Monday, June 17, 2019

Why Your Amazon Book Description Makes For A Bad Press Release

Many authors and some publishers put together what I call a lazy press release.  They take copy from their book jacket, back cover, or Amazon description, and slap it together with a headline and contact information and think they have a press release.  What they have is a failure to customize.

Copy written for the consumer is not the same as what belongs in a press release for the news media.  Sure you are talking about your book in both cases, but certain things belong in sales copy vs. a press release and vice versa.  One must write for their reader. The reader of an Amazon description of a book is a potential consumer; the reader of the press release is not looking to buy a book, but rather to determine if he or she should interview the author or consider the book for review.

The media wants to know, in an economy of words, the who, what, when , where, how and why.  The facts, unadulterated.  They want to know what makes the author a qualified expert, what the book is about, and what the author can discuss as it relates to the subject matter and not just the book.  The media wants to be fed why the book is relevant to what it covers.  It wants substance over hype.

Book jacket copy is one big advertisement for a book.  Its sole purpose is to lure you in and make you want to buy the book.  It’s a colorful commercial.

Press releases tend to follow a certain template of:

·         Headline.
·         Subheadline.
·         Introductory paragraph.
·         Author quote.
·         5-6 bullet points on what an author will say on a topic.
·         Paragraph summarizing author credentials.
·         Concluding point, author quote, question, or statistic.

There are other versions of this format but the media wants it short and quick, with the most important to least important facts.  They don’t want bullshit, avoidance of the obvious, or overstated claims.  They don’t need to be entertained – just interested.

However, ads, book listings, or book jacket copy is intended to draw people in emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.  The idea is to state how one benefit from the book, whether it be fulfillment of a need or a desire. A book has to either inspire, inform, enlighten, or entertain – or combinations of two or more of these.  Your non-press release presentation should include visuals and read as if a friend was recommending a book to you.  Ad copy has razzle dazzle – the press release provides news, facts, and insights.

A press release is not website text, Amazon listings, book cover copy, or an advertisement.  It’s unique and customized and your advocate for media coverage.  Don’t blow it!


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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 ©2019. 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.

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