Wednesday, March 6, 2013

6 Outrageous Mistakes Authors Make - Part 1

When Writing Press Releases (Part 1)
Guest Blogger, friend, and colleague Sandra Wendel

Let me convey my best advice in a few words: Who cares if you wrote a book? You may stop reading now if you’re pressed for time and just wanted the Cliffs Notes on this blog post.

Yes, you wrote a book. Yes, you want publicity. Yes, you need to get the word out about your book and sell a million copies (or realistically at least a few hundred, but you hope for a few thousand). But how?
That’s where perfectly terrific writers who have written a magnificent manuscript that has been expertly designed and independently published turn into do-it-yourselfers with two left thumbs (unless, of course, they have two left hands through the miracle of medical transplantation, which would be a real news angle for a press release on a book on that subject).

In other words, many authors (and their publishers) can’t seem to expertly execute the press release part of their marketing strategy. In many cases, the press release becomes an afterthought to which they give little thought.

Not a good idea.

Yes, you need a press release. Yes, you will want to alert certain media outlets that you wrote a book. But nobody cares you wrote a book, and unless you feel like wasting time and effort (and probably precious marketing bucks), stop the presses right now until you read here how to craft a press release that delivers (articles, readers, reviews = sales).

By “delivers,” I mean turning your press release into a key cog in your marketing machine that turns into book sales. It’s one thing to pump out a press release telling the world about your wonderful new thriller, memoir, or self-help book, but I ask again, “Who cares?” Other than your family and maybe a few desperately loyal friends, nobody cares.

What journalists and bloggers care about is a hook, an angle, and a reason to give your “news” some space in their newspaper or on their website or a mention in their book review blog. Book bloggers are the new book reviewers, by the way, and you need to find them and give them a reason to pay attention to you.
Just because you wrote a book is not news. Please read that sentence again. It’s brutally true.

So what makes a busy, tired, overworked, underappreciated journalist or blogger or book reviewer on a tight deadline stop and take notice of your press release?

Oh, I have used up my allotment of words for today's blog, so you’ll have to read the next installment for the six outrageous mistakes authors make in writing their press releases.

Gotcha, didn’t I? Never underestimate the power of a powerful news hook and headline.

Guest blogger: Sandra Wendel is a book editor who has written scads of press releases and made plenty of blunders along the way. (

Part 2 tomorrow...

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