Friday, May 13, 2011

Gearing up for Sales

While my manuscript continues to be formatted for eBook publication, I'm gearing up to promote THE TRAZ so that it will make me a rich and famous author.

Aside from becoming extra active on my social networks and my blogs, I posted an excerpt from THE TRAZ on my website.  I also began creating a pre-release press release, designed to stir advance interest in my book and net me some interviews and media coverage. 

I have a strong desire to call such publicity "media releases" or "news releases" because way back decades ago when I was a journalist,  TV and radio reporters objected to the phrase "press release" as 'press' refers only to print media.

Today, it seems "press release" is once again the phrase in vogue.  During my years as a reporter and editor, I gained lots of experience with press releases--reading them.  I quickly discovered that writing them requires an entirely new set of skills. 

Writing a press release is not at all like writing a news story.  Nor is it similar to pitching your manuscript to an editor or publisher.  It is not like tweeting or facebooking.  It's just...well, it's just it's own kind of writing.

Firstly, I needed a catchy headline, short but informative.  Accurate but alluring.  One promoting THE TRAZ but not obviously so.

Below that catchy headline I needed a sub headline--a short and sweet something to keep the reader reading.

Then I needed to remember to put in the dateline (ST. PAUL, AB 19 May 2011).  In my journalistic days, the place in the dateline was always the location from which the reporter was writing--not necessarily where the action was occurring.  I understand that not all media outlets still follow that rule.  Whatever the case, what better town to put in the dateline than my adopted home of St. Paul?  Surely that will catch the eye of the local newspaper and radio station and get me an interview or two.

For my first sentence, I needed an exciting summary of the press release and I had to keep in mind my target readership.  Although THE TRAZ is being marketed as YA, it won't be young adults receiving my press release. 

This introduction needed to excite media people, educators, librarians, child support people, and book reviewers. 

Following all that, I found it fairly easy to complete the body of the press release--describe the book (I used the back cover text that I'd  already prepared), include wonderful blurbs from famous Canadian authors (which I already had solicited and received), inform people how to buy the book (which they can't do yet, but contact me and I'll set you up), and paste in my already-prepared author bio.

I highlighted my contact information for those wanting to request interviews or further information.

I polished it all off with some visual and auditory stimulation: my video trailer, the picture of my book cover, and my author picture.

Now the press release sits on my hard drive, its tab on my tool bar.  Every hour or so, I open it and proof it again.  I email it to a few friends for comments and corrections.

While it ages and improves, I research the big WWW for press release outfits to which I can email this promotional masterpiece.  I learn how to format according to each company's guidelines.   I collect the contact information for media outlets in all my past and present home communities.  I play Bubble Shooter, check my email, and bemoan the facts that it's Friday the 13th and Twitter has disappeared from cyberspace.

I set the release date for Tuesday May 17th (as Mondays are generally the busiest news days of the week and my press release may be overlooked) and hope that by then I can Tweet about the latest step in my seemingly endless journey to eBook publication.

Eileen Schuh, Canadian writer


Jenny Milchman said...

Best of luck with TRAZ, Eileen! Sounds like you are really getting it off on the best possible foot--the whole multi-media approach to a press release. Thanks for sharing your strategies.

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thanks, Jenny, for visiting. I'll keep everyone updated.