To be a successful writer, first you must promote

One of the most important parts of textbook publicity and marketing is the press release. A simple yet well-written document that is going to put who, what, where, why and how can I buy this book; out into the marketplace.

If you want media coverage, you’ve got to make your story newsworthy and make clear why anyone should care about your new book. And you’ve got to offer valuable lessons learned, tips, or other useful suggestions from which the readers, listeners, or viewers can benefit. Bullet points and statistics are always helpful.

On nice letterhead, a press release should always be one page. If it’s a must go to two pages but I wouldn’t recommend it. You want to capture the attention of a journalist, book reviewer, bookseller, academic department, distributor, etc. immediately, and time is of the essence.

At the top you can put “For Immediate Release” but it isn’t always a requirement. The dateline, date written out entirely and location (use AP style for stand alone cities and state abbreviations) will suffice. But before you get going on the text of the press release, remember the catchy headline and subhead.

The headline only has one job: to keep the reader reading! It should also be in about a 30-point font and bold. If you choose to make it outrageous, make sure you can back it up. You don’t want a journalist/department to call you and then not be able to support it! Also, remember who is readying it. It may need to be altered according to where it is being sent.

Like the headline, the first paragraph should be newsworthy and possess language that captures the reader’s attention and briefly tell, in one to two sentences, what is being announced. The second paragraph, what is called a nut graph in a journalist article, should summarize or present background of the topic.

After you list the important information about your book, it’s message, maybe the page length, new, interesting and innovative research, etc. you should close the press release with an author bio. Feel free to bold the name or state “About the author.”

Lastly, the final paragraph should offer contact information to the publisher, author, distributor or publicist and a Website or another go to place for additional information.

Now that the press release is written and proofread it must be put out over the wires and passed along to relevant audiences. With today’s Internet there are plenty of free service sites that will distribute a press release to national, if not global, recipients.

Michelle Blackley is a literary publicist in Buffalo, NY. She is also an adjunct lecturer of communication at Buffalo State College and a freelance writer.