You’ve just published or are about to publish a book and you want the world to know about it, right?
A press release is an effective way to capture the attention of the media and other organizations that may have a particular interest in your book…
IF you give news outlets, well, news.
Of course, you are proud of your accomplishment. Your family and close friends think you are awesome. (I think you’re awesome!) But to make the various media print, post, mention, or shout it from the rooftops, you need to craft your press release that:
• Follows professional formatting guidelines
• Contains all pertinent information
• Makes it easy for the media outlet to use your release
• Is compelling information for their readers, followers, listeners, or watchers
How to Format a Press Release for Your Book
A press release is usually reasonably short, 300-500 words, and ideally one page, two tops. Although press releases vary a bit, it contains these essential elements:
Include your name, address, phone, and email address, and website
It should read either FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE or FOR RELEASE ON [Date]
The headline is the gateway to getting people to read your release. Short, catchy, action-oriented headlines get the most attention. Use similar strategies for your release headline as you would a blog post headline to capture the reader and make them want to lean in for more. Conversely, you can state the purpose of the release like “Award-Winning Author Appears at Local Event” if you are targeting a local market.
City, State, Date
The city and state are in all caps, and the date is followed by a dash. It should look like:
ANYTOWN, DE, April 25 –
The first paragraph of the main content includes the basic factual information about your book and your abbreviated bio.
The second paragraph contains a detailed description of your book, its highlights, benefits, or compelling information.
End with purchase link or event information, including date, time, location, cost, and link to further details. Your paragraphs should be short—two to three sentences. Respect the time of the media folks you hope will cover your story.
To enhance the release, include a book review or quote from another author or reviewing organization and links to other media like photos or videos.
The end notation is either included as – ###- or –more- if there is a second page.
Here is a press release template for authors:
Examples of press releases for authors
Where to send your press release
It may be best to send your release to local media organizations first, as they love stories with a local bent. Work with a local PR professional or your state press association for a list of media outlets near you.
If you use a PR or newswire service, ensure you know where it is being sent. It may sound great that it is sent to 150+ sites, but if it’s going to Jugglers World and Hibiscus Weekly for your memoir about growing up in Arkansas, it won’t do you much good. Here are a few to check out.
When to send your book press release
If you only send one press release for your book, send it to be released during your book launch week. You may also send one if it corresponds with a newsworthy event or time of year. For example, a holiday recipe book may be featured at a local charity fundraiser in December. Local newspapers may pick up the press release as part of a larger story. You can send a new release each holiday season with other newsworthy information. If you have written about abstaining from alcohol, you may issue a release around Dry January and again during Sober October. You may also consider writing a press release as your book goes on pre-order and again during launch week.
How to maximize your press release
To maximize the press release for your book, read publications, print and online, for journalists and bloggers who write stories about the topic of your book. Connect with them on social media or by emailing them directly. It’s best to approach with the attitude of helpfulness. Their job is not to print or post what you want them to say. Your job is to understand what they need to do their job and then help them do it faster and easier. Strive to be their go-to person when they need information or insight on your topic.
You can also join HARO, Help a Reporter Out, to connect with reporters and bloggers when they are searching for sources for their stories. Although you’ll have to sort through many unrelated requests, HARO can be a source of many earned media appearances. HARO is part of Cision, a press release service.