Thursday, July 16, 2009

Writing Media Releases part 2

(That's Selena over there, making an important decision as usual)

In my previous posting I outlined some steps to take when writing "Media Releases" to help promote a new book. Once your book is 'out there' and you begin to line up public appearances in bookstores, libraries, book clubs, conferences and so on, you'll need another kind of media release to announce the event. Some independent bookstores and Barnes & Noble stores will put an announcement in their newsletters or in-store flyers, but it will usually be up to you - no matter what the venue - to notify local media with what they call an 'advance story.'

It's really quite simple. All you need to do is remember the "5 W's and H" of basic journalism: who, what, when, where, why, and how. And like the other media release that announced your book, this one should be free of hyperbole and puffery. Keep it short and straightforward. Just the facts, please. Don't see it as an ad; see it as a really short news item. Some newspapers will run the basic info in a 'community calendar' listing and not run it as a story (unless you have a big platform and are becoming a celebrity!).

Set up the Media Release just like the other one, with your contact info at the top left and a release date (or "For Immediate Release") at the top right. Provide a short headline (in present tense) if you like. Then, in third person, tell readers who you are, what you'll be doing, where, on what date and at what time (and for how long). Provide any other details in descending order of importance. You can provide a brief bio or other background, but expect it to be cut off. Kinda like this:

Mystery writer plots murder in local bookstore

Mystery author John Desjarlais will speak on "How to Plot a Murder and Get Away With It" at (store/library) located at (address) on (date) from (time-to-time - y'know, from 7 pm-8 pm or whatever).

He will also sign copies of his latest book, BLEEDER, released August 15 by Sophia Institute Press. Ten percent of the proceeds will be donated to (name charity or library here).

The event is free and open to the public. Wine and cheese will be served (only say this if it's true!!). Attendees will be entered in a drawing for a prize.

Desjarlais, a member of Mystery Writers of America, lives in (name the town if you're a local) and teaches English and journalism at Kishwaukee College in Malta, Ill.

-30- (remember, this symbol means 'the end')

Notice how the story maintains an objective tone and avoids the excitement you actually feel about doing this. You'll want to write, "...will sign copies of his AWESOME book (title), destined to become a BESTSELLER so be sure to come and not miss out!!" But don't do it.

With all media releases, consider what other material you may need to send with it, especially photos such as your cover art or your mug (in .jpeg if sending electronically). By mail, you could include a business card or a bookmark.

Finally, remember to post your release in web social spaces, your blog(s) and other places as appropriate. Just be careful not to become a spammer ;-)

No comments: