Image: Matthew Loffhagen
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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