A book press release is an important part of your book marketing effort, you know it, I know it, the guy next door knows it. With the right mindset and an understanding of industry conventions, you can write a magnetic press release that is too good to pass up.
But, first things first.
Let’s talk about the format of your press release. Format is crucial and is not to be underestimated. If you get the format right, you are halfway there. The other half is getting it in front of the right people: Click here to open our recommended press release distributor in a new window.
Download a book press release template
You can download my preferred book press release template here:
Now, I wouldn’t want you to go away without completely understanding how to correctly format a press release so here are a few tips to kick start your inner pr officer:
1. Keep it short and sweet
A good press release demonstrates word economy so make sure you don’t waffle. Stick to one A4 page or approximately 400 words if it is in the body of an email.
2. Headlines and email subject lines
Think of your headline as your first impression. A great headline promises the reader that it is worth their time to keep reading.
Headlines should be bold, brief and eye-catching.
If you are emailing a press release, copy and paste your headline into the subject line of the email. Just to clarify, your headline will be in the subject line as well as in the body of the email. Whatever you do, don’t put things like, “Read this” or “Latest news from me” in the subject line as it will look like spam.
3. Include links to images
I cannot stress this point enough. You need to make it easy for journalists to publish your press release so give them everything they need right from the start.
Make sure that you have a clear head and shoulders shot of yourself as well as a clear image file of your book cover available.
Don’t send these image files as attachments as they run the risk of being blocked by internal servers as spam. It’s better to include a line above the headline saying something like, “High resolution photos available from <your website> or <email>”.
4. Date and city
Remember to date the news release at the start so the journalist can see how old or new the story is. It is also customary to include your city next to the date.
5. The first paragraph
The first paragraph should sum up your story in about 50-100 words. You don’t have very much time to get to the point so make every word count. Avoid including boring self-promotion and focus instead on the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. These questions will get to the point of your story in no time.
6. Subsequent paragraphs
In the next two or three paragraphs you can add more detail to substantiate your headline and introduction. Remember, your headline promised the reader that it would be worthwhile to read your release so now is your chance to keep your promise.
7. Quotes add value
Including a quote in your press release adds value and an extra dimension. You could include a quote from a review, a reader, a blogger or even from yourself. Be very careful when considering which quote to include as it should not be too self-promotional.
Remember, your quote is the only part of your release that the journalist cannot change or edit, so use it wisely.
Your final paragraph should be a succinct and informative boilerplate. A boilerplate is typically 3 or 4 sentences long and acts as a mini-biography. This is your chance to include a few interesting snippets about yourself, touching on your passions and inspirations.
You can also include links to relevant articles (like previous published work) and associated websites.
9. Do not include your press release as an attachment or PDF
Attachments and PDFs can just get clumsy and are best avoided. When emailing a press release, you need to keep it simple by having the headline in the subject line and the rest of the release in the body of the email.
Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible for journalists to find what they need.
10. 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.
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46 thoughts on “How To Write A Book Press Release – With A Free Template”
I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I’ve emailed you the press release template in a few different versions so hopefully one will work for you. I’ve also updated the links in the article to include support for older versions of Word.
Good luck with your book.
I appreciate you offering this very helpful and informative information to new writers like myself.
Thank you for a precise and informative article. Fabiola
Thank you for this article! When do you suggest sending out the press release and how do you choose the audience?
There’s no broad answer to that, it depends entirely on your book, the media that you are targeting and quite a few other factors. You need to offer the media something that will help them entertain or inform their audience, so look for the overlap with your book.
Good luck with your book.
Thank you so much.
Your template and your blog are clear and helpful. I can get my press release done now! BIG SIGH OF RELIEF!
Dr. Rosie Kuhn
I’m glad this helped, Rosie. Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks for this. I’ve been doing PR for about 5 years, but never for a book. This helped me get my release done quickly and easily,
Thanks very much for this article Alex! It will be very useful as I prepare the press release for my book this week.
Dear Standout Books,
This is flora, I am going to self publish my book in one month, I have a favor to ask,Is it possible if I send you some information about my book you write me a press release? To be honest with you I am not able to do it by myself.
I appreciate your time, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Thanks for the comment. I’ve just sent you an email about this.
Hi, I found your post very useful. I have my first children’s book published and I needed a guide to make a press release. Luckily, I came across your blog post.
One question… Is it better to mail or email your press release, and if I send it to a newspaper who do you send it to?
Hi Randy, I’m glad you found it useful. That’s a good question. Most reporters get flooded with emails so a well targeted letter to the right person could help you stand out from the crowd.
You want to research each and every person you contact, so read the newspaper, magazine, blog etc. and see who writes book reviews for your genre. Alternatively, if there are no book reviews, you can see who writes articles that are aimed at your target market. Then pitch them a story that would appeal to their audience. This doesn’t have to just be about your book.
All you need then is a huge dose of luck.
So, on that note, good luck! 🙂
Do you ever take on projects like, working with a writer to come up with an effective press release?
at the moment I’m not taking on any clients for one-on-one press release work. But I’ll be sure to let you know if that changes.
I wrote a children’s book, The Three Little Urban Pigs, that went on the market in October, 2013. I am planning launch for sometime in March and need help with writing a press release.
Could you please help me? Thanks.
Hi Sharon, I’m sorry to say that I’m not able to work on individual press releases at this moment in time. All the best for your book.
Great information. I am about to write my first press release and this will really help.
Just wanted to thank you for the article and the template. It’s great information and will help me send out the best press release I can for my book release.
Will you tell me what’s wrong with this press release?
“ODYSSEY a JOURNEY TO FREEDOM”
LAS VEGAS, March 10, 2014
Author, Pablo Betancourt, has just released his new book “ODYSSEY” a journey to Freedom.
The grisly and compelling story of a young man who risked his life while pursuing his dream of freedom and survived for five days amid a violent storm in the murky waters of the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by sharks.
The book will be published globally through both online (Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, etc.) and 90% of bookstores in the US. In addition to global distribution, both hardcover and paperback books can be ordered and shipped through the distribution network within 24 hours of an online or bookstore order.
“Pablo’s literal odyssey at sea, and metaphysical journey through the travails of life, is a testament to the power of the human spirit and its relentless pursuit of freedom“
TAKASHI BUFFORD, Screenwriter (Set it Off, the Tiger Woods Story)
Pablo Betancourt lives now in Las Vegas. His book is a true story based on his personal experience. Read more at: http://www.odyssey-book.com.
Hi Pablo, I’m not able to do any work on individual press releases at the moment. However I would suggest looking at your press release and asking yourself if it gives people a reason to care. Remember it’s not about your book, it’s about how your story can entertain the media outlet’s audience. In your case, I would focus more on the story of your journey and why it will appeal to a particular audience.
As it stands you have almost as much space dedicated to the distribution of your book as you do the story.
Thanks a lot Alex. I got your point.
No problem, good luck with your book, sounds like quite an adventure!
Thanks very much for providing a Press Release template! Very kind of you!
I downloaded the Word doc. and wrote my Press Release, but I’m not able to delete the words ‘Standout Books’ in addition to all your contact info which is at both the top and bottom of the page.
Hopefully, there’s a way to do this. Your guidance as to how to go about it would be much appreciated!
This information is in the header and footer of the document. In Word you can access these by double clicking on either and you can then edit them as needed.
I can’t tell you how long I have been looking for help with writing a press release. Thank you for your assistance.
I appreciate these pointers you have provided. It’s ironical that as author’s many of us are incapable of articulating our project to interested (or disinterested) third parties. Your template and advice looks very sound to me, and I hope to implement it well going forward. Thank you, again.
Thank You Very Much! This has been an incredibly useful read!
Spot on Alexander. Your tips regarding the content and formatting are ace.
I do not understand why you’d add a Word template in this time of the social media press release. The modern approach is to pitch a succinct press release like you describe via mail, and to link to an online (social media) press release. Such a release can be linked to on social media and can get picked up by search engines. It’s excellent to increase your exposure. Here’s an example of how I’ve built a template for book releases: http://www.prezly.com/social-media-press-release-example/book
thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. The Word template is designed to give authors a structure to work with as they develop their own press releases. After that I completely agree with you that online press releases are the way forward which is why we advocate that authors maintain a media room on their author website which contains their press releases and provides a central point for all relevant information about them and their books.
I like the approach you’ve taken with your social media news rooms, especially the focus on making them optimized for mobile which is vital.
just in time
Alex – you article was wonderful! It made the task of writing a quality press release feasible for a new author. I will be sure to share your article.
Thank you for the template. Your information is very helpful.
What if you think the main marketing point is that the book is written by a semi-celebrity? I’m working with an author who is in 5 Halls of Fame, but he would only be known to older readers. The book would be appreciated by older readers but also mainstream readers. Should I still lead with what the story is about?
that depends on which media you are targeting, if you’re targeting media with an audience who will know the author then that should feature in your pitch. When you target media with a younger audience you’ll need to find an angle that they can relate to.
Thank you so much for this easy template for a press release! I have been trying to find one that made sense for me to send out since I’m a cookbook author and this one was perfect. Off to send it to some local food magazines!
I’m glad this helped, Rachel, I hope your press campaign is successful.
Thanks for sharing these files!
This is EXTREMELY HELPFUL,….
Do you suggest this overall article for an effective press release for a book’s upcoming publishibgm OR/AND for an already published book, for which the author is setting up a book tour & is sending press releases in attempt to book & confirm locations/cities for book readings? Any changes you suggest (short tips) for the latter in press releases?? Thank you so much,
Author, as the Smoke Clears & contributor/blogger for relevant organizations & magazines.
Your press release article and template are fantastic! Thanks so much for the easy to use and understand article. I have scoured the net and this was the best – well timed for me 🙂
I’m really glad you found this useful.
I really like the insightfullness of this article. The last point that refers to “Do not include your press release as an attachment or PDF” is probably the most significant, in my humble opinion.
Many thanks for sharing such importatnt information.
You’re welcome Gerard, thanks for stopping by.
This is great. Exactly the info I was searching for. It’s a great template to use and I definitely take this as an example. Thank you very much for sharing this valuable piece of information.
Thanks for presenting helpful instructions. I’ve been looking for the ideas to prepare a book press release and here provided template details are good enough for me.
What if you don’t want to provide a head shot because you’re writing under a pen name about a sensitive subject? Are there other options?