Definition – Press Release: An official statement issued to newspapers giving information on a particular matter
In my case, a press release will let people know that my book (or book launch event) is a newsworthy item. It could lead to valuable publicity for little or no cost. I’m liking the sounds of that, for sure.
Getting a press release read by a busy editor would appear to be a herculean task. Apparently, I can expect an editor to look at my press release (the one I literally slaved over) for a maximum of four seconds. I guess it better start off with a bang!
The Bare Essentials of a Well-Crafted Press Release
- An attention grabbing headline – obviously the most important part of the whole exercise (remember when I said a busy editor would give the press release four seconds of his or her time?)
- The unique selling point of my novel.
- I tell the reader why they should care. For this paragraph I want to know what’s currently trending and hook myself to that media bandwagon with a heavy-duty hitch. If it bleeds it leads and all that jazz. (Newspaper lingo )
- I support and summarize the information given in the first two paragraphs.
I have read that each paragraph should be a maximum of three sentences. The name of the game seems to be catchy and quick. On the off-chance that my release does get noticed by a busy editor, I better have proof read the thing within an inch of its journalistic life.
Another important thing to remember (especially for my fellow novelists out there) – the press release is written in a journalistic style with a third-person point-of-view. It is meant to read like a newspaper article. This is not the spot for letting the flowery language flow.
At the end of the tightly composed press release, I could include an About the Author section, but it should be kept brief. Then I would put my contact information at the bottom of the page: full name, phone number, email address, and web address
It sounds pretty straight forward. Easy-breezy, right? We’re only talking nine sentences maximum. I’m not so sure though – I thought I would try to draft up a practice example for this post, but I’m still struggling over it. I’ve written a lot but never in a journalistic style and it’s not as easy as it might sound.
I did pour over my promotion budget thinking that a professionally crafted press release might be a good investment. Attracting the attention of a print media outlet could be a one shot deal with a lot on the line and a poor job of the press release could turn an editor off, not only today but for any future contact as well.
I went so far as to get a quote – $329.00 and that doesn’t include anyone actually reading my book. I would have to draft up the main points of the press release and then a professional would hone it to perfection. Hmmm . . . I will definitely work on doing it myself. The budget is already stretched pretty thin with the cost of getting to this point.
A topical, tightly written press release will be a great promotional tool to put in my tool box. If you don’t hear from me for a while you will all know what I’m doing.