A News Release is about the Audience, not the Author

Every novice author needs to understand that a news release is not an advertisement for you book. And the media is not your publicist. To be honest, reporters aren’t interested in particular books or writing careers…at least not from a professional standpoint. Their job is to provide their readers, listeners, and viewers with newsworthy content that is interesting to their specific audience. That’s what it takes to keep the revenue stream flowing. So an author looking for media exposure has to do more than announce the release of a new novel. Here are five thoughts to keep in mind while crafting a news release that garners media exposure.

  1. Know your audience. Describe them to yourself. What interests your reader and what benefit does that person receive by reading your book? Make sure the audience of the media professionals whom you target matches yours. If it doesn’t, your new release will likely end up in the trash.
  2. Focus your news release on content that is engaging, helpful or educational to the audience you share with target media outlets. Look at your reviews and/or testimonials if you need help with this. What do people like about your book? How do they benefit?
  3.  Identify the most interesting and important facets of your book. A news release about a work of fiction has to elicit interest in the core conflict of the story. If your book is non-fiction, think about the top three tips or problem-solving actions you offer. Your points must be entertaining and informative.
  4. Present yourself as an expert. For a non-fiction book this is relatively straightforward. The author of a work of fiction should make it clear that he or she has extensive knowledge about items such as character-developing themes or the period and setting of the story. The idea is to convince the audience you something valuable to offer.
  5. Resist the temptation to tell the media about your writing and publishing struggles, marketing plans, or promotional activities. None of it matters to media subscribers, listeners or viewers.

These guidelines should be the foundation of your news release. A good resource to learn more about news releases can be found at the Direct Contact PR blog.

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James D. Kellogg

James D. Kellogg is a water resource engineer in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and the author of Radical Action: A Colt Kelley Thriller. His Right Angles opinion column appears monthly in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent newspaper.

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