Monday, August 10, 2015

Heidi Hormel: How to for a Press Release

 Heidi Hormel is a former innkeeper and radio talk show host. She has always been a writer. She spent years as a small-town newspaper reporter and as a PR flunky before settling happily into penning romances with a wink and a wiggle

Fill-in-the-blank press release

Press release are so last millennium. Wrong. Press releases should have a prominent place in your promo arsenal with an easy-to-share page of information. (I do mean one page -- about 250 words.)

So I promised fill in the blank, right? Well, there may be a little more to it than that but not much. Here is the general structure that can be used in a newsletter, on Facebook, for reviewers, etc.

TITLE: The title should clearly convey why you’re sending/sharing the release.

Example: Debut Author Releases First Book, ‘Love Re-ignited’

FIRST PARAGRAPH: The traditional who, what, where, and when will give the info readers need to know.

Example: Debut romance author Heidi Hormel releases “Love Re-Ignited”* on May 14, a book that has been noted as “gripping and heart-wrenching” by reviewers.

SECOND PARAGRAPH: Here’s a good place to add how to get your book, any discounts, etc. Or for a signing, explain the location and whether an RSVP is needed.

Example: Hormel’s book is available through Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and ABC Publisher in both print and electronic formats. A special release price will be available through May 31. For more information, visit her website: HeidiHormel.dragon.

THIRD/STORY PARAGRAPH: A short paragraph about the plot of the book. Depending on your own personal backstory, this paragraph and the FOURTH/AUTHOR paragraph could be swapped (Remember the inverted pyramid? The most important info goes first).

Example: In “Love Re-Ignited,” fire-breathing dragons take human form once a millennium to find a mate. For two dragons who have fought for hundreds of years and are now mated, there problems have just begun. They must solve the riddle of the Sphinx to save their race and the Earth.**

FOURTH/AUTHOR PARAGRAPH: This is the brief bio space, which may be of special interest to hometown media or others based on your background.

Example: Hormel has been named an author to watch by the RT Book Reviews and is a former astronaut who became a writer after three successful missions to the space station.

FIFTH PARAGRAPH: This final paragraph is always a re-iteration of contact info and serves as a call to action—make sure that readers are clear on what you want them to do.

Example: To purchase “Love Re-Ignited” or to find out more about Heidi Hormel, visit HeidiHormel.dragon; her Facebook page (Heidi Hormel); or her Twitter profile (@Heidi Hormel).

Easy, right? This is truly the most basic of releases, but it provides a wealth of uses because you’ve broken your material into easily read/digested bites. Take the material here and use with abandon.

Heidi Hormel’s debut contemporary Western, THE SURGEON AND THE COWGIRL, releases on June 1 from Harlequin American with a connected second book, THE CONVENIENT COWBOY, released Aug. 4. Visit her at; on FB, Heidi Hormel, Author; or on Twitter @HeidiHormel.

*Try to follow AP Style if possible that means book titles in quote marks, for example.
**I write contemporary romance… really … not one dragon fire-breathing or otherwise.

***Hashtags or -30- are the traditional means of indicating a press release is finished. This is just the way it is, but I’m sure End of Release would work, too.

Have you prepared a press release? Did Heidi make it seem really simple? Do you see the many venues you could use this prepared release for your book?


Heidi said...

BTW, I've used this style of release with a cover email to get newspapers to use my release as well as interest from TV stations. It can work!

Pat Hatt said...

Made it simple as can be. I think I only ever used a press release once maybe?

Lan said...

I am going to bookmark this page for future reference. Thank you so much for the informative post!

Christine Rains said...

This is excellent. I haven't done any press releases, but I know I should. Thanks so much!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you! You've made it easy for anyone to create a press release.

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Excellent tips! I'm bookmarking this site for future reference. Thanks Heidi :)

kaykuala said...

Most informative and very useful. It puts everything into perspective and very professionally done. Thanks for sharing Heidi!


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

This is super Heidi. You really helped a lot of us by making it so simple when it could be intimidating.
Susan Says

Heidi said...

So glad I could help out :-) If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Press releases can also be used as content for your website -- under news if you have a heading or even as a quick blog post (just make sure to make the links live).

Another tip: Do not embed art into the Word file. If a newspaper or TV station or similar wants art, they will usually ask for it and give you specifics on sizing (dpi, etc.).

Michelle Wallace said...

The thought of preparing a press release seems daunting.
Thank you for the break down, Heidi!

Robyn Campbell said...

Thank you, Heidi. You have broken through this otherwise locked door for me. This is a CAN DO now. I love how easy you've made it.

cleemckenzie said...

Nicely and easily presented. It's always helpful when someone who has tested something and succeeded, shares the information.

Yolanda Renée said...

Great information. I used press releases years ago to advertise the guests on my radio show, must get back into practice! They do work when done right.

Anonymous said...

Good to know for future reference!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm adding this to my writing folder. I WILL need this one day. :)

diedre Knight said...

Fantastic information! so glad you shared :-)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you, Heidi, for this very easy-to-follow example. I haven't done a release in several years, so your example is a great source. I'm bookmarking.

Heidi said...

Of course, I should have said to make sure and proofread your release...more than once. Anyone catch the typo/mistake in the Paragraph 3 section?

H.R. Bennett said...

Going to have to use this for later. Good little tips here.

Lux G. said...

Simple and straightforward. Thanks for the tips. :)

Blogoratti said...

Really insightful indeed, greetings!

Pat Garcia said...

Thank you so much. This article is so helpful and it is resource that I have bookmarked.
Pat Garcia