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Repost: How to write a press release by Rick Hodges

This is a repost by fellow Stormbird Press author Rick Hodges. I enjoyed it so much I'm sharing it with you. You can read more about Rick on his site and check out his new book To Follow Elephants. I'm delighted that we are both writing about elephants and older teens traveling to Africa. 

I am thrilled to be publishing my first young adult novel No Entry with Stormbird this fall.

Watch out for my September 1 release of No Entry.  Until then, got a novel coming out? This article will help you write a five-star press release. 

 How to write a press release that gets picked up by the media by Rick Hodges

News editors are busy. Okay, let's not gloss over it: Some news editors are lazy. Either way, the easier you can make their job--by writing a great news release--the more likely they will use it.

As a writer with some journalism and public relations work under my belt, I've written a few news releases and used a few as well. The trick to getting news outlets to use yours is to write it the way a news writer would. Make it as easy as possible for news outlets to use parts of your release in a news story, or better yet, to just print verbatim.

Write your news release like a free-standing news item, with a "hook" to open it. For a news release about a book, that means grabbing the reader with something interesting, followed by the essential information about the book, the author, Stormbird Press and, of course, how to buy it.

News writers economize with words to stuff information into small space and into the small window of time they think readers will give them. They call the style "punchy" and it means leaving formalities out and getting straight to the point. The style is bold and confident and wastes little time. A news release should have short paragraphs--three or four lines at most, with only one or two sentences. It should be short and sweet, with only 300 to 400 words (filling about half a page).

And don't be afraid to use a short, one-sentence paragraph, like this one, to add drama.

To write a news release for your book, work from your blurb or a query letter you wrote for publishers and agents. Start it with your opening hook to grab interest. It can be an overall theme or a small detail, as long as it gets the reader past the first sentence. Fiction writers, this is what you do, so take advantage of that skill.

Begin your promotion efforts with a release about your book, but don't expect many news outlets to think that "hey, I published a book" is newsworthy. That's a good prompt for reviewers, book bloggers or other outlets that cover book releases, and it's worth doing, but consider writing and sending additional releases to attract attention when you have something more newsy to offer. When appropriate, make yourself, not just your book, the news. For instance, use your status as a local author with your hometown media. If you are an expert in something and used that expertise to write your book, talk about yourself. If you win an award or contest, or make a speech, or sell an unusually large number of books, or appear at a book event, write a release with that at the center as a news hook. If you will appear at an event the media might cover, send an announcement in advance.

One more thing--your news release should read as if someone else wrote it about you, not from you. So go ahead and brag! That's the purpose of a news release. 

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Monday, 17 June 2024

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