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amboyle73
06-30-2009, 06:12 PM
Looking for advice on News Releases: When to send them, Where to send them, How to send them, Type of content, etc.

Any advice would be very much appreciated!

SandraBeckwith
07-01-2009, 05:48 AM
Hi A.M.,

It's hard to answer your questions w/out any context but in general, use press releases only to announce news. When it comes to book promotion, tip sheets are a type of press release that are particularly useful -- they offer tips or advice in a bulleted or numbered format. If you're pitching an article idea, don't use a press release -- use a pitch letter via e-mail instead.

I can probably help more if you provide some specifics.

Cheers,
Sandy

amboyle73
07-04-2009, 07:54 PM
Thanks Sandy. I had a book recently released through Wild Wolf Publishing (UK), and want to include that fact, along with information about the launch party (end of August) in a press release. The book is a debut novel. It is a dark, edgy urban fantasy. I'm not sure how to go about submitting press releases. Should it be by e-mail? How do I convince a newpaper, etc. to print it, how much detail should it contain, should I include a bio, etc.

Thanks!

Ann B.

katiemac
07-04-2009, 09:23 PM
You convince them to print it by having a really great pitch. Keep in mind a paper might not print the press release how you have it, but they might take info from it. In any case, write it in upside-down triangle style (all the the important information in the first paragraphs) so when they cut it to fit a column, they can easily cut from the bottom.

As far as submitting it goes - do your research. Some journalists like e-mails. Some like hard copies. Some like to be pitched on the phone. Whatever you do, don't do send them a press release unless it's in the format they like or they'll just ignore you. If you send it in an e-mail, have a killer subject line so they open yours first.

This is all going to depend on your local area, but you cannot have a press release simply announcing your book. Nobody is going to care, unfortunately. Do a quick Google search for kinds of newsworthy stories - you'll get things like timely, human interest, etc. You MUST find a way for your book to fit into one of these angles before you pitch. It's imperative if you want the story to be picked up, otherwise the announcement of your book isn't "news" to anyone.

For example - I once worked with a literary agency who had a PR person on their team. (I have a PR degree, but I was interning at the time.) The PR professional told me how they go about get press for books. One time they had two romance authors host a book signing in New York. Well, that's all good and well for them, but not too exciting for the public, especially when you consider those things happen in New York all the time. So, they amped it up - they hosted the signing on Valentine's Day, got cupcakes and treats donated from a local bakery, brought in champagne and turned the whole thing into a fun party as an alternative for people who didn't want a date on Valentine's. And that is the story they pitched in their press materials - not, "hey check out this book", but "don't want to stay alone on Valentine's? great party for singles hosted by romance authors X and Y..." This particular newsstory had the edge of being timely, thanks to the holiday.

And papers ran blurbs about it or at the very least added it to their event calendar for the week.

In terms of detail - keep it short. No offense, but since this is your first book it's unlikely anyone will spend a lot of space printing something about it (unless it's your local paper and they want to interview you as a human interest story). Otherwise, it's your descretion as to what you think is important and how you present it with a proper journalistic angle.


Thanks Sandy. I had a book recently released through Wild Wolf Publishing (UK), and want to include that fact, along with information about the launch party (end of August) in a press release. The book is a debut novel. It is a dark, edgy urban fantasy. I'm not sure how to go about submitting press releases. Should it be by e-mail? How do I convince a newpaper, etc. to print it, how much detail should it contain, should I include a bio, etc.

Thanks!

Ann B.

flashgordon
07-05-2009, 02:24 AM
Press releases are just that, a release of a news item to the press. This can be almost anything: when your book is published, when it hits a second print run, when you do a book signing, etc. You can send them out anytime, and the more you do the greater chance you have of getting the media to take note. There is a great list of press release sites with a free option here (http://www.bauuinstitute.com/Marketing/PressRelease1.html). Also, don't forget to send them to your local media: newspapers, magazines, radio, etc.

Nandi
07-05-2009, 10:08 PM
I have been hearing that, in and of itself, the release of a book is not considered newsworthy. That it is better to have the release announcement connected to a news event or situation of immediate interest. Thoughts?

katiemac
07-05-2009, 11:31 PM
I have been hearing that, in and of itself, the release of a book is not considered newsworthy. That it is better to have the release announcement connected to a news event or situation of immediate interest. Thoughts?

Right. A book release in itself is not news, especially if you're a first time author. JK Rowling's publishers succeeded in getting lots of press whenever her books had release dates, but that's because she already proved she was worth the space to print.

If you haven't already, read my other post in this thread.

katiemac
07-05-2009, 11:41 PM
Press releases are just that, a release of a news item to the press. This can be almost anything: when your book is published, when it hits a second print run, when you do a book signing, etc. You can send them out anytime, and the more you do the greater chance you have of getting the media to take note. There is a great list of press release sites with a free option here (http://www.bauuinstitute.com/Marketing/PressRelease1.html). Also, don't forget to send them to your local media: newspapers, magazines, radio, etc.

A press release can be anything, but it a good release shouldn't be just anything. Don't make the journalist work - give them an interesting angle with your release. Make them want to tell the story. A second print run might be news and exciting to the author, but not to the journalist who has never heard of you.

veinglory
07-05-2009, 11:46 PM
For your smaller local press a book release can be news if you give it a local interest angle.

amboyle73
07-06-2009, 01:10 AM
Thanks for the great info and advice--my publisher was not giving me much guidance with regard to the press releases. I knew I could count on AW to set me straight!

SandraBeckwith
07-06-2009, 06:23 PM
This is all great advice. You'll want to write an announcement press release to send with review copies (here are some tips (http://www.buildbookbuzz.com/articles/book-news-release.htm)), but even then, be very selective about who you send review copies to -- otherwise, it's a waste of money.

If you have local media, there's always value in the "local author writes book" angle, and your original hometown media might be interested, too, as will your alumni publication.

Handpick a few media outlets that are most important to your book's success -- no more than 12 -- and study them to determine where and how your book will fit into that outlet, whether it's traditional offline media or an online outlet. This is easier to do with nonfiction than fiction, but it still can be done with novels. Focus on identifying the "nonfiction nuggets" in your manuscript that you can use as news pegs or that you can use to piggyback onto current news headlines. It's all about making you and your book relevant to what's in the news today.

When you've got a specific article or segment in mind for a specific media outlet, skip the press release and pitch your idea via e-mail or a phone call. If a journalist likes your phone pitch, you're usually asked to follow-up in writing w/more info. When doing that -- and when pitching by e-mail instead of by phone -- include info on who else the journalist might talk to besides you and background info that will help make it easier for the journalist to pursue the story.

As for your launch party, unless it's open to the public, there's no point in sending out a news release.

Sandy

Nandi
07-07-2009, 03:17 AM
Sandra, thanks again for more useful information. I do appreciate your generosity.

I notice that you mention an e-mail or a phone call. Does this mean that an author is advised not to send a hard copy (snail mail) announcement or tip sheet?

katiemac
07-07-2009, 03:29 AM
I notice that you mention an e-mail or a phone call. Does this mean that an author is advised not to send a hard copy (snail mail) announcement or tip sheet?

Snail mail is pretty much out, but there might still be a handful of journalists out there who prefer the method. Check their preferences before you pitch/send - everyone is different and they'll appreciate you following those preferences. E-mail is a better option than snail mail, though, if you can't figure out what they like.

SandraBeckwith
07-07-2009, 05:23 PM
E-mail is the standard today but as katiemac mentioned, everyone has their preference. Some like faxes, too. Tip sheets are designed for widespread (rather than handpicked) distribution so you won't always be in a position to check preferences first. When I send out tip sheets to promote a book, I use a distribution service like PRWeb because I want to use a list that is too big to create and keep updated internally.

Cheers,
Sandy

Nandi
07-16-2009, 06:49 PM
I'm still learning this protocol, and I'm sure some of you experienced ones, like katiemac and sandra, can help.

(1) I'm not sure how to coordinate these two things: sending out the press release and (for certain publications) offering to send a review copy of the book. Is my offer included at the end of the press release or is it included as a separate document, like a letter?

(2) Is the press lease simply pasted into the body of the e-mail, with no salutation or anything else at the beginning and no closing at the end? Or is it somehow combined with a letter?

(3) Does the very first line say, "For Immediate Release?"

(4) Do you use the words "Press Release" or "For Immediate Release" in the subject line of the e-mail, or do you simply use the title/headline of the press release?

Thanks! These seem like very elementary questions, but I'm a real newbie in this area.

SandraBeckwith
07-16-2009, 07:06 PM
Hi Nandi,

These are all good questions -- I'm glad you asked! I'll use your numbers to answer:

1. There's not necessarily one "right" way to do this but here's what I recommend. When you send out the announcement release and want to offer a review copy, include that offer in a note above the announcement release, which you are pasting into an e-mail message. So...you might start with: "Here is a press release announcing and describing my new memoir about my move to Africa. I'd be happy to send a review copy. If you'd like one, please send me a quick note back and I'll get it right out to you."

(BTW, here are tips for writing a book announcement release: http://www.buildbookbuzz.com/articles/book-news-release.htm.)

2. It's OK to just paste it into the body of the e-mail w/no introduction but as noted above, if you want to offer a copy of the book, include that. Journalists are accustomed to getting the releases with no preamble, although some publicists include a brief note and that's OK too.

3. The world will not end if you don't include "For Immediate Release" anywhere. This info really matters the most if you don't want it released until a certain date and in that case, you write "For Release XXXXXX." The protocol, though, is to include either For Immediate Release or the release date at the top, with contact info -- name, ph #, e-mail address at the top. Please include contact info at the end, too, so that a really interested reporter doesn't have to scroll back up to the top to get it.

4. Subject line is important. Make it really good. If you use the words "press release," follow them with more info, like "Press release on new memoir about life in Africa." If you don't use "press release," still use the subject line to inform, like "New memoir details life in Africa" or something that tells us what's in the message.

Finally, your book cover is absolutely lovely!

Hope this helps!
Sandy

Nandi
07-16-2009, 07:46 PM
Thank you soooo much, Sandy!