Thursday, October 4, 2018

How To Craft A Brief Message For A Long Book

Authors – and some book publicists – often have trouble distilling a 260-page book into a press release, an email pitch, a phone pitch, or an elevator pitch.  It can be challenging to take a book that might be based on your career, personal story or an important issue, and turn it into a marketable property with the use of just a few hundred words.  But the process is similar to crafting your social media profile or your resume.  Somehow, some way, you must boil down years of writing and events into a packaged presentation that successfully moves someone to take an action step.

So what’s the process for this?

First, think of your objectives.  A press release should appeal to the news media and convince them to take a look at your book or website or to speak to you. The length of a press release can be between 400-750 words. It should include a headline, sub-header, a quote or two from the author and five-six bullet points that highlight the most interesting and alluring messages that invite the media to want to explore.

An email pitch is much shorter than a press release, and it should be customized to the recipient.  Take into consideration if you have a timely newsy topic.  Think of the outlet’s medium  – you pitch TV differently than a blogger.

Your phone pitch is verbalized.  Think 100-150 words and about 15-20 seconds is what you have to make an impression before the person you talk to starts to draw conclusions on his – or her interest in the story being offered.

The elevator pitch is similar in length to the media phone pitch but the audience is different.  Your elevator speech is for the non-media-bookstores, libraries, consumers, and anyone else you hope to market to.

The elements of these four things share commonality – you need to summarize what’s in the book, the authors key credentials, and it all needs to get tied into something that’s relevant to the individual you are communicating with.

Start the process of crafting those four items by compiling a list of ideas and facts – first about the book, then about yourself. Eliminate the least important stuff.  Try to combine things.  

For instance, if you wrote a health book and your credentials include 12 years at a hospital, 16 years in private practice, five years in policy or administration etc, just total it up and say the book’s based on your professional experiences of 30 + years as a practicing internist hospital administrator and policy consultant.  

If your book tackles 12-15 issues, narrow it to four or five ones that have the biggest appeal.  Don’t get caught up in details and specifics.  First lead people to want to hear more, then back it up with stories, examples, stats, facts, and the like.

You can do it.  Your 60,000–word masterpiece can be summed up in 600 fewer words. 

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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