A major step toward generating free publicity for your book is writing and distributing effective and timely news releases. They can be relatively simple, yet enormously productive. By the way, think of them as "news" releases rather than "press" releases. The reason - electronic media do not necessarily consider themselves press.
A book news release is essentially a short news piece. It should tell the story behind your book, not just the story of your book. And as you build your story, here are some tips to help you.
- Create a "grabber" headline. Start with a provocative statement, a startling statistic, or an arresting question. With some clever wordsmithing, a good headline can provoke curiosity.
- Introduce the "five W's" within the first or second paragraph. Tell your readers the who, what, where, when, and why. Most editors are limited in space and if they have to cut something, it is usually from the bottom of your release until it fits the space they have.
- To be effective, a news release demands tight, snappy copy. As in all promotional writing, state a problem or concern with which the editor and readers can identify. Your book offers the solution.
- Include the author's credentials for writing this book. These should be condensed into one power-packed paragraph. You can adapt or use the bio you wrote for your book's cover.
- Provide information as to where your book may be purchased. Here you'll want to include the name and address of the publishing company, the retail price (plus any shipping charges). Also list your website.
- Limit the length. A release should never be more than two double-spaced typed pages. One page is even better. Sometimes you can use 1 1/2 line spacing to make it fit. To get some ideas as to spacing and layout, look at other book news releases.
- Include all pertinent statistics. List the book's title, subtitle, author, ISBN, LCCN, publishing date, number of pages, trim size, binding, and any back matter. Put it all in a little block at the beginning or end of the written text.
Send your news releases to magazines, newspapers and newsletters that reach groups who would have a natural interest in your book. Always be sure to cover your hometowm thoroughly. Don't overlook wholesalers, bookstores, catalogs, radio and even TV stations.
And remember, submitting news releases should be a saturation campaign. The more you send out, the better your chances.
[The above post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, fifth edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]