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How to Write a Press Release

It’s an exciting time when you’re ready to launch your new book. From setting up signing events at bookstores, to emailing your newsletter list to let them know the big day has finally come, there are several things you can do to help market your book. One approach to spreading the word is to write a press release.

Before you write your press release, consider the audience. Are you sending this to the media to let them know about an interesting/entertaining launch party? Are you sending this to a network of bookstores and podcasters to announce your title is available and you’d like to speak on their platforms? Are you sending this to your newsletter mailing list that is more of a warm market? It’s always important to remember who you’re writing to and why, to help tailor your message.

The purpose of a press release is to promote something special and significant, such as your book release. In sending a press release to the media, you are hopeful they will feature you on a personal interest story or share your information with their network. If you’re sending the press release to bookstores, you may want to include information on how they can contact you to speak at special events and where they can order your book. Include your ISBN for this audience.

Create a spreadsheet for all of the media and people you would like to contact. In addition to their email addresses, find these people and/or companies on social media and engage with them on various platforms to keep your name in the forefront in positive ways. After you send your press release out, stay engaged and available for calls.

Here are some basic rules for writing a press release:

1. Keep it short: One page or 400–500 words in an email, written in 3rd person, as an outsider looking in. Use he and she, instead of I, or me.

2. Killer headline: Entice the reader to keep reading with a brief sentence.

3. Include images as links: Make it easy on your readers by giving them everything they need right away, should they want to contact you for publicity (headshot + book cover).

4. Include date and city: This is standard protocol.

5. The first paragraph: Sum up your main point in 50–100 words. Include Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

6. Subsequent paragraphs: Write 2–3 paragraphs to make good on your “promise” that it’s worthwhile to keep reading. Include a launch event (or series) here.

7. Short Quotes: These add value and interest. It is the only part of your release that journalists cannot change or edit.

8. Last paragraph: A succinct and informative mini bio about yourself: 3–4 sentences. (See “write a better bio”).

9. Include links to relevant articles (such as previously published work) and associated websites.

10. Include a call to action such as “buy the book here” or “come to this signing event” and include specific details. If they are going to share your information (the goal of the press release), you want to equip your audience to take action (buy books or show up at this event). Give them a compelling reason.

11. The end: Signify the end of your press release by adding “ENDS” at the bottom of the main content. Below this is where you should provide contact details, such as your name, address, email, phone number, and any other relevant information.

12. Do not include your press release as an attachment or PDF. These can get clumsy and are best avoided. When emailing a press release, keep it simple by having the headline in the subject line and the rest of the release in the body of the email.

13. Include links to your website and social media accounts in the signature of your email. Let your audience know where they can easily find your online presence.

Here are a few items for consideration to make your Press Release Pop:

  • A captivating "back story"

  • A unique topic

  • A professional award

  • An impressive milestone

  • A celebrity endorsement

  • Tying in your book with a “buzz” word e.g., millennials, gluten-free, or any other “hot topic” that a journalist will see and think, “Yeah, people will click that.”

Resources:

Press Release Template + Rules:

https://www.standoutbooks.com/book-press-release-template/

Write a Better Bio:

http://melissacassera.com/start-here/

Press Release Aggregators: PRWeb

https://service.prweb.com/

Press Release Aggregators: PRNewswire

https://www.prnewswire.com/