Let’s be honest, nobody sets out to write a bland book, so why would you want a lukewarm book launch?
In order to achieve that best-seller status you’ll need to create a buzz around your book launch.
One over-looked yet effective tool in generating publicity is the humble press release. Those that say the press release is dead clearly are doing it wrong.
So here’s how to do it right.
No the launch of your book alone is not news in the eyes of the media, so make it newsworthy. Identify a time or trend that your book can feed in to. Is it part of a vampire-loving trend among teens? Does it feed in to the current commemorative spirit? Are you an expert amongst those on a health buzz? Think about what trends and timings make your book launch news worthy.
The News Test
It is a good idea to apply this simple test to check the newsworthiness of all your potential stories. Here is the news test:
Timing: Make sure your story is fresh enough for the media in which you want to place it.
Angles: Have you looked behind the facts and come up with the most interesting and newsworthy angles for journalists to pursue?
Reader Interest: Will your story prompt action or comment among readers?
News Diary: Ensure it will not be fighting For space with other similar news on the day you release it.
Topicality: Watch for other news stories or events which might add value to your story. They might make you rethink your news angles and add a crucial hook to your own story that will push it onto the front page.
Once you have your news peg it’s time to think up an amazing headline. Your headline will be the email subject line and will be the text for some of your tweets so it has to be clickable. Try to incorporate the news element into the headline to entice journalists in.
The first 20-25 are the most important you need to answer the 5 W’s and the H- The who, what, when, where, why and how. If you think of your release as an inverted pyramid – the meatiest information at the top, so journalists can read it quickly and cut off the end of the release if time and space doesn’t allow for it. Make it easy for the media and you are on to a winner.
A Good Media Release Keeps the Fog Index in Mind
The Gunning Fog Index is about sentence length. Based on an observation of the pattern of attention given by readers to printed material, it suggests that the longer a sentence, the thicker the fog which the reader has to get through to get to the message.
8-10 word sentences are clear and easy to understand.
10-15 word sentences are slightly less clear and easy to understand.
15-25 word sentences can mean the fog is thickening.
25+ can mean the sentence is impenetrable
Keep sentences short and concise. Break up longer sentences to maintain clarity.
Let’s hope you didn’t use up all that creativity on your book. Once you get all the important information out, it’s time to craft a story. Explain why you were compelled to write the book, how long did it take you, were there setbacks along the way. This will give context and give the reader a sense of who you are.
Including quotes in your release will not only add context to your release, it will also add personality. If you are sending your release yourself include a quote from your editor or a book reviewer. If someone else is issuing your release then why not give a quote yourself to further add to the story element.
Always use 1.5 line spacing for media releases.
Type ‘Media Release’ in 36 point Times New Roman or other well used font.
Type headline in 14 point Times New Roman.
Type sub heads in 14 point Italics Times New Roman.
Type main text in 12 point Times New Roman.
Always type the headline of the media release in the subject line of the email.
Always type the main text of the media release in the body of the email
NEVER attach a media release to an email – it won’t be read.
Always include the date on the top of the release in at least 12-point bold text.
It is important that the recipient of the release knows where it finishes. Putting ENDS in the middle of the line after you have finished, but before you put in the source.
Make sure to have an ‘About the Author’ section and include a media kit with your image, an image of the book a short biography on you as a writer and a one page description of the book itself, a positive review is a plus.
Make it social
You need to add some social sauce to your release, think up possible tweets to promote the launch, why not run a Twitter Q&A for bookworms and fans, have a Facebook promotion to win signed copies. Your launch will get far more publicity and visibility if you are actively promoting it online.
Things to remember
Between 10.30 and 11.00 on a weekday is a good time to send out a national release. Never after 1pm unless it is big or breaking news.
Sunday or Monday is a good time to release to national newspapers.
Saturday is the worst time in the week to send out a media release.
Establish local newspaper and radio deadlines; ensure that your release is finalised well in advance of the deadline.
Important radio times are; early weekday evenings (3pm and 4pm) and Saturdays and Sundays.
Establish which local radio programmes involve discussion of arts/current affairs/subject areas that your book touches on. Target media releases at these as well as at the news bulletins.
Always send your piece to a particular person. Ensure it has been received by following up each submission with a call to them.
Always ring the local radio station and offer yourself for interview. Don’t wait for them to come to you.
(c) Jack Murray
Jack Murray is CEO and Founder of MediaHQ.com – Ireland’s most comprehensive media directory offering an invalubale tailor-made press release service. Search the directory, build lists, send your release and share online.
If you need to send a press release anytime soon, pop your details in here and MediaHQ will get in touch!