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Thursday
Feb042010

18 Tips on How To Write an Effective Press Release

Your press release can make or break the promotion of your new book. How are you going to come up with effective release without taking a writing class or hiring someone to write it for you? Here you will find a few tips to write your press release.

  1. The words “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should appear in the top left of the first page above the headline. This will be the first thing the editor or producer will see, and it’s important for him to know that your book deserves to be at the top of his list. 
  2. Your contact name, phone number and email address should also appear at the upper right hand corner of your release.
  3. Type the headline, in all capital boldface letters, centered on the top of the page. This should emulate a news headline, and should summarize why anyone would want to know more about your book. It should also announce some item of news interest. Example: DOCTORS CURE CANCER!
  4. A dateline should appear at the start of the first paragraph and should include the location of the news source.
  5. Remember that following the headline, the first paragraph of the press release should present the most important information for your book. It’s very important to catch the editor or producer’s attention early because if you don’t, he might not read the rest of it.
  6. The release should be no longer than two pages, double or one and a half line spaced.         
  7. Do not use typefaces that are hard to read. Use Times New Roman or Garamond and avoid italics.
  8. Customize your releases for the media you are targeting. Mention any info of local interest in your lead paragraph.
  9. Spell every word correctly and pay extra attention to the spelling of names. Proofread your press release several times!
  10. Include any relevant quotes from your book, or from an expert in your field, that substantiates or reinforces the topic of the release
  11. Don’t use exclamation marks - these give the release an amateurish air.
  12. Do not use hyperboles. Avoid hyped up words like “fantastic,” “best-seller,” and “terrific.”  Be sure to keep your language simple, and keep your sentences short.
  13. Edit the release ruthlessly to eliminate redundancies or unnecessary text.
  14. Write all your promotional materials from a benefit point of view. In other words, clearly convey what the reader will get out of your book.
  15. After first mention of your title in the body of the release, include, in parentheses, the name of the publishing house and the publication date.
  16. Names should be written in full (i.e., Joe Smith) the first time they are mentioned and after that, you should simply refer to the last name (Smith or formally, Mr. Smith).
  17. At the bottom center of the release, after the body of the text, write -30- or ### to indicate closure.
  18. At the end of the release, list the publication date, page count, price, format (hardcover or paperback), publishing house, and ISBN for your book. Also include the book’s website address.

Following these simple tips will get you a press release that will successfully promote your new book. 

 

==>Amanda Free is a Communication Major at University of Louisville. 

Tuesday
Feb022010

A Macro View of Life Through the Lens of a Camera

Today we are very pleased to offer you a post from Carolyn Jones. Carolyn is an incredible photographer who looks at life through the lens of a camera and often times sees things that we all miss. This post is a great example of that. Make sure you also check out her gorgeous photos on her website.  

As I was pondering what to write about, the thought of stickies crossed my mind. You know, yellow stickies. I was awed by the thought that what started as a 3 x 5 sized yellow sticky has grown into all the colors and sizes and shapes imaginable. I was in awe, actually, of the creative minds that developed such a simple thing that has turned out to be commonplace everywhere.

So, I am talking today about wonder, about what I experience when I slow down and consider the things around me in great detail. It happens when I stop to see the leaves, to notice the buds that are forming and blooming around me.

For example, take a cat. I have one who was/is a feral and, as such, has been very skittish of me getting physically close to her in any way. It has taken five years, but recently, she has allowed me to get within one inch of her face, while I quietly call her name. That in itself is cause for wonder. But what really struck me was her hair, her coat, and the millions of individual hairs that I could see clearly from an inch away. I stopped as I realized just how many hairs are on an animal to make up their coat, a barrier from the environment. Think of it! Zillions! I thought about how intricate those hairs are. It is cause for wonder.

A similar experience occurred when I took the time to look closely at moss. Have you ever done that, looked closely at moss? There is a whole community growing there! I was in wonder as I viewed the small, star-shaped leaves, darker green in the center, fading to light green on the tips. Again, like the cat’s coat, tightly packed to protect against the forces of the environment.

It’s a lot like looking at the world through a camera’s macro lens. I have occasion to do this, as I am a photographer. The wonderful thing is, I don’t have to have a macro lens; I can see all this wonder with the naked eye. It’s more an issue of slowing down, becoming more aware of all around me. For me, I have had to become willing to slow down and look. Then I made the decision to do that. Finally, I practice remembering to slow down and find the wonder all around me, for it abounds everywhere… in ourselves, in others, in the world around us...

 

Carolyn Jones is an author and an award-winning fine art photographer who specializes in wrought iron gates and also in abstract images that are created when light and glass interact. Carolyn’s images have been combined with her prose in her first book, Opening the Gates of the Heart, to describe a journey of healing. In her most recent body of photographic work, Abstracts, Carolyn experimented with the magical and vibrant patterns and images produced by the interaction of light and glass.

Works from both of Carolyn’s collections have been featured in solo exhibitions and have been accepted in several juried art shows. Several of her abstract images have won awards, including first prize from http://www.guestsgallery.com for Down the Straightaway. Carolyn has been published in two photography books: www.photoworkshop.com’s book Photos That Inspire and Photo and Arts’ Abstracts 2007: Volume Two. Her image Color Burst was chosen for the back cover of  Abstracts 2007: Volume Two. Carolyn’s photographs can be seen on-line at www.gatelady.com or www.gatesoftheheart.com.

Wednesday
Jan272010

How To Build a Website For Your Book

Building a website for your book is a very important step in promotion. Don’t just add your book to an existing site - it will get much more attention if it has a site of its own. To save money, find a free website provider. These also typically offer page builders and templates to help you build the perfect website for your book. Be sure to choose a website address based on your books title, rather than your name. 

Once you’ve set up an address for your website, the next step is deciding what exactly should be on it. Here are some things you should be sure to offer your readers online:  

  1. Offer sample chapters. Giving visitors a taste of what they will be getting if they read your book is the best way to guarantee a sale. Be careful not to give anything away though – what is the point in buying a book if you already know exactly what is in it?
  2. Provide a place for reader comments and questions. Being able to communicate with your readers is very important. This connection to you will encourage readers to look into the work you do in the future. 
  3. Post testimonials and reader reviews. This is a very good way to encourage people to read your book. Once they have seen that other readers have enjoyed the book, they will be more apt to check it out for themselves
  4. Provide media resources. It is really important for the media to know how to get in contact with you to schedule interviews. Posting your email address or phone number on your website will ensure that they will know how to reach you. 
  5. Offer products and services based on your book. This is not just a good way to earn more money - it’s also a sure way to further promote your book. When readers order your merchandise, they will show it to their friends. This will likely result in more people buying and reading your book.

To get more attention for your website, you could start a monthly newsletter. Ask readers to subscribe to the newsletter on your website, and provide them with information on your book and any future work you do. Also ensure that people view your website by printing your website’s URL in your book. Follow these few steps and you will be well on your way to becoming a best selling author.

==>Amanda Free is a Communication Major at University of Louisville.

Wednesday
Jan272010

How To Eat Healthy Despite a Busy Schedule 

This year I was over zealous when setting my goals.  I planned to be more frugal, eat healthy, lose weight and reduce debt. Tackling all of the goals at one time has been a challenge. Since I am paying off debt I have been working more hours, therefore I have found that the goal of eating healthy and being a frugal shopper was more difficult with my busier schedule.

 I started off planning healthy meals which got me through the first week. Planning meals has always been a challenge for me even when my schedule was less hectic so it was no surprise that I still found it difficult. After working a long day I would go the refrigerator and stare into it with no idea what to make. I would end up making a prepared frozen dinner in a bag, a can of soup or order fast food. Unfortunately my lack of planning was neither healthy nor economical.  

The trick to eating healthy and keeping the grocery bill down is to plan the meals ahead and have the ingredients in the refrigerator when you get home. I love to cook but I hate deciding what to make for one meal let alone decide the menus for the week. I came across a great site e-mealz that is perfect for busy moms and families. You can get your meal plan for the week along with a shopping list of all of the ingredients you need to make the meals. The shopping list is even separated by location in the store so your shopping trip is easy.

If you are on a diet you can choose a low fat or weight watcher menu. If you are a vegetarian there is a menu designed for you. You can choose a menu for a family of 2 or 6. I not only saved money on my groceries by not buying unnecessary foods, but I am preparing healthy meals according to my diet. I no longer spend time in front of the refrigerator at the end of a long day hoping a great meal will fall out. I have almost reached my weight loss goal and I am well on my way to a healthier lifestyle. 

If your goal for the New Year is to eat healthy, save money or save time this site may be the answer.

Tuesday
Jan262010

Are We, Along With Words, Becoming Retronyms?

Evolution happens. Things can evolve over millions of years, or like language, words can change in just a few years, sometimes just a few months or weeks if the usage catches on quickly. While new words spring up all the time for completely brand new discoveries, concepts or things, what happens to the old words for objects that have evolved into similar, but new concepts? They become retronyms.

A retronym is a new word or phrase for an old word that was created to distinguish the old word from its recent form, use or version.

For example, analog watch is a retronym for the word watch. With the advent of digital watches, the word watch could now mean two objects. Therefore, the retronym phrase analog watch sprang up to refer to the old object which was no longer unique.

This change of language happens without most of us even noticing, mainly because most of us are constantly evolving along with language. Although it is happening right in front of our faces, unless we actually pay attention to it, we are blind to it. But it is fun to think of common words that we use now that have changed just in our lifetimes.

Other examples of retronyms would be: landline phone (needed because of the advent of cell phones); acoustic guitar (needed to distinguish from a electric guitar); World War I (needed when the world went to war a second time). We do not think about these changes because we evolve along with them.

Can you think of other retronyms?