Social media has come to the forefront in the past two years in regards to building an author platform and it would seem offline or ‘traditional’ marketing has taken a back seat. Make no mistake, there’s many authors still seeing the fruits of offline marketing and below we’ll cover some author book press release tips I use that work.
Most top selling authors take an approach to author marketing because they understand people will seek them out by a variety of ways, such as online, from hearing them on the radio and reading about them in newspapers. Magazine, newspaper, radio and TV snippets on your website and on the back cover of your book increases an author’s credibility with powerful social proof. As an author it’s important you don’t just focus on one avenue such as social media or book signings, but understand that the different aspects of your platform are complimentary.
There’s definite considerations you should make when looking to write a book press release yourself or when putting together information for someone to write it for you. These aspects of a book press release that I’ll list here may go against the grain or ‘rules’ which some marketing people adhere to, but this has worked for me time and time again garnering significant media coverage contributing to some sell out events for fiction authors.
1. An eye-popping heading in your email subject line
This needs to grab the recipients attention. If you don’t have a killer headline the reader won’t read any further. This is where you entice the reader to continue reading your author book press release. I’ve spent more time on drafting my subject headlines than the entire press release, it’s that important! This is your hook in a single bullet point.
- For non-fiction authors your hook could be your new book is about a new sure-fire strategy for Hawaiians to sell ice to Eskimos at a profit.
- For fiction authors you want to find a hook within your dragon slayer story. You may have to dig deep. Perhaps your warrior character recovering from the loss of a loved one, finds the emotional strength he needs to succeed. You can present this as a metaphor, relate it back to real life for those going through a hard time much like your character. Consider some of the emotional tools people can use to help them get through this tough time.
2. The initial Salutation – Personally address the email
This is where you address the person you are sending it to. Firstly, find out who it is you need to make contact with. You don’t want to send it blind to the general enquiries email, your release will end up in the trash folder before you even shutdown your computer. Find out who the editor, journalist or show producer is and send it directly to them. Start with ‘Dear Name’.
3. Opening paragraph – Your intro and describing your hook (3-4 lines)
This is essentially your intro. Start with your name and who you are. Then mention the problem or dilemma you or someone had, how it affected you and then state the solution you created or discovered for it. This paragraph is where you want to clearly state how your story is newsworthy. Use controversial words, wild adjectives and phrases.
4. The body text (2-3 paragraphs)
This is where you want to describe in more detail what exactly the problem was and how people would relate to it. Then you want to turn it around and explain how you overcame the problem, triumphed over adversity and how you turned things around for the best. You’ll want to highlight the benefits of your solution or discovery and how it can benefit the readers of your selected media outlet.
5. Concluding paragraph (2-3 lines)
This is where you can mention your book and where people can buy it, the price and event details. Include your website address where readers can find out more about you, follow you on Facebook or Twitter and grab your freebies.
6. Final note (2-3 lines)
Here’s where you present the opportunity to do a story about you and your book. Be clear that you appreciate how busy they are, but you would love to offer their readers the opportunity to benefit from your story or expertise. Then sign off.
How to package before you send
- Now traditionally press releases are sent as a document attached to the email. I advise against this. Attachments rarely get read due to time constraints and sometimes the spam filters block them. Write the press release within the email itself
- Always attach a professional photo of you. Not the family snapshot your nephew took at Christmas. Get a few professional photos together for your marketing efforts if you haven’t already
- An image of your book cover. You do have a kick-ass book cover design right?
The difference between wide coverage and being lost in the inbox darkness
Once you have sent the press release, be sure to FOLLOW UP! This is a HUGE factor in getting coverage. I know this can be intimidating for you shy authors out there, but no one is going to blow your book’s horn like you. People need to know about your book right? It only needs to be a three minute call. Get yourself pumped up, have your bullet points ready and be proud to talk about your book!
When is the best time to send it?
The best time is in the first half of the week, Monday to Wednesday. When you follow up be sure you call in the morning. Journalists are chasing deadlines in the afternoon. Reply within two days of sending your release.
Like Social Media, blogging and writing you’ve got to be persistent and reaching out to the media is no exception. Send out a dozen press releases to different outlets because it’s a numbers game. The more you send out the more chance of being picked up. Choose your outlets wisely making sure they cover your topic of interest.
Remember to use these author book press release tips as a blueprint (bookmark this page) and you’ll be cutting out and framing page one before you know it!
The success of your book comes down to your ability to hustle!