Advice for Authors

1. The best one, two or three paragraph publicity releases summarize the contents (nonfiction) or storyline (fiction) and if done well enough are a wheel that doesn't have to therefore be reinvented by the reviewer in the crafting of a review for publication or broadcast. What a good reviewer will do, in addition to utilizing the publicity release in this manner, is to then add a line or two or three of personal commentary or advice to the reader of the review as to the value or "recommendability" of the book the prospective reading public for which the book would be particularly appropriate.


2. Editors of newspapers, newsletters, magazines and journals are on deadlines and must occasionally resort to "filler" to round out the column of a page, or the page of a section, or a section of an issue. Many editors resort to volunteer reviewers, some of whom wouldn't know a deadline if it were to bite them on the ankle! So an editor's resorting to incorporating the publisher's publicity release info is an ideal tactic to use as a fall back measure to getting an issue out on time.


3. Still others reviewers are but fledgling in the art and craft of book reviewing and what they turn in must be augmented by the incorporation of publicity release info. Don't forget to include the ISBN number and the suggested retail price. Providing a brief overview of the book rather than the author's background would make a whole lot more sense to an editor.


4. Publisher originated publicity releases should be written so as to be able to be printed verbatim in the pages of a local newspaper or a national newsletter. Think of it this way -- you were able to reach that one person with the apparently persuasive information of why your book should be bought, taken home and read. That the one person you reached was then able to turn around and provide that same persuasive information to hundreds, perhaps thousands of other people is a cause for publisher celebration.


The better crafted your PR; the better your chances of that "publicity release chain reaction" will take place.


James A. Cox is Editor-in-Chief of Midwest Book Review

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