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READ LIKE A WRITER, a teaching blog


By Christine Kohler

I am surprised by the number of authors who are baffled how to write a press release. But that’s really not fair of me, considering I have a journalism degree, worked as a reporter and editor, and did public relations for several years while in graduate school. That’s also so not fair of me because I can write an entire book and yet get befuddled at writing a synopsis, short summary or *shudder* a one-liner describing the book and hooking the reader.


Actually, writing a one-page synopsis or a short summary of your book is comparable in public relations to writing a one-page press release or a shorter version called a public service announcement (PSA). From my experience, you stand a better chance of getting a PSA accepted for publication in newspapers or newsletters. Like a hook for your book, the trick is to hook the editor into wanting to do a review or interview. You do that with a KISS: Keep it short and simple.


You wouldn’t dream of submitting a manuscript without your contact info at the top. Do the same with your PSA. Single space the heading and include this info:

PSA, CONTACT: Name, Phone Number, e-mail


Remember the Ws? Who, what, where, when. (You can drop the “how” in PSAs.) That’s what you need to include in a PSA. Here’s an example, just substitute your info for mine:

Join local author Christine Kohler for a program on the research behind her YA novel NO SURRENDER SOLDIER (Merit Press, 2014) at the Carnegie Library in Ballinger January 18, 2014.

That’s it for a PSA! Send it to the editors who publish briefs and events. If you post it on-line, add the state. Nothing is more irritating than seeing an invitation on Facebook and not knowing at what state the event will be.

Since a press release is longer, you can add two more paragraphs—one with a short book description, followed by one with your bio. But remember, KISS.

That’s it! Now, can someone help me write my elevator pitches?
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