Finally finished your book? Writing it may have seemed like half the battle, with layout and editing following shortly thereafter. But, guess what?
You’re still not done. The real work has only just begun!
You have to get the word out by creating a press release. Crafting an eye-catching press release is vital to getting your book into the hands of critics, reviewers, and readers. So, how does an author write and distribute a press release? We’ll address both questions in this article, offer some practical advice, and provide additional solutions for authors releasing their books out into the world.
When you’re ready, you might want to checkout eReleases, one of the better press release services we have used. Until then, let’s deal with writing your book press release.
What is a Book Press Release?
Essentially, a press release is a pitch to journalists and other media-savvy individuals that convinces them to write about your work (your book) or you (the author). Typically, a press release is written about current events. For instance, a book released two years ago isn’t newsworthy. However, a new edition of a book or compendium of past works to be sold in the present is newsworthy. See the difference?
A press release can come in a variety of forms, whether it is through email, snail mail, and other types of media. Some authors have chosen to make Youtube-oriented press releases. It doesn’t matter what the medium is—as long as you and/or your work get talked about.
Guidelines for a Book Press Release
Most book press releases follow a certain ordered structure:
- Body paragraph(s)
- Boiler Plate (final paragraph)
- Contact Info
There are a multitude of free examples to see what a book press release looks like. A simple Google search will yield many results. However, you may notice that these examples vary in terms of content, layout, and practicality. There is no consensus, as journalists have different tastes that factor into whether they deem one book more newsworthy than another.
That being said, we can take a look at what makes an ideal press release.
The Importance of a Well-Crafted Headline
The headline of a press release is your first and most important opportunity to grab the reader’s attention. And just like in life, you can only make a first-impression once, so make it count. The purpose of a good headline is to get the reader interested in reading the rest of your press release.
There are a number of approaches, whether you choose to ask a question (“New Book Asks: Does Your Car Have a Soul?”), state the facts (“Wounded Vet Writes Post-war Memoir”), command the reader (“Upgrade Your Life Now!”), and so forth. You want to convey how your book should make the reader feel from this information. Avoiding trite language, like “best”, “revolutionary”, and so forth can increase the odds that journalist won’t pass on your book.
Sometimes a title of your work just by itself is enough to garner interest. For instance, the book “Impossible to Ignore: Crafting Memorable Content to Influence Decisions” (by Carmen Simon) says just about everything the book is about in 9 words.
[Note: When you’re emailing your press release, copy + paste the entire headline into the subject of the email, as well as including the headline at the top of the email’s body.]
Choosing an Angle and the Five W’s
While writing a book is a significant accomplishment for just about anyone, don’t expect the rest of the world to feel that way. The body of the press release should have a unique angle, whether that comes from your unique biography and background, or the subject matter of the book. What makes the book stand out from the crowd? Alternatively, what makes you stand out? The more you’re able to pique interest and defy expectations, the higher the probability of getting your book written about.
Once you’ve chosen the angle, try to convey the Five W’s (who, what, when, where, why) of your book as succinctly as possible. Typically, these are all covered in the first paragraph. Also, avoid blatant self-promotion. Instead, let your summary of your book do the talking.
Press Release Boilerplate
The final paragraph of a book press release is known as a boilerplate. It should act as a miniaturized version of your biography. While the first paragraph should be pitching the book to potential audiences, the boilerplate pitches the author. If you have an interesting background, unique hobbies that may support or contrast your book’s subject matter, associated websites, relevant work (i.e. published article, peer-reviewed journals) or press, be sure to include this too.
Your boilerplate might even be already written. If you have a website, chances are your “About” section, whether it is about you (the author) or the book/series, has all the key information that you need to craft your boilerplate. The back matter of your book functions this way, too. Queries also function very similarly to a book press release, so if you’ve been shopping around for a literary agent (who would typically function as the person crafting your press releases), then your work may be done. Simply take the existing content, edit it to length, and voila!, you’re set!
End with Contact Information
Below the boilerplate, you should provide contact details, including your name, address, email, phone number, and so forth so that journalists can get in contact with you if they have more questions.
Images in Press Releases
It is mandatory to include a picture of your book’s cover somewhere on the press release. After all, your cover functions in the same way as a press release does—to get a reader’s attention. Many authors choose to include a picture of themselves, but this is optional and may detract from your cover image. If you do choose to include an author picture, be sure to have a professional image.
Distributing Your Book Press Release
Once your press release is written, it’s time to get it into the hands of those who want to write about it. There are essentially two routes: DIY or hire someone.
If you choose to go the DIY self-publishing route, remember that this responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders. You are the PR department. Any method at your disposal can work—emailing journalists, mailing physical copies out via snail mail, mailing lists (i.e. Mailchimp), links to your website.
Bear in mind that it self-promotion can frankly be a lot of work. If you like to concentrate solely on writing, it may be in your career’s best interest to delegate the task.
Free PR services can be tempting, especially if you’re working with a tight budget (then again, who isn’t?). Trying to separate yourself from the amateurs may have you seeking these services. There are of these services, which offer a variety of promotional platforms to get your press releases in the right channels. Some of these include:
However, it should be noted that if you’re seeking these channels, it’s a good bet that your competitors are also using these services. After all, they’re free (at least to start). Search engines and journalists have noted that these free services tend to overly spam and fudge SEO rankings to bolster their rankings. Free doesn’t really cut it when you want unique results, nor would you want to be associated with an unsustainable business model.
That’s where paid services like eReleases.com come in handy. Instead of having your book fall into irrelevant inboxes, eReleases offers 100,000 unique media outlets, from radio stations to newspaper to influential blogs. And because they don’t have a spray-and-pray marketing strategy like the freebies out there, you can ensure that your marketing has the maximum impact.
At this point, you now have a solid grasp of what it takes to craft a compelling press release and how to distribute it. The only thing left is to start sending your press release! Good luck and happy promoting!