Monday, May 29, 2017

War Story

TV coverage of Memorial Weekend has been full of BIG numbers: the hundreds of thousands lost in our wars from the Revolution to Afghanistan.

(Did you know about the Sheepeater Indian War of 1879? One American soldier died. The deadliest war, so far, was WW2, with nearly 300,000 American combat deaths. Nearly 2,000 GIs have died so far in Afghanistan combat. How high will we allow that total to go? If we quit at 5,000 or 50,000 will the hell-hole be any better after our troops come home? I doubt it. The country may be not worth saving and not savable. Did we "save" Iraq? Sometimes I think we should rescue Afghani women and children, kill the adult men and turn the country into a giant parking lot, opium farm and ski resort.)

But war is much more than losses of thousands, it's the loss of ones.

By telling stories of individual, personal losses, maybe we can minimize future wars.

I graduated from high school in '64 and eagerly looked to our first reunion, strangely in '71.

I was really looking forward to hanging out with a good friend, but he wasn't there.

I learned that "B" was killed in Viet Nam. I blame his death on LBJ, not the Viet Cong. This was a kid I expected to—and wanted to—grow old with. I was cheated. His family was cheated. The country was cheated. Most of all, he was cheated.

We are long past the time to stop extending wrongful, hopeless wars with the pathetic desire to prove that Captain Sue or Sargent Steve "didn't die in vain." They probably did—and that's a tragedy that continues.

I'm not saying the following to demean anyone who served in the military: most of our dead and wounded warriors are victims, not heroes. Their deaths and injuries do not become heroic or justified because of the harm that befalls others after them.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Authors: a book's press release is NOT an advertisement

The press release—sometimes called a "news release" or "media release"—is a vital part of book promotion. It's used to attract the attention of writers, editors and book reviewers who may become allies in creating publicity which can sell books.

Remember: the mere publication of your book is not usually sufficiently newsworthy to impress anyone. Only the most desperate small-town weekly would publish an article with the headline: “Local Woman Writes Book.” Your news release needs a news hook. The hook is the main point of your release. It can be a theme, statement, trend or event on which you “hang” your news release. It’s also a hook with delicious bait on it that you hope will attract the attention of writers, reporters and editors.
  • To grab the attention of newspeople, you have to think and act like one of them.
  • You need to be a partner, not just a salesperson.
  • Authors—like news media—make money by attracting readers.
  • Your press release must provide important or useful information, or entertainment.
  • Think like a news writer, not a book writer. If you were reporting news or providing entertainment, what would interest you and your readers?
  • A press release should be newsworthy and read like a news story—not an advertisement.
  • It should adhere to fundamental journalistic standards, using the five W’s and one H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How).
  • Write something that you’d like to read about your book if someone else wrote it.
  • Many websites automatically redistribute press releases.
  • Some “reviewers” are too busy or too lazy to actually read your book, and will merely rewrite or reprint your release. Make it as effective as possible.
  • Your release must be accurate, both in terms of its content, and in grammar and spelling. Don't embarrass a newsperson or reviewer who attaches her name to it.

The release that follows is a gushing advertisement, not news, and apparently has not been "picked up" by any online media.  (My "pregnant" news was picked up.) The release also has some silly errors. The book is also terribly overpriced—$29.95 for the hardcover, $21.95 for the paperback.

For Immediate Release

“Confessions of a Disco Queen…30 some years ago”
Marries Fashion with Passion

Set in the tumultuous time of the 1970's, “Confessions of a Disco Queen…30 some years ago” dares to ask provocative questions about race, culture, and the human need to connect.

Sensual and heart breaking in turns, author Veronica Page takes readers through the true story of her desire to succeed in the fashion industry amid the hot box of racial struggle in New York City. Told in the tune of disco against the sweeping backdrop of elaborate fashion shows, “Confessions of a Disco Queen…30 some years ago” immerses the reader in the day to day hardships of living as a black woman in a world that balks at both her gender and race.

Page weaves narrative with her own published newspaper articles, lush fashion descriptions with steamy romance, and cruel reality with laugh out loud honesty to create a novel that brims over with life.

Deidre Berry, author of The Next Best Thing and All About Eva, says, "Pazge [sic] has lived a life worth reading about. Hold on to your seats as she takes you on a thrilling ride through New York City during the decadent disco era."

To arrange a book signing, radio and print interviews, please contact Managing Partner, Talib Tauhid at or call (480) 208-5510. Or to purchase the book, visit the website or or


To learn more about press releases for books, spend a buck on The One-Buck Author's Press Release Book.