Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Authors Guide to Book Publicity - Getting Ready to Launch


Authors Guide to Book Publicity

Getting Ready to Launch 

Goals of public relations: To place reviews, features and mentions of your book in the media, that is newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, websites, TV and radio shows, podcasts. Ideally, these media placements should appear on or around publication date.

Time frame: Begin anywhere from one year to 4-6 months before publication date. This is IMPORTANT. Why? Because many media outlets require that you submit your pitch, press releases, review copies, for consideration anywhere from a year in advance to three months in advance. Continue until at least one month after publication or longer. (Note: I will work with authors and publishers at any stage of publication, including past publication date, but it is optimal to start 4-6 months in advance.)

Assemble Assets:

  • Jacket image

  • Author photo

  • Select related images 

  • DRC digital review copy / ARC or advance review copy / e-ARC / or galley. These are all roughly interchangeable terms for a digital file for the mostly finished or finished manuscript of the book. To be used for review consideration for long lead media outlets or other publicity and marketing purposes.

  • Blurbs / Advance Praise.

  • Author Questionnaire, if one was provided to you

  • Book description. Short, 1-3 sentences. And long, 300-600 words.

  • Author bio.

  • Think of 3-5 talking points/ topics or questions you would like to discuss with the press about your book or yourself as it relates to the book.

  • C.V. or resume.

  • Contacts /Friends. Develop a spreadsheet. It is possible to convert your Gmail contacts into a spreadsheet. Use this to email a book announcement, book news, or start an author newsletter

  • Handles for all your social media links: your website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and any other platforms you have, e.g. Substack, Blog, Podcast.

Research and target appropriate media:

Journalists, producers, editors, reviewers, bloggers. Make lists in excel format or other similar spreadsheets.  

Begin submissions for review, interview, feature, or mention in the media about 4-6 months prior to publication date.

A pitch letter or press release should accompany submissions for review.

These submissions for review are best handled by the publisher or a publicist. But even so, you, the author can and should contribute suggestions of targeted media and contacts as well as ideas for pitches, angles, story ideas and hooks. And you should discuss the best way to approach your personal contacts with your publicist.

If for whatever reason there is no publisher or publicist to handle publicity, do it yourself.

Quick tips:

*Remember to submit your book for review or mention to all alumni association publications as well as publications for any kind of association you may belong to - synagogue, church, school, university, book club, writers group, neighborhood group - any groups that might be interested or hospitable.

*Be sure to approach your local library or community center about a speaking opportunity. Do this as early as possible and schedule the event for some time shortly after publication date. This is important for the publicity as much as, if not more than, the attendance or book sales at the actual event. Invite local media to cover these events once booked.

*Continue research and targeting and approaching media up until and at least one month after publication date or longer if possible.

*If at first you don't succeed, come up with a new angle or approach to refresh or renew your press release and try again. Sometimes it can take multiple approaches to get it right and succeed.

*Try tying into current events, historical events' anniversaries, or national holidays and celebrations, if appropriate.

Special Notes for Mystery Writers:

*Check out Crimereads and try to think of an idea for an article to pitch to them.Submit ideas through Literary Hub, its parent website - guidelines: https://lithub.com/how-to-pitch-lit-hub


*Join International Thriller Writers. Only members can submit books for review.

*Consider joining Mystery Writers of America  or Sisters In Crime for more helpful information and resources.

*Look into submitting your book for mystery book awards: http://stopyourekillingme.com/Awards/

*Consider attending mystery book writers conferences such as Bouchercon, Thrillerfest, and Killer Nashville.  Look at their websites even if you can’t attend.

Social media:

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Goodreads, Bookbub, Library Thing, Amazon Author Central, YouTube, and a website are all important social media platforms.

At minimum, create a free author profile or page on each of these sites.

If you must limit yourself, for whatever reason, choose Facebook and a website. 

Amazon Author Central only takes a little time to set up once you have a book on Amazon.

Post frequently to all your platforms to build up your following online before publication date.

Engaging media assets you can create easily include:

Create, record a 1-2 minute audio recording using an app on your phone, introducing yourself, your book, and read a short passage from the book. Upload to social media for sharing. And/or incorporate into press materials or direct emails.

Same as above but video. Create, record a short video to upload to YouTube or create directly on YouTube. Use your phone or a webcam on your laptop or desktop.

Tools for the non designer to create attractive designs for social media posts include:



What to share on social includes:

  • Announcement of your forthcoming book
  • Announcement of publication date
  • Book cover image
  • News of events, reviews, media mentions.
  • Links to your website, publisher web site and book buying pages online including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.
  • Photos of events. 
  • 'Lifestyle' photos of your book in appealing settings, e.g. with sunshine, flowers and coffee or with thematically related items.
  • Links to stories in the media on topics related to your book.
  • Anything else you might think would help create interest in buying and reading your book.
  • You can be as personal or private as you like online.  To optimize interest in your book, best to focus on your book though and related topics only.

More quick tips:

  • Be sure to update your bios everywhere online to include your new book.
  • Be sure to feature your new book on the homepage of your website and include book buying links.

If you want to hire a freelance publicist, ideally you should start shopping for a publicist 4-6 months in advance of publication date.  (I will work with publishers and authors at any stage of publication, but a 4-6 months lead time is optimal.) You should ask for a public relations proposal for your book from 2-3 book publicists if you can.  

You should choose a publicist who specializes in books. It's a special set of skills, knowledge and contacts.

Your publicist can handle many of the tasks listed above such as researching and creating targeted media lists, preparing a pitch letter and/or press release, sending digital review copies and press releases to media, and more, including social media marketing, website building, and direct email marketing. She can also consult on general book publishing matters and questions you may have.


DRC (digital review copy) or Digital ARC (ARC is for advance review copy) or e-ARC are all used interchangeably or sometimes still called a galley, harking back to earlier printing technologies. The main purpose of these early review copies in digital format is to get reviews.

PUB. DATE or publication date means the on sale date.

OFF PRESS date means the day finished books are ready to be shipped to stores and precedes pub. date. Traditionally, off press date is six weeks before pub. date, in order to ensure books can be shipped to media, booksellers, events, and reach their destination by pub. date. However, the six week lead may not always apply.

MEDIA OUTLETS and MEDIA PLACEMENTS. Media outlets means all forms of media including tv, radio, magazines, newspapers, and online. MEDIA PLACEMENTS means a review, feature, mention or interview appearing in the media.


I founded Susannah Greenberg Public Relations in 1990, a firm specializing in book publicity on a wide array of subject areas.

Mystery/crime fiction/thriller/suspense authors I have worked with include Bill Rapp, David Carlson, Michael Niemann, Rob Bates, Leta Serafim, Rich Zahradnik, Burt Weissbourd, Andrea Kane, Terry Goodkind, Max Karpov, Reed Bunzel, Tom Meschery, and Mike Mayo.

I served as President of the Women’s National Book Association - NYC and on the board of the Women’s Media Group, as well as publicist for the Jerusalem International Book Forum and Jerusalem Book Prize.  I was a judge for two years for the Audies (Audiobooks awards). I helped select the Buzz Picks for BookExpo and organized and presented many panels at BookExpo.

I am invited to speak on publishing topics frequently, most recently at Hofstra University, Marymount Manhattan College, BookExpo, and CCNY. I have contributed articles to Shelf Awareness, Publishing Perspectives and was quoted extensively in the publishing newsletter Against the Grain. I have appeared on C-SPAN's BookTV and in Publishers Weekly news articles.

Susannah Greenberg Public Relations 


(646) 801-7477 / publicity@bookbuzz.com

Friday, December 20, 2019

How to Write a Press Release

How to Write a Press Release

by Susannah Greenberg,CEO,
Susannah Greenberg Public Relations

These are guidelines for how to write a press release. They are guidelines only, not rules.

The length of a press release should be approximately 600 words excluding headline, contact information, and bibliographic detail.

The text should answer the five basic questions of journalism: who, what, when, where and why?

The press release should have a newsworthy headline and sub-headline.

It should have a dateline. For example:

September 19,2019


It should have contact information of contacts whom the media can reach out to for further information - name, phone number, and email. At the bottom or top, the address of the organization, its website address, and its logo should appear.

It should contain 3-4 bullet points highlighting features.

It should contain, on average, no more than 3-4 links and 1-2 images.

Images should be captioned and carry credit lines naming the photographer or source of photo if needed.

Copy should appeal to the broadest possible audience and assume no background knowledge on the part of the reader.

Remember, all emails need to be mobile friendly, which means consider that most or many will read the email on a cell phone or other mobile device.  So, type size should be 13.5 pt at a minimum and use white space liberally.

Also, there should be white space around all hyperlinks as well in order to make it easy to click on them on the small screen of a cell phone.

Finally, consider sending a VERY brief pitch letter INSTEAD of a press release, and in the pitch letter include a link to your press release which you can make available either online or via a service like Dropbox or Box.

Here are more tips on writing press releases from a journalism and public relations site called Muck Rack:

Come up with a creative, attention-grabbing headline and sub-headline. Make sure the headline you choose both engages readers and accurately explains the context of the press release.

[Very important! My emphasis]  Get right to the point in the intro using an inverted pyramid writing style. Make sure the first paragraph of your press release addresses all the important points to follow.

Include one or two key quotes when possible. Incorporating quotes from expert sources is a great way to get key elements across in your press release while humanizing the content.

Keep your press release relatively short. Journalists typically don’t have a lot of time to closely read lengthy releases. Stick to the most important information.


Some news wire services which will help you write and distribute your press release are:

CONTACT: Susannah Greenberg Public Relations, (646) 801-7477, publicity@bookbuzz.com