Smorgasbord Media Training for Authors – Getting a foot in the door – Press Releases and door knocking.

Despite the fact that it is very difficult to get the attention of the mainstream media, I still believe that you should make every effort to get your book noticed.  If you have done everything right – well written, edited, formatted and produced either in print, E-book or both, then it deserves your best shot.

This includes sending out press releases.

There are certainly a couple of things to consider.  Most self-publishing companies are not going to do your marketing for you.  You can pay quite a bit of money to a PR firm to compose and send out press releases to their contacts, and if you feel you will get a return on your money, then it is probably the most effective way to go.  They will compose your release and then direct it to specific contacts in the media who would be most interested in your genre or books in general. And, because they are a recognised PR firm they are likely to get it as far as the journalist in question.

Unfortunately today, unless you have a high profile name – either author or celebrity, your press release about your book, that you send in your own name, is unlikely to get past first base.  Short of changing your name by deed poll to J.K. Rowling, you are going to have to make sure that both the subject line of your email and the title of your book intrigues.

How can they find out more about you?

Also it is a good idea to have created some form of digital footprint so that if you peak someone in the media’s interest, they have access to information about you and your book before they consider contacting you.

I suggest that you use the usual social media – including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as your own website or webpage.  You notice that I put LinkedIn first as I use this one primarily for work and business related posts and my profile is geared towards my professional career rather than the more personal one on Facebook.

It is very important that you have an Amazon author page.. with a well thought out biography that is relevant to your profession which is a writer. Even if at this stage you only have one book… there will be others and if you do not have a website or blog this is a point of reference that someone searching for information is going to be checking.

You can also expect to be Googled.. This is where having an online presence, blog, social media and also interviews that you have done on other authors websites will be picked up.

Do make use of your contacts, it is a good idea to set up a page on Facebook for your new book and ask your contacts to like it.  You can put a lot of information on the page that can be accessed by anyone doing a search on you.  Never, be afraid to ask your contacts on any of your social media sites for help.  Your contacts, particularly if you have a few hundred on LinkedIn may in turn have someone they are connected to who might be able to help get your book noticed.  There are also groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn that may be interested in the subject or the genre of your book.  There are also groups of self-published authors and those who will promote your book for free.

You are reading this on a blog that has several ways that you can promote your books and also be interviewed.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Press releases and door knocking.

With any press release I suggest that you start locally, as I mentioned before the nationals will pick up on good stories that have attracted attention at a local level. However, if you decide to go for the nationals at the same time make sure you have researched the individual journalists or columnists who would be appropriate for your book subject.

You can find most of the information regarding local and national journalists online at the contact page for the publication or radio station (always include) and you can then send a personalised release.

If you are sending your press release out en masse, then make sure you bcc the email addresses, it is very annoying to find your email address plastered all over an general email.  Also your server may block multiple emails as spam and I usually keep emails to four or five addressees at a time. I also like to track response to those I send out and then tweak my press release if needed.

Also do not send an attachment as this can be bounced.  Instead include everything in the body of your email. You can create in a word document with your book cover pasted in and the body of your press release.  Remember this is a sales message however, that requires a call to action, so first and foremost you need to have a an attention grabbing headline for the subject box.

Think about what might make this journalist who receives hundreds if not thousands of emails per week to open yours.  Is there a topical link to current news – what is the Unique selling point of your book and your title. Dogs are loved the world over so to use as an example this press release is for Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story.

Make it easy for them to find information out about you and your book and to contact you if they wish to.  Keep the body of the press release to fewer than 500 words. You can expand on this if you put together a CV version to send out with books by post or in person. (mine below).

Press releases are usually written in the third person.

The body of the press release expands on the Who- Why – What – When- Where and How of your book. Front cover, back blurb – emphasise any unique points that makes your book different from anyone else.  Remember that editors and presenters are likely to see hundreds of emails and if you want yours to stand out it needs to be as interesting as possible.

Repeat details about yourself with links to websites include the exact URL and if you have a web page or blog then link to that too.

Make sure that you have all the relevant contact details so that you can be reached to take the issue further.

Press Release:  Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story by Sally Cronin – A book for all dog lovers – New on the shelves – 16th September, 2017

About Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story

The true story of Sam, a rough collie, written from his perspective. A tribute to a true friend and a genuine family member. Millions of families around the world believe that their pet, dog or cat, is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.

Sam shares his life, from three weeks old when he is chosen by his new mistress, through his early years living in rural Ireland with his best friend Henry, a feral and very smelly old cat. Then he tells the story of his adventure crossing Europe, driving two thousand kilometres to his new home in the mountains of Spain, where he discovers new friends and adventures.

He describes his life articulately, and with wry humour, and on occasion deigns to speak; emphasising his need for cheese and hard boiled eggs.

 

One of the early reviews for the book (ask someone you trust to do an editorial review for the book so you can use on publication for marketing purposes until you  have received other reviews)

Delightful Read  on January 3, 2015

Meet Sam and you’ll know why a dog is man’s best friend. Being the owner of a dog for the first time in my life I greatly appreciated Sam’s viewpoint on different aspects of a dog’s life ranging from dog language, going to the vet, car trips, walks, friends, love at first sight, scents, food and, most importantly, being head of security.

The book reads like a personal memoir with photos of the author, her homes in Ireland and Spain, the beaches and, of course, beautiful Sam . It is a pleasant, gentle read that warmed my heart. As far as the type of books where dogs are the protagonist Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story is a delightful read.

(Buy links for where the book is available in print and E-versionsAmazon Author Page, Barnes & Nobel, Smashwords etc. You can use a universal link but sometimes that can be a click too far for some journalists. They are more likely to click through to Amazon.)

Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story is available from all online bookstores including Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00GM0HPQE

Review copy available on request.

Also by Sally Cronin

Available Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

About the author Sally Georgina Cronin –   Wexford, Ireland

Sally Cronin is an effective communicator, project manager and coach with over thirty-five years’ experience at a senior level within key industries in Ireland, UK and Spain, including: Hospitality, Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Nutrition and Multi- Media broadcasting. Published author since 2001 with 11 titles in print and E books. Blogger of health and lifestyle topics which receives 200,000 views a year and an established presence on key social media sites of over 30,000 followers.

Availability for interview by Skype, landline or locally in person.

Contact details.
Email: Sally.cronin@moyhill.com
Mobile Telephone: XXXXXXXXXX
Landline: XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Any further information please contact or refer to the following websites. N.B. If you have a Facebook Author Page, then by all means add that, however you might want to hold off on sharing your personal FB or any other site where you might have shared photographs of you enjoying yourself a little too much on a night out!

Blog/Website: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

Press Release End.

Once you have prepared in word, check and double check.  Spelling, grammar, contact details etc.  Then get other people to read it.  Did it interest them?  Did it read well?

Do not be disappointed if you do not get a call back or a response.  You are competing with many other press releases on every subject. Quite a few will be from other authors with requests for interviews or even a mention. This is another reason to start locally as there are less likely to be as many authors promoting their books at the same time. Also whilst there is an accepted format for press releases the purpose is to attract some attention and thinking outside the box may just do that. Images of yourself and your book cover should always be included but remember not to attach.. always insert into the email in the body of the press release.

I have used PrWeb for Press Releases in previous years as a third party which can get you through more doors.. but they have got quite expensive.. However here is a useful link with recommended Free press release distribution sites and also some that are very reasonably priced.

http://bookpublicityservices.com/list-press-release-distribution-websites/

I also have a list of the Book Reviewers and Editors for most of the nationals in the UK.. it is time consuming to compile as I also source the editors of the online media, including editors of Women’s magazines. However, that list is then yours for any following books.

Dropping in with your book and your CV.

I did mention yesterday that you can get some real traction locally if you drop a copy of your latest book (and if you have more, then add two of your most popular) personally to your local media.  Your local community radio stations are often delighted to get an interview with an author on their doorstep, especially if it is a local story that you have written about. It has worked for me twice…and now we are back in Ireland I am about to try my luck with my next book.  I will be dropping the latest book and some of my others with a covering letter to two radio stations along the coast.. and also my broadcast CV as I would love to get back into radio part-time.

This is your chance to tell them more about you at the local level.  Are you involved in local charities, organisations, sports clubs.. Anything that shows that you are an active part of the community.  Something about your work background and interests.

Here is my Writing and Broadcast CV as an example.

Sally Georgina Cronin
Email Sally.cronin@moyhill.com – Wexford, Ireland

Mobile Telephone: XXXXXXXXXX
Landline: XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sally Cronin is an effective communicator, project manager and coach with over thirty-five years’ experience at a senior level within key industries in Ireland, UK and Spain including: Hospitality, Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Nutrition and Multi- Media broadcasting. Published author since 2001 with 11 titles in print and E books. Blogger of health and lifestyle topics which receives 200,000 views a year and an established presence on key social media sites of over 30,000 followers.

BROADCAST EXPERIENCE 2004 – 2012

Director Moyhill Productions a freelance production company offering cost effective video options to businesses, authors, musicians, schools and colleges. December 2011 – April 2013.

Station Director of start-up Internet television Station. June 2010 – November 2011 Unpaid consultancy position -News Editor and presenter. Programme development and production. Staff selection and training. Newsreader, Current Affairs editor – Chat show host.

Radio Presenter. Expressfm 93.7 June 2008-October 2010 – voted Best Female Presenter 2010 The Sunday Morning Show – The Thursday Afternoon Health Show – DriveTime.

Radio Presenter, Ondacero International Radio, Marbella, Spain, 2004–2008 – Guest-presenter of The Morning Show and The Main Ingredient, and producer and narrator for three Short Story series.

WRITING AND PUBLISHING

All my books are available through the publishing website http://www.moyhill.com, and Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2 also on Goodreads and Smashwords. Full details of the books with reviews can be found on https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books/

My first book was based on my journal recording my loss of 70kilos at age 42. Size Matters, Especially when you weigh 330lbs received both local and national media coverage at the time and in 2014 was converted into an E book that is now selling to a much wider audience. http://www.moyhill.com/sm

Just An Odd Job Girl was a light-hearted look at marriage, divorce and the aftermath for a woman who is 50 and traded in for a younger model. In both print and E book. http://www.moyhill.com/jaojg

Just Food For Health began life as a workshop manual for my clients and provides a comprehensive guide to the body, major organs and the foods that provide the essential nutrients needed to be fit and healthy. Only in print currently due to the length and the illustrations. http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story is the memoir of an articulate collie that pretty much changed our lives from the moment he arrived into our home aged 8 weeks. A book for all ages and written from Sam’s perspective which was usually a humorous one. http://www.moyhill.com/sam

Turning Back The Clock is an anti-aging guide which looks at the strategies we can all put into place to slow down the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the aging process. We are as young as we feel so being fit and healthy is important but so is the right attitude. http://www.moyhill.com/tbtc/

Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot is a men’s health manual which covers the specific issues that face men, particularly in middle-age. This includes sexual dysfunction, heart disease and other lifestyle related medical conditions. http://www.moyhill.com/FTV

Media Training the Manual was based on my experience in advertising sales management, retail management, broadcasting and publishing. It focuses on the development of a relationship with local media to assist in promoting organisations such as charities and small businesses but also individuals such as authors and artists. http://www.moyhill.com/mttm

As well as non-fiction books and novels, I published my first collection of short stories, Flights of Fancy which included the novella The Sewing Circle in 2014. http://www.moyhill.com/fof/

This was  followed in December 2015 by Tales of the Garden a collection of fairy stories that brings to life statues and areas of the garden with magic and sorcery. http://www.moyhill.com/tales.

Two more collections have been released in 2017. What’s in a Name? Volume one and two in eBooks, with a combined print version to be released in September 2017.

My current work in progress is Tales from the Irish Garden with illustrations by Donata Zawadzka – Fairy Tales for all ages. Also in 2018 – The Village Square – following the lives of villagers at war from 1939 to 1945.

BLOGGING

I have been blogging since September 2013 and cover subjects which include health, music, publishing and humour but there is a strong focus on the promotion of other writers. I have several long running author promotional series which are based around the virtual Cafe and Bookstore. I also promote other bloggers in the Blogger Daily.

Current series including Smorgasbord Laughter Academy, Cook from Scratch, Smorgasbord Health – Top to Toe and Odd Jobs and characters. Guest writers who contribute regularly include Jazz Singer, composer and musician William Price King, Carol Taylor, Julie Lawford and fantasy author Paul Andruss who is Writer in Residence.

My aim is to create an online magazine approach with wide ranging topics and genres of fiction.

Further details can be found at this link for my About Me page on https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

SOCIAL MEDIA

I have spent the last four years building up my presence on social media, particularly Twitter which is the second largest referrer to my blog. It is also vital as an author promoter, even in as a free service, to have a viable platform which provides a substantial potential readership.

Social Media connections.
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

A final few words

I am looking to get back into radio part-time so I have included my experience in that field. It is important that you too include any experience you have had as a public speaker or previous radio or television interviews.

Do not forget about local online news sites – I expect your area has one or two that are very popular and would be delighted to do an interview or publish and article about you.

Tomorrow – preparing for an interview on radio –Your press release or personal approach has been noticed and you get the call. 

Part one of this series: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/media-training-for-authors-introduction-dont-be-shy/

I hope this has been useful and of course look forward to your feedback.. thanks Sally.

 

 

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58 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Media Training for Authors – Getting a foot in the door – Press Releases and door knocking.

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  4. Sally I see you were on Radio Ondecero! Beverley Stewart took my ‘Letters from South Africa’ when I was still there and later I b’cast with Pauline from the small studio in Vila Joyosa, until they axed the English daily portion. Lots of good stuff in this blog – really helpful. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great info, Sally. I’ve found that press releases are more apt to be picked up locally if there’s a signing scheduled, so I’ve been trying to schedule talks early enough to get releases out. Thanks for the tip to drop books off at local radio stations. That’s a great idea. I have to get over my paranoia about being interviewed live. Ack!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dear Sally this is incredibly useful and comprehensive. I have book marked this for future refrerence, as I know I have to get my finger out but was simply not sure how to target it and manage it. By following you step-by-step advice I feel I will go a long way to getting a specific and targeted press release out to relevant people. Thank you for this amazingly detailed piece of work. Your mate and fan Px

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Riveting my friend! Author’s gold here! Thanks so much Sally. for sharing your own press release so we can see all to include. I, like Diana mentioned, and like many other writers, have stage fright, but I’ve filed this article in my media press file to have as a guideline as I endeavor to wet my feet somewhere in the future ❤ xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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  11. WOW, Sally. This is an extremely impressive show-and-tell that I have pinned to my [tongue in cheek] Waay Too Much Screen-time board and have bookmarked for the future.

    I’m totally exhausted after reading your vitae. I TRULY do not know how you manage to do all you do, including your generous support of the rest of us in the blogging/writing universe. Maybe when the heat *finally* subsides here I’ll have the energy to take some of your wonderful advise. For now, I think I need a nap. 🙂
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

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