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Friday, May 15, 2009

Killer Campaign: Press Releases

Today, you get to see me use myself as a guinea pig.

Press Releases are short, tight news items that you send out to spur the interest of librarians, newspaper editors, tv and radio shows, and booksellers, etc.

In my study of book releases, it seems the average book release is 400 to 800 words. You write the release to fit the venue. For instance, a release sent to a bookseller will be longer than one you'd send to a radio show. Keep in mind who is going to read it and how they will use this information.

Booksellers might make a decision to buy copies of your book from reading your release, whereas radio shows might use a shorter version of this information as a special interest piece to pass on to their listeners. Use your best judgment for each individual venue.

At the top: The very first thing that appears will be these words in all caps: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Information: The next section should list your contact information. You want whoever gets this to contact you. Make sure you give him exactly what he needs.

Headline: In my opinion, this is probably the most important part of the release. I know speaking for myself that if the header doesn't grab me, chances are I won't continue reading the rest of the copy.

Body Copy: The body copy is your chance to describe your book in the most exciting way you know how. But oh, boy, can it get tricky.

Fiction as a rule is NOT newsworthy. Pitching your murder mystery is not going to make the newspaper editor hold the presses for you. But pitching a murder mystery that is set in the town where that newspaper calls home might.

A news release must be intriguing.

What you're looking for is that core that ties everything together, that little bit of oomph that brings it to the level of the average person reading that newspaper or listening to the radio.

A news release could describe the novel, or it can describe one part of the novel.

For example, in TOUCH OF FIRE, instead of describing the story, I could talk about the apocalypse, or religious intolerance, or the danger of hallucinogenic mushrooms. All of which happens in the story.

For grins, let's try a modest news release for TOUCH OF FIRE and see how I do.

I like mine short, primarily because I have a short attention span and I have to assume editors, reporters and library directors have even less time and patience than I do.

Since I like the tagline I've been using, I will use it for my headline.

***
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Info Here

THE APOCALYPSE IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK
According to the Mayan calendar, time abruptly and inexplicably ends. Speculation abounds on what happens next, but the apocalypse theory is gaining ground. Author Maria Zannini takes it to the next level and tells the story of an Earth 1200 years in the future, an Earth that knows only magic.
Infrastructure has deteriorated, buildings have collapsed and people have forgotten their roots. History, languages and religions have fused. Technology has all but vanished. In its place, a race of magical humans have risen from the ashes of the Great Apocalypse, fey witches who will do whatever it takes to keep the plainfolk in their place.
When an ancient book surfaces, it threatens to reintroduce technology and tip the balance of power once more.
Maria Zannini is an author and future history connoisseur. A native born Texan, she weaves her tales in and among the vast and colorful Texas panorama.
ISBN 978-1-60504-160-5
To place orders for the book, contact: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. 577 Mulberry Street, Suite 1520 Macon, GA 31201
www.SamhainPublishing.com
To arrange a book signing or interview, contact Maria Zannini at XXX-XXXX or mariazannini AT gmail DOT com
***
I excerpted this ultra short version as an example, but maybe this will give you some ideas to start with. Try writing some practice releases. One for a newspaper, one for radio and one for the bookseller. I'd love to hear your headlines. And if you'd like, post an excerpt of your pitch too.



Want to get a whole book with this information for $2.99?

Find it on Amazon.
 

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