How not to fill out a press release (but I feel obliged, so I tried anyway)

WHITNEY AWARDS finalist 1(I was sent this press release template in conjunction with being announced as a finalist. Having no idea what to do with it—marketing isn’t my strength—I’ve done my best to customize it. But as for sending it anywhere? Terrifying.)

THE FLIGHT OF THE WOUNDED FALCON NAMED AS FINALIST (because I’m guessing my category was fairly thin) IN 10th ANNUAL WHITNEY AWARDS

Whitney Award Winners to Be Announced at the Provo Marriott Hotel on May 5, 2018

[PLACE: Whitneyville, Maine. (Ah, that explains things! I live in WHITNEYville, therefore they have to let me be a finalist in the WHITNEY awards)]

[BOOK TITLE—(Umm, MY book title?] was named a Finalist in the General category in the 10th annual Whitney Awards celebrating excellent fiction by LDS authors. (Or celebrating authors living in WHITNEYville.)

The Whitney Awards program honors the best novels published by Latter-day Saint writers each year. It was founded in 2007 by novelist Robison Wells and named after 19th century Mormon apostle Orson F. Whitney, a writer who preached of the importance of literature, including his famous prophecy that “We shall yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.”

(Ironically, just DAYS BEFORE I got the notice, I posted this on Facebook:

not shakespeare

(I still ain’t no Shakespeare. We won’t even mention Milton.)

More than 200 books were nominated for consideration in ten categories: General Fiction, Historical, Mystery/Suspense, Romance, Historical Romance, Speculative, General Young Adult, Speculative Young Adult, Fantasy Young Adult, and Middle Grade. [AUTHOR NAME trish mercer–augh, I can’t even bring myself to capitalize my own name]’s [BOOK TITLE the flight of the wounded falcon–my caps button must be stuck] is a finalist in the [CATEGORY NAME general–but I feel more like a corporal] category. 

[PARAGRAPH ABOUT THE FINALIST AND HIS/HER ACHIEVEMENTS, INCLUDING A RELATED QUOTE. Crickets chirping followed by first words uttered as she read the email: “Oh . . . no. Oh no! How did THIS happen?” Panic attack followed. She’s good at panic attacks. Yeah, mention that.]

The Whitney Awards differ from other literary awards in that they are reader-based. Novels can be nominated by any reader (via the Whitney Awards website). Once a book receives five reader nominations, it advances to the judging round. The top nominees in each category become finalists, and are then voted on by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics, and others. (Oh, crud—this means REAL people will be judging it next, not just my friends and friends-of-friends. <grabs paper bag and starts breathing heavily into it>)

“LDS authors have been making their mark in fiction all around the world,” 2017 Whitney Awards president Peggy Eddleman said. “With an ever-increasing number of LDS authors coming onto the scene each year, bestsellers and award winners and new voices and seasoned veterans combine to make fierce competition in the Whitney Awards. The list of finalists showcases some of the best fiction out there, and is a notable literary achievement.” (I’ve never felt more like an impostor than I do right now. First, I worry that at the school I teach at, they’ll barge one morning and announce, “FAKE! Hand over your keys!” Now I have to worry about an email arriving with the headline, “Whoops, obviously we made a mistake.” I need more paper bags to breathe in to.)

[SUMMARY QUOTE FROM AUTHOR ABOUT THE FINALIST ACHIEVEMENT. (“Flabbergasted and gobsmacked,” are two of the best words in the English language. Along with “rumpled” which I just read this morning, but can’t think of how to incorporate it. And “groke.” That’s all I’ve got. Do you have another paper bag?)

Winners will be announced and the awards presented at the Whitney Awards gala held at the Provo Marriott Hotel on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at 7:30PM, following the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference. (I’ll be waving vigorously from my house in Maine, then hiding under my bed until it’s over.)

Details about the Whitney Awards and the list of Finalists in all categories are available at

(By the way–thank you. From the bottom of my quaking boots to the top of my dizzy head, I’m filled with an excited, tickling sensation that, now that I think about it, is more like nausea. But a good kind of nausea, that happy-ill feeling that makes you double over in sickening joy and . . . urp–I gotta run . . . But thank you, still. Where’s my paper bag?)

12 thoughts on “How not to fill out a press release (but I feel obliged, so I tried anyway)

  1. Holy smokes, Trish!! That’s awesome! I’m severely disappointed you won’t be coming to accept an award which I’m sure is yours. I will be at the conference but not the awards…it would have been fun to see you!!! Well done.


  2. I am neither a friend or a friend-of-a-friend and I love your books. I started trying to read another LDS fiction book while I was waiting for book 7, but it was insufficient so I read your series over again. I love the plot, and the characters, and most of all the way it makes me think about my own life.


  3. If you are truly at a loss regarding the press release, I could help. I am medically disabled now but I used to be a broadcast journalist then in public relations/media relations. If you would like to discuss, my email is


    • Thank you so much! The real problem is that I hate drawing attention to myself, so I usually don’t. But if I change my mind, you’ll be the first to know!


  4. This is exactly why you deserve to be nominated and recognised! Your mind is far above, and so is your writing. I can’t wait to hear how it all goes down… 🙂


  5. We are our own worst critics aren’t we?
    I for one am super excited for you, even though I don’t know you personally. I’m totally cheering you and my favorite series on!
    I believe your writing is excellent, and very deserving of an award. It’s a wonderful balance of action, adventure, suspense, real life, real love, and best of all… compels thought.
    Can’t wait to hear the results!


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