While at Moonlight and Magnolias Writer’s Conference, Jenna Patrick and I attended a workshop led by E.S. Abramson on writing press releases. It was very informative, even if we did leave with our eyes opened to the mountains of work ahead of us on the road to publication. After all, I don’t have a database of editors of newspapers, magazines and TV shows—do you? Abramson stated in her workshop that she was successful with a national database of 10,000 contacts. Already stressed like we were when we walked out of this workshop? No worries, bad girlz of the world. Let me break it down for you.
When to write a press release:
The purpose behind the press release is to bring publicity to your new release, your signing event or your career in general. If you want to get on the local morning TV show in your city, be featured in a local magazine or newspaper or have your book signing listed in events happening this weekend, you need to write a press release.
- 8-10 weeks out from your release date – send a book release announcement.
- 4 weeks out from your book signing – send an event announcement.
Note: Keep in mind that if you write something that could be considered seasonal, you need to send it in advance of that season. As an example, have you noticed how the stores are putting up their Christmas trees now? In October?!?! The media prepares for the seasons in the same manner.
How to write a press release:
- Call in advance of sending the email to get the contact email for the editor of the publication or dig around on their website until you find it.
- Subject line of the email: A catchy line about your book or event with your name. (Must Love Dukes: The best book ever written – E. Michels) *winks*
- Open by listing your contact info:
(Add an extra space between paragraphs throughout the email to make it easy to read.)
- Who/When/Where: Repeat your book title or event here along with your name. In paragraph form answer the questions of who, when and where.
- Why: In the next paragraph sell yourself and tell people why they should care about your fabulous book. What makes you and your book different?
- Additional Information: In the last paragraph tell the reader any additional information you may need to relay. Do you have accolades or blurbs from other publications? State them here.
- Close with a link to your website where you should have a tab for the press with downloadable book cover images as well as an author pic available for them to use. (Yeah, this is now on my “to do” list too.) The purpose of this is to give the editor what they need to do their job without attaching anything to the email. Just like when querying, don’t attach anything to an email unless you’re asked to do so.
This should be a short informative email, don’t turn it into a long business letter. According to Abramson, editors get quite a few of these emails and you want yours to be short and snappy.
Okay, now that you know how to write a press release, it’s confession time… I think 10,000 editorial contacts might be a little much for me at this point in my life. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try this method of promoting my books. I’m sure there’s a happy level of press releasing for everyone, whether that’s sending out 10 or 10,000. So, I’m planning on gathering some information from local publications in my area and sending out my press releases. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Will you be sending out press releases for your next book? Let’s chat about it.
~ E. Michels.