The press is an important way of getting attention for your book. Whether you’re approaching local newspapers, trade magazines, or genre blogs, you want to have something to send to them.
This is where the press release comes in.
Before anything else, do your research.
This starts with identifying the places you want to approach with your press release. These are likely to include:
- Local press.
- Specialist websites and magazines dealing with your genre.
- Bloggers who cover your genre.
- Other groups who might be interested in what you have to say.
For each place you find, check whether they’re likely to run stories about your release. For local press, this is about whether they cover new releases by small local creators such as bands, artists, and authors. For specialist press and bloggers, check whether they cover the sort of book you’ve written and whether they’re interested in indie authors.
Also research the way that books like yours are reported on. What usually gets mentioned? What makes the stories interesting? What sort of language do they use?
Based on this, work out what’s new and unusual about your book that will make people care. For a press release to lead to publicity, it needs to include something newsworthy.
What to Include
Next, make notes about the content of your press release. This includes:
- The people involved – who you are, who your characters are, and who you’re writing for.
- What your book is about.
- Why the book is coming out now.
- How you came to write this book.
- Why this release will be of interest to the people you’re targeting.
- When it will be available.
- Where people can get hold of the book.
- Where they can find out more about you.
Some of these are practical points that people need to know to get your book. Others are there to get attention and make the book sound interesting.
Having done that, brainstorm angles – different ways of talking about yourself, the book, and its release. Decide on the one that will appeal most to your target readers, so that you can use this in the press release.
Now you have all your ideas it’s time to write the press release.
Firstly, you need to say whether it’s for immediate release or for a later date. This will probably depend upon how close you are to the book coming out and whether you have other events tied in to that.
Come up with a title that will grab the attention of the journalist reading it. You don’t need to think about the broader audience so much, as the journalist will probably give the final article a different title.
Write as concisely as you can.
In the first paragraph, provide all the important information needed to understand what’s happening. The first line should be 15-20 words long and summarise the whole story.
Use the next paragraph to expand upon these and provide more detail.
You can use a third paragraph to provide a quote or two, and the fourth to provide extra information, such as website links.
Finally, finish with the word “Ends” in bold, and under this provide contact details for more information.
A lot of press releases go out each day, and you want to make yours distinctive. To make your press release stand out:
- Keep it short – 300-400 words.
- Make the writing punchy.
- Emphasise the unusual angle that makes your story interesting.
- If you have time, adapt it to the different places you’re sending it, so that it’s more in line with their interests.
Not every place you send a press release will use it. But the more relevant places you reach out to, and the more often you reach out, the more likely you are to get the publicity you want.
Kathryne Lee Tirrell •