Tips & Advice

  • SEND A PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT TO LOCAL PAPERS at least one week before the signing, preferably two or three weeks. Offer to send them an Advanced Reader Copy (copies that are printed up before the book goes on sale and are sent to reviewers, librarians, bookstores etc)
  • CONTACT LOCAL RADIO STATIONS to see if they'll include your book signing in their community "What's Going On" announcements
  • GET A BOOK COVER IMAGE ENLARGED to an 11 x 17 poster, laminate them and if possible get an easel to display them, or/and design a poster with the book cover image and your image, advertising the book signing, and where and when to display in advance and on the day
  • GET A BOOKMARK DESIGNED and print lots to give away. Have an image of the book cover and list a few 2 to 3 word endorsements + a brief blurb of what your book is about. DON'T add contact info. DO add your web or blog site. DO include the price, and possibly, the ISBN number (if you've got room, I didn't)
  • GET STICKERS MADE - "Signed by the Author" or "Autographed Copy"
  • MAKE A PRINTABLE SHEET OF YOUR BOOK REVIEWS for people to pick up and scan through
  • MAKE SOME FLYERS - try and make them look colourful and professional. Include a brief, eye-catching blurb about your book, a list of short endorsements, a short bio about yourself, and info about the book - price, where available etc. DON'T FORGET to include your web- or blog-site.
  • PUT TOGETHER A BOOK-SIGNING KIT - several pens, a notepad, a Mailing-list sign-up sheet, post-its, bookmarks, postcards (if you're having some printed), "Signed by Author" stickers, business cards.
  • TAKE A TABLECLOTH OR COVER and maybe some sort of decoration  
      ON THE DAY
  • Ask to have a stack of books displayed at the register - they can redirect interested people over to you
  • Don't bring too many books - 20 is fine. Have at least 12 on the table to show you have plenty available.
  • Don't sit behind the the table of your books - get up, interact, be friendly, walk around with your book etc
  • If those you introduce yourself to show the least bit of interest, hand them a book. Invite them to look at it and bring it back to the table when they've finished.
  • Pass out bookmarks, postcards and other bits of promotional material you have.
  • Arrange for someone to take photos of you signing books, talking to readers, and speaking, as well as some with the store manager and other store personnel. Make sure you're holding your book, or have a book display or poster with cover image in the background. Upload these images to your website.
  • Have some wrapped sweets to give away
  • Give a small Thank You gift to the store manager, if appropriate. And maybe a Thank You card a day or two later.


  • Journalists don't read every single word of a Press Release - they'll scan it, picking up eye-catching, newsworthy bits.
  • They're looking for something they can turn into a story - this could well be about you, or why/how you came to write the book.
  • Something that is eye-catching, grabs attention and gets your message across clearly, and without waffle.
  • Journalists expect an AP (Associated Press) style. This is simply a standardized way of writing something.
  • An interesting article, possibly with a dramatic personal story, that can be published without much tweaking, written it in the third person.
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.

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..."

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 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! 

No comments:

Post a Comment