- DON’T GIVE YOUR BOOK AWAY FOR FREE
So you have written your magnum opus and it is just burning away on your shelf – or in your PC – desperate to launch itself at your target, the journalist.
But stop! This may sound crazy, but giving your work away for nothing is not how to write a press release for a book.
If you do this, the person reading it – who is probably sitting knee deep in free books- will just stick it on the shelf with all the other promotional copies, unloved and unread for all time. Or in the bin!
No, what you must do is actually make the journo want it so badly that they call you to request it. What could be easier?
If this sounds like a daunting task, then frankly, it is and is precisely the reason that people employ a special press release writing service.
- PERSONALISE THE MESSAGE…AND SEND IT TO THE RIGHT PERSON!
First off, you are not going to just send your letter or email – although we recommend email – to your journalist addressed by their job position. In other words, you never approach them as “dear literary editor of The Times”.
This is a huge no-no.
Top of the page on ‘how to write an effective press release’ in giant capitals is finding out their name and then using it in your introductory message.
…Which by the way is best sent as an email, with the press release firmly in the body of the text, not sent as an attachment. It simply will not be opened by any journalist or editor worth their salt.
- THE FIRST PARAGRAPH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT
You know how when you wrote your opening line of your book, it had a hook to grab your reader in? Well that is exactly how to write a press release too. As a writer, you should probably be equipped in how to write a good press release, but it is a lot harder to be objective about your own work than you may think and is exactly the reason why so many writers use a professional press release service.
The purpose of your top line, as it is known, is to give the reader all the information contained within the press release, in a few easy lines. They should be no more twenty words, ideally.
- WRITE A PUNCHY HEADLINE
The one piece of advice that all the press release distribution services will give you is that you really have to make that headline stand out.
This is the first thing that your journalist will see and they will be only skim reading your email, for sure, maybe with just half an eye on it.
So it is paramount that it stands out and gets their attention, straight off.
- KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET
Once you have got their attention, you need to keep it there and the best way to do this is to write concisely. Think about the length of your sentences. Use bullet points and double spacing to make it easy to read.
Remember, unlike your story, which may be literary or use lots of flowery language, your press release should be simple and to the point.
Being ‘writerly’ will not help you now! You need to think like a salesman, be firm, bold, decisive and cut to the chase quick. In other words, you need the services of a damned good editor!
- NO CLICHES PLEASE!
You are attempting to persuade this person that you are the next J.K. Rowling or Orange prize winner. So you are not going to help your cause by stuffing your promotional material with clichés and tired phrases.
Describing your own prose as ‘masterful’ or similar is unlikely to illuminate the literary editor of The New York Times.
In fact, the best press release distribution services probably won’t be waxing lyrical about your artful passages, they will simply stick to giving a taste of the story with a simple resume of the plot.
- THINK OF AN ANGLE
…Or maybe they won’t even start by doing that. Because the sad fact is that trying to sell a book by giving a blow by blow account of everything that happens is possibly not the best way of selling it.
Sometimes, the selling point might be the writer or the chain of events that led up to you writing the book.
Remember, human interest is what sells a paper or makes you click on a link to read more. Offer the reader your story, your angle – give them more than just a resume of the plot.
- BE VISUAL
A picture tells a thousand stories, so they say. And the right one will grab your audience – which starts with capturing the attention of the journalist reading your email. The best press release examples usually feature a stunning visual, so choose yours carefully!