised how many press releases I have read from authors and publishers that do not provide basic information about the book, such as ISBN number, publisher, date of publication or suggested retail price. In fact, I have seen press releases where I have to hunt for the title of the book buried deep within the text.
8. Provide snippets of book reviews or quotes from industry leaders giving your press release authority and credibility. Writing in the third person, you can quote yourself.
9. Ensure you close with a call to action before providing a three or four line author biography.
10. Most importantly, watch the spelling and grammar. You do not want to have the niggles to creep into your words.
Besides the online services mentioned above, you should distribute to your local and regional media outlets directly. Compile a list of media outlets and gather contact details for the proper departments and individuals responsible for reviewing and vetting human-interest stories.
Generally, all media outlets accept press releases via snail-mail, email and facsimiles. However, check their websites for their preferences and adhere to their submission guidelines.
Don’t send it late. Give them at least two weeks notice, preferably three or four weeks, in advance of any planned event dates. Leave them time to work it into their schedule.
The last point, and hopefully this will come to pass because of your hard work, be prepared to address interview questions. Your sterling press release may grab the attention of an editor or producer and they might pick up the phone and call. Prepare before hand with a few talking points you want to convey. Work these into the interview if possible.
In the end, the press release can be a strong ally in your quest to get the news out concerning your work. If you tackle it with the same effort you put into writing your novel, you will reap the rewards over time.
I host author and publisher press releases on my website for new book releases, book signings, awards, events and special announcements. Submit via the large, blue “Contact Me” button on the left side of the screen. http://www.NewBookJournal.com
Thank you Ray and visit him on Facebook, http://www.NewBookJournal.com.