Writing a Press Release for your Book

Copy of press photo taken by newspaper photographer after sending in my press release.
Copy of press photo taken by newspaper photographer after sending in my press release.

So you’ve published a book, congratulations, but now you want to let everyone know. One of the most basic ways for doing this is through a press release. With luck, a press release will result in an item in your local newspaper or even on a local radio and/or T.V. channel. However, there are a few rules that you will need to follow.

The first thing to remember is that the reporter isn’t interested in helping you sell your book, nor in promoting your ego so avoid any form of hype or cliché or puffery about how wonderful you are or your book is. The reporter wants a story and the fact that you’ve just published your book is not really a story. Lots of people publish lots of books and these days, lots are self-publishing their own book. Yours is just another in a long list.

What you need is an angle. This angle can be a, why? Why you wrote the book? Why you self-published? A why relating to something in the content, something that makes a story, the story of why the book rather than the book itself.

In laying out your press release, do this on headed paper with your name, address and contact details at the top. You should also put, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE or a release date in capital letters.

This will be followed by the words PRESS RELEASE AT THE START followed by the headline of your press release headline. This should be on bold capitals.

LOCAL AUTHOR PUBLISHES NEW BOOK

is an example of a bad press release headline.

GLORIA’S DREAM TURNED TO REALITY

is an example of a good press release headline.

Local author publishes new book, ho hum, so what. Gloria’s dream turned to reality, what’s that about? That’s the author’s name by the way.

The second part is to use a sub-head. These are written in lower case and are extremely useful for further hooking the reporter into the story.

GLORIA’S DREAM TURNED TO REALITY.

Critics rave over new author.

Of course you will need a critic to be raving, or maybe use a useful and supportive quote.

Now you get into the body of the press release and here we are talking about basic journalism. The who, what, when, where and how of the story, just the basic facts without any hype or excess verbiage.

Gloria ****s first book published by ***, released on *** is now available through Amazon and all good book stores. Gloria will also be doing a book signing at ******

(Note that book signings do not have to be held at your local book store and arranging one to coincide with your press release will add interest to the story)

Further information can be added, but avoid all adjectival hype. A press release should also be written in the third person never using ‘I’ or ‘we’ other than in a quoted statement. Keep your press release to a single page, two as a maximum but no shorter than 250 words otherwise it will most likely be judged as un-newsworthy. There should be no HTML or other mark up language nor e-mail or other contact information within the body of the press release.

The end of the press release should be marked with the word END or the symbol ###

You can add further information after the press release, such as the offer of further information. Your press release can now be sent to newspapers, radio and television stations and anywhere else you think it might do any good. Remember that with non-fiction, there are various periodical magazines that might take notice of a book on a related subject.

Of course the response you get will vary. Local media is more likely to take notice than national media and if it’s a busy news day you might get overlooked. Alternatively, on a quiet news day you might find yourself getting a half page spread as I did, + photo, with my book, The Ogre’s Fairly Grotty, published with profits going to Mill Ford School for children with special needs, attended by my daughter, so there’s the story behind the book.

Writing a press release offers the opportunity to gain free publicity so it is worth doing and anything worth doing is worth doing well. Give them a story and you’ll get the publicity.

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Comments 2 comments

Emmanuel Kariuki profile image

Emmanuel Kariuki 3 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

I have several books and no one told me I could write my own press release - till now. I always thought it was the publisher's duty to 'market' the book and to find journalists to review and issue the press releases. Recently, having seen how laid back publishers are, I have started to take an interest in 'pushing sales' and with advice from this hub, I will be writing my first press release for my "Trail of Mercy" released by the publisher (issued rather) in December last year - better late than never. Good advice - Shared!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Exactly that I did so for my first book thanks for enlightening me more on the subject.

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