ON THE DAY
PRESS RELEASE TIPS
FROM A JOURNALIST'S POINT OF VIEW
WHAT WILL CATCH A JOURNALIST'S EYE
LENGTH, LAYOUT AND ALL THAT KIND OF THING
The Press Release should be about 500 words. A lot of the advice I read, said that one A4 page is enough. I wrote two pages, and put contd... at the bottom right corner of first page, and Page 2 at top right corner of second page.
The words PRESS RELEASE should be centered at the top, in bold caps. Beneath, aligned left, in caps type FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, and beneath that, your contact details (or you could leave these until the end, as I did). The HEADING should be centered, in bold and in font one size larger than the rest of the text. It should be brief and to the point and eye-catching.
The sub-heading should also be centered, and in bold, and I italicized mine as well. Write 2 to 4 sentences - you're enticing readers with your Heading and Sub-heading. I took ages getting these right, but I read somewhere that the first 10 words of your PR are the most effective, as they are the most important. No pressure there, then!
FIRST PARAGRAPH. Write your location and the date and then follow straight on with the Lead paragraph. This, as with the rest of your text, should be in a clear font and double-spaced, and should explain what the Press Release is about.
SECOND PARAGRAPH. This should cover the five Ws and 1H - Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
Who are you, Who are your readers, What is the book, What is it about, Why should people care, Why should they read this book, Where can they find it, When will it be available, How the book came about.
THE BODY. This should be concise. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and simple. You can use this area to add further details - more about you, or the book's conception, anything that would interest a reader.
BOOK DETAILS. Add these at the end of the Body, informing people where they can buy your book, its price etc
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (known as the Boilerplate) - that's the section, not the person! Use your name, not "The Author". Write a short bio.
CALL TO ACTION. This is basically inviting whoever is reading your Press Release to take the next step to learn more. Maybe start with something like "For more information about BOOK TITLE, please visit WEBSITE or contact .................. at PHONE NUMBER + EMAIL". (A phone number is considered more professional, and can make it simpler to set up an interview, or, as happened to me, conduct an interview over the phone).
PHOTOS. If you have images of you or/and your book cover, mention them after the Call to Action. (I actually inserted a couple of small images, at the very end of my Press Release).
SHOW YOU'VE FINISHED. Use a centered, three-hashtag symbol at the end of your Press Release.
Here's a site that is useful.
WHAT I FOUND HELPFUL
Reading through the whole of my ms, and jotting down any emotionally-charged and intriguing phrases and sentences. It took ages, but it really did help me to form a concise heading and sub-heading. I found the following three sentences, which I'd actually forgotten I'd written, as my sub-heading - "Anna was jealous of the speed, the way it lured Fitz, enticing him away from her, exhilarating him in a way that she never could, making him want it more and more. It was always there, beckoning. Anna longed to have such power, to be as desirable..."
WHAT I WOULD HAVE FOUND HELPFUL
Knowing what questions the journalist from one of my local papers was going to ask during my telephone interview. Here are some of them:
Who will buy this book?
Why will they buy this book?
What is the book about?
Why did you write the book?
How old are you?
Why is your book different than others in its genre?
Of course I know the answers, but I'm sure I waffled, and did a lot of unnecessary er-ing and well...ing as I tried to be both rapid and brief and clear. I would have preferred to have had some notes in front of me - not anything that I would read parrot-fashion, but just to give me confidence so that if my brain failed, or went blank, or in any way misbehaved, I'd have all necessary info close by on an easily accessible piece of paper!