This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Guest Post by Katie Allen
Authors are increasingly having to promote their own books, and with 500 titles published every day in the UK, it’s harder than ever to get your novel noticed.
However, even if you’re working as a one-woman publicity team, a good press release will go a long way. At We Love This Book we see dozens every day so here are some of the dos and the definitely-don’t-dos that we’ve noticed.
1. Be targeted. Make sure your chosen publication covers your genre – there’s nothing more likely to make a busy journalist hit ‘delete’ than an irrelevant press release. Try to track down the correct person to contact, and use their name.
2. Work out when to send your press release. Women’s magazines will have most of their content nailed down months in advance. At We Love This Book we need to hear about books at least a couple of months before publication. There is also no point in sending us stuff long after the book’s out.
3. Write a punchy opening. Grab attention with the subject heading of your email (don’t put “press release”!), and a short blurb about the book – make it sound really exciting. Do you have a news angle?
4. Describe the book, including a brief plot summary, and make it sound as interesting as possible. Short quotes from other authors or reviewers will help make it stand out, but avoid grandiose claims. A recent press release I received declared the book was “unlike anything every written before” – is that really true?
5. See that (genuine) spelling mistake? Check and recheck your release for spelling and grammar errors. Make sure all the important details (publication date, price, publisher, ISBN) are correct. And make sure you get the magazine name right – we frequently get emails to “We Love Books”.
6. Don’t forget the best thing of all – YOU! A brief biography works wonders – have you won any prizes, published anything before, written for any publications, do you have an unusual career or have you lived abroad?
7. Do mention that you are “available for publicity”, and give some ideas. If you suggest that as the author of a Christmas-set love story you could write a feature about “how to be romantic at Christmas”, that might spark something. You never know!
8. Make it look good. We get a lot of releases that are a mishmash of fonts and text sizes, which aren’t enticing to read. A good photo of you (low res so it doesn’t clog up inboxes) is also eye-catching.
9. Follow up. If you’ve not heard anything for a week or so, a friendly email should at least elicit a response and let you know either way. A phone call tends to feel like pestering.
10. Make sure all your contact details are included. We might want to get hold of you!
She would love to hear about your book (firstname.lastname@example.org) but WLTB doesn’t as yet cover self-published or e-book-only books).