Whether you’ve been traditionally, indie or self-published, you’ll know (or will come to know) that promoting your novel is tough. Heck – forget tough, how about mega epically difficult!
Marketing and promotion of your novel can make the difference between low sales and greater coverage. Avenues that must be explored are getting yourself into newspapers, journals, magazines, radio broadcasts, and the ultimate platform: the television. If you don’t have connections to such media, then you have a tougher job of letting journalists know about you.
And that’s where a Press Release could be the answer. Press Releases are important for them to take interest. If you’re not intriguing or have something ‘different’, why should they waste their pages or airtime on you?
At the Self Publishing Conference March 2013, I attended a Workshop on Writing a Successful Press Release – led by the amazing Helen McCusker of Booked PR. In a nutshell, it was fantastic! Helen gave a summary of what I need to do to gain that extra edge. Of course – she didn’t write the whole Press Release for me, but her tips were exactly what I needed.
Let’s be honest here; if you Google Press Release Novels, you’ll find countless sites, but hey – what if you had the opportunity to speak to an expert?
Ta-da – Helen is the expert.
A Press Release should consist of:
- Book Title
- Punchy Hook – or tagline – or something that screams “Read Me, Seymour. Read Me!”
- Cover Image
- Summary of Plot
- Purchasing Details/ISBN
- Author Biography
- Author Image
- Author contact details. Telephone, Twitter, Website, Email Address
- Mention that review copies will be sent when requested
And now the tips:
1. The Press Release is the pitching of your novel. You can’t expect a journalist to give you 10 seconds of their time to hear how brilliant your novel is. No – the only way you can – hopefully – grasp their attention is to produce a Press Release. It is your moment. It is your time. There is no force, All Spark, or Horcrux to make everything happen – no – you have to pull it together to show the journalist how serious (and good) a writer you are.
And *News flash* journalists will take interest in you regardless of if you’re self-published.
2. State the Unique Selling Point. If your novel is about a girl who loves a boy but can’t have him – that’s a very poor USP. But, if your novel is about a girl who fancies a boy from an opposing religion who is engaged to her sister, you might have something a little different. Okay … rubbish example (from me), but do you get the idea?
There are too many vampire novels. If you’re planning to do one; what is unique about it? If it’s about Edward from Twilight being murdered within the first page, it may be a strong enough USP to gain huge coverage.
3. Keep the plot summary to 1 to 2 paragraphs. And keep it concise, to the point, without any purple prose. If you can’t summarise, then what does say about the rest of the novel?
4. Why did you write the novel? Do not state ‘to be rich’. An example given; A woman’s relationship to food caused personal relationship problems with her husband. That possessed enough info within to make journalists hungry.
If you have a reason for writing it. Did someone give you the idea. Is it based on a hole in the market? Whatever – state it. Place it in your Author Biography.
5. Controversy Sells. If there is any controversy in your novel or something that could make some cringe/sweat or lick their lips – state it. This ties into your USP.
My YA Science Fiction novel Disconnect deals with poor vs the rich, protesters vs corrupt governments, and the breaking of rules by machines. It’s not controversial (except for the twists at the end), but I could link it to the current climate of protesters in the current world.
6. One Page. Simples. Keep it to one page. Don’t cram. 1.5 spaced lines with a clear layout should be enough.
7. Spellcheck and Proofread it. Need I say more. You have one chance. Don’t blow it.
8. Mention Location. I’m from Leicester, so it makes perfect sense to mention that in the subject line of an email, when contacting Leicester journalists.
9. Follow up. Don’t be afraid to follow up on your mail outs. There’s no guarantee that they will have seen your Press Release, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.
10. Have Professional Contact Details. It will be far better for me to have an email like: Imran@Imranwrites.com than email@example.com. Don’t you think?
Writing a Press Release can be daunting, and you may question if you’ve done it right. Well … you’re not alone.
I self-published in January without a Press Release. Big mistake. Time to rectify that.