The Indie Author’s PR Glossary: 20 Words To Know

The Indie Author's PF Glossary: 20 Words to Know image with scrabble background and and man sitting on a stack of books.

Boilerplate, bylines, embargo, pitches, press hits… the world of PR has a language all its own! As you step into the publicity spotlight for your book launch, here are the terms and phrases you’ll want to learn about all things PR.

B-roll: This is secondary background footage (photos or videos) often used in TV segments. A common example is footage of a person walking while the sound from the primary interview or story is playing on top of the footage.

Boilerplate: Often found in press releases, a boilerplate is standard language giving a brief history and overview of companies. Within the book world, it’s a company bio for a publishing company or even a PR and marketing agency, such as Pacific & Court.

Byline: A byline is the name of the writer of any article online or in print. As an author, your PR strategy should include bylined article opportunities. In P&C’s PR campaigns, we regularly secure opportunities for our clients to write essays, articles, or opinion pieces during their book campaigns. Bylines are often located between the headline and the body of the article, but could also be found at the bottom of the article. Researching bylines is also a great strategy for discovering the journalists who are covering topics and story angles related to you and your book.

Circulation: If you’re curious about a magazine or newspaper’s audience size, you’ll want to know the circulation – the number of copies a print publication sells or distributes. For digital or online outlets, the audience is based on unique visitors per month (UVPM). In our weekly PR reports to clients, we track both the circulation and/or UVPMs for press hits secured.

Coverage/Clips/Press Hits: Media coverage has many synonyms, it could be referred to as coverage, press clips or press hits. In general, a press hit is the organic content and media coverage published and shared with an audience. It could be many different things including a TV segment, a blog post, a book review, inclusion in a round up or list article, an author profile, or a podcast interview. These are all considered press hits.

Earned Media: Press hits are earned media, meaning there is never a monetary cost associated with securing the coverage. This is publicity gained through promotional efforts rather than advertising or branding, which is often paid for or sponsored content.

Editorial Calendar: Most print and digital publications create annual editorial calendars to plan out overall themes of content or themed issues. As PR professionals, we request these calendars from our media contacts to help inform our pitching strategy and to know the appropriate timing to reach out to an editor about a specific story or topic.

Embargo: To coordinate the release of breaking news or an important announcement, PR pros and media will work together on the embargoed story – meaning the story has to be kept secret until an agreed upon time and date when it can be published.

Exclusive: An exclusive means agreeing to give specific content or a story to one single publication. For books, we’ll agree to share excerpts as exclusives with top-tier media. This benefits the book to have it featured in a well-known outlet while also giving the outlet exclusive content no one else will have.

Lead Time: Most media outlets can be split into two groups: long-lead and short-lead. The lead team is the amount of time reporters need to do their research, reporting, interviews, writing, and fact checking for their stories before they are published. Most national monthly magazines, like Vogue, Cosmopolitan, or Real Simple, are considered long-lead and work four to six months in advance. Daily newspapers as well as weekly magazines like People, Time, or New York magazine are considered short-lead, working a few weeks or a couple months in advance. Print publications typically have longer lead times than online outlets.

Media Kit/Press Kit: How does a media kit vary from a press release? A press release is an important part of the more comprehensive media or press kit, which can also include image assets like a headshot and book cover, past media coverage, praise/endorsement quotes, and more.

Media Outlet: In general terms, a media outlet is any publication or broadcast program that creates and publishes original news and feature stories to the public through various distribution channels. Media outlets include newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and websites or blogs on the internet.

Media Tour or Book Tour: A media tour is a series of appearances and interviews booked in advance to promote the release of your book, often scheduled around the official launch week of your book. Similarly, you could also schedule a book tour with a series of author talks and signing events in various cities to help boost sales and increase media in different markets (cities).

Media Training: Before you start talking to the media in interviews, any author will want to consider media training. Ask yourself, what is your level of comfort and confidence in talking to the media about yourself and your book? Media training provides authors with the skills and practice to confidently speak about their work. By the end of your training, you’ll know your key messages as well as what you want the media and readers to know about you and your book.

Pitch: In PR, we’re sending pitches to our media contacts every day! These notes are well-crafted, highly targeted story ideas sent to an editor or journalist to gauge their interest in the author and/or the book. The strength of a pitch (the writing style and angle) can either make or break the chances of landing the story with these publications. A pitch can also incorporate photos, videos and often ends with a call to action.

Pitch Angles: In every campaign, we pitch different angles to the media to secure as many different stories about a book and author as possible. At the beginning of each campaign, we brainstorm a variety of pitch angles to present to the media throughout the campaign.

Press Release: In book press releases, we summarize the book, share a quote from the author on why they’ve written it, include sample pages, along with the author’s bio, the publicist’s contact information, and book details (price, trim size, ISBN, on-sale date). For anyone that has requested a review copy of the book, we always include the printed press release so they remember who to contact for any additional information about the book. Press releases are also distributed to the media for corporate announcements, industry news, etc.

Round-up: A media story that summarizes and highlights multiple products that fit within a greater theme or topic. An example can be an article that includes the best summer reads, fall’s most anticipated releases, holiday gift guides, etc.

Trade publication: A publication that targets people in a specific industry and is usually not of interest to the general public. In the publishing world, Publishers Weekly is the weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers, and literary agents.

Tier publications: Tier publications refer to the ranking of media outlets based on their reach, impact, and audience. Top-tier publications, also called A-list media, include national, mainstream outlets like The New York Times, TODAY show, or AARP magazine. B-list, or second-tier publications would include regional newspapers that still have a high reach but aren’t national. Local, community-focused outlets are considered third tier, or C-list.

We hope this helped you learn more PR lingo! Save this blog post and refer back to it anytime you need a quick refresher for these important words and terms.

Want to learn more about a P&C PR campaign? Send us a note to schedule a call!

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