Friday, July 6, 2012

Guide to Writing & Distributing Media Releases by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The biggest rule to remember when writing a media release is, don't write fluff, stick with the facts.  

Distributing Media Releases
In the past these news items were referred to as press releases since they were traditionally sent to TV and radio stations, and newspapers. Writers at public relations firms and businesses were at the mercy of the press as to whether or not it was picked up and promoted in the news outlets. If it was picked up, it was harder to target where it might run once it hit the AP News wire and other similar services. These days, through websites, blogs and social media networks, we have direct access to our target markets and press releases are more often referred to as media releases or news releases

Now we are better off targeting specific bloggers, local news media, online groups, and social media that have demonstrated an interest in the topic of the news release. Twitter and Facebook could be better than the AP News wire for some authors. How can a book compete with a natural disaster that is killing thousands on the AP News Wire? It can't. However, the announcement of your book release to 400 individuals in a book club on Goodreads has a better chance of getting noticed because they want to know the latest book releases.

It isn't rocket science, but it does require a different thought process and approach. 

In addition to your own platform and networks, here are few online places that will distribute media releases. Be sure to check some of them out to make sure they haven't started charging a fee since I last checked them.

Writing a Media Release
My advice is to remember the basic Who, What, When, Where, and Why -- the 5 W's. 

Who is the media release about? In most cases, it would be the author. Keep the bio short, 2 sentences and a website/blog for more info. Included a head/shoulder image.

What is the media release about? The title of the book, publisher, short blurb of no more than a sentence or two. Include a link to a video book trailer. Include an image of the book cover.

When is the release date and/or launch event? This is where you would include info on a book signing or a blog tour with a link.

Where is the book available? List the bookstores or online sites. This should not be an extensive list. Keep it to 5-6 listings and include direct links if you want.

Why should they care about your book over millions of others? Keep this short and don't fluff. You could compare it to other great books, mention an award the book has won, movie option, or outstanding reviews, preferably from an established source that is well-recognized. 

Some Rules to Follow
Below are some simple rules to follow when writing and distributing a media release. 

Keep your Media Release Professional and Simple. Ignore the temptation to use goofy fonts, rainbow colored text, and flashy graphics. Keep your words simple and don't try to fluff and make outrageous claims. 

Be Brief. Keep your sentences short. Cut out excess words that are fluff and hype, adjectives and adverbs where possible. Don't describe, tell and explain. Only give facts.

Target the Receiver. Research the right bloggers and local media editors who are interested in the topic of your book. If someone only promotes historicals, and you send them a media release on a contemporary, you are wasting your time and theirs. They won't appreciate it, and the delete button is easy to hit.

Use Present Tense. If your media release sounds like it happened a year ago, the news won't have an urgent feel to it. Make it sound newsworthy by it being an upcoming announcement and timely.
Don't Make Outrageous Claims or Lie. Don't tell them they will love your book. They may hate it. Ignore the temptation to exaggerate or twist facts to make up better stats. If you are not a bestselling author on one of the recognized lists, don't say that you are just because your book might have hit number one on the free Amazon ebook list.
Let me know if you have any questions!


sally apokedak said...

Another helpful post. Thanks! Not that I have any books to sell. ha ha But someday...

Hope springs eternal...

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Sally, don't giveup and u will be using all this advice. I pray your publishing prayers r answered.

PS - I deleted my first comment b/c I can't type on a cell phone. LOL