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How to Write a Book Press Release: Unleashing Media Buzz

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In the competitive world of publishing, where countless books are vying for the attention of readers, a well-crafted book press release can be your secret weapon. It’s the literary equivalent of a grand opening ceremony, a dazzling spotlight that can transform your book from a mere manuscript into a must-read sensation.

But how do you write a book press release that not only captures the essence of your literary masterpiece but also entices journalists, bloggers, and readers alike?

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process step-by-step, from crafting a catchy headline to writing a compelling body copy. We’ll also share tips on how to target your press release to the right journalists and get them to actually read it.


What is a Book Press Release?

Book Press Release Definition: A book press release is a written announcement distributed to the media 
to promote the launch of a new book.

A book press release is a written announcement issued to the media to generate awareness, interest, and coverage for a new book. It is a marketing tool used by authors, publishers, or publicists to alert journalists, editors, and reviewers about a book’s launch in hopes of securing media attention and driving sales.

The press release is structured to provide all the essential information in a concise and engaging way, making it easy for media outlets to pick up the story with no effort on their part. Because it includes details about the author as well as the book, it allows potential readers to engage with the author as well as buy the book.


Benefits of a Book Press Release

Paperboy holding up a book surrounded by a crowd of people

Given the investment of time and money to produce a press release for your book launch, it should at least help you to sell more copies. And it can certainly do so. Here are just a few of the benefits of using a book press release:

  • Marketing and Promotion: It is an effective promotional tool that can be used to announce the book to the public, generating interest and excitement around the release.
  • Media Exposure: A press release can attract attention from journalists and media outlets, leading to interviews, feature articles, and reviews that can reach a broad audience of potential readers.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Compared to many other marketing strategies, a press release is relatively inexpensive. It can be distributed widely at a low cost, especially with the use of email and online press release services.
  • Credibility: Being featured in reputable newspapers, magazines, online platforms, or broadcast media can lend credibility to both the author and the book, which can be especially important for new authors trying to establish themselves.
  • Targeted Reach: Press releases can be tailored to reach specific audiences or niches. For example, a press release for a science fiction novel can be sent to media outlets that specialize in sci-fi and related genres.
  • Announcement of Events: If the author is planning book signings, readings, or other promotional events, a press release is a useful way to publicize these happenings.


Key Elements of a Book Press Release

Hardcover book lying on a book press release in a newspaper

A book press release should be concise, well-structured, and contain all the relevant information needed to attract the interest of journalists and readers. Here are the key elements that should be included in the release:

  • Headline: The headline should be attention-grabbing, clear, and descriptive. It needs to convey the most compelling aspect of the book in a few words to entice the reader to read on.
  • Subheadline (Optional): A secondary headline that can provide additional information, such as the book’s genre, unique selling points, or the author’s credentials.
  • Dateline: This includes the city where the press release originates and the date of release.
  • Introduction/Lead: The first paragraph should summarize the most important information: who is the author, what is the book about, when and where it will be or has been released, why this is newsworthy, and how it stands out in the market.
  • Book Details: More in-depth information about the book, such as the plot, themes, characters, setting, and what makes the book unique or marketable.
  • Release Date: Either “for immediate release” or “for release on date.”
  • Quote: Compelling quotes from the author, a critic, or a notable figure in the book’s genre that add credibility and interest.
  • Boilerplate: A brief “about” section that gives information about the author, including background, previous works, awards, and any other relevant expertise or recognition.
  • Call to Action: Clear instructions on where the book can be purchased, how to attend book signings or launch events, or any promotions that are being offered.
  • Contact Information: The name, email address, phone number, website, and social media profiles of the person handling media requests.
  • End Notation: The end of the press release is often denoted by the symbols “###” or the word “End,” signaling to the journalist that the release has concluded.


How Long Should Your Book Press Release Be?

A book press release should ideally be concise and to the point, typically around one page in length, which equates to about 400-500 words.

A one-page press release forces you to focus on the most newsworthy aspects of your book, which is what the media is most interested in.

Moreover, journalists receive numerous press releases every day, and a succinct press release increases the likelihood that they will read through the entire document.


Book Press Release Example

Journalist in old-fashioned clothes takes notes for a book press release

To demonstrate what a press release for your book should look like, have a look at the example below. Stick closely to this format, as it makes life easy for journalists and bloggers who can cut and paste the whole release without having to make changes to content and/or formatting themselves.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Douglas Jenkins

Tel.: 542-2749

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.douglasjenkins.com

New: Science Fiction Thriller Demonstrates Why It’s Dangerous to Try to Improve the Present by Traveling to the Past

Jenkins’s latest work offers a thrilling exploration of time travel, its moral complexities, and its potential for apocalyptic destruction

NEW YORK, NY – November 7, 2023 — Douglas Jenkins, the creative force behind the novel “The Dark Whispers of Desperation,” has today announced the release of his new science fiction thriller “Echoes of Tomorrow.” Scheduled for release on January 14th, 2024 at all major retailers, it promises to take readers on a complex journey through the fabric of time, proving that the present is best left as it is, despite the temptation to alter it by traveling to the past.

In “Echoes of Tomorrow,” Jenkins introduces us to Dr. Erica Trent, a brilliant physicist who uncovers the secret to time travel. But as Erica navigates the dangerous waters of altering past and thereby present, she faces ethical dilemmas that challenge the core of her humanity and brings the world one step away from destruction. Jenkins’s storytelling weaves a gripping tale that explores the ramifications of our choices and the indelible impact they have on the future.

“The concept of time travel has always fascinated me,” says Jenkins, “but it’s the moral questions that arise from that ability which captivate my imagination. ‘Echoes of Tomorrow’ is a novel that I hope will not only entertain but also inspire readers to ponder the ethical boundaries of science and technology.”

Fellow science fiction authors like Chris Joseph and Brett Duncan are already hailing “Echoes of Tomorrow” as “a masterclass in speculative fiction” and “a book that stays with you long after the last page is turned.”

Douglas Jenkins, an alumnus of the New Jersey Writers’ Guild Workshop, has received several accolades for his work, including the Stokes Award for Best Novel. His storytelling prowess has garnered a dedicated following, making “Echoes of Tomorrow” one of the most anticipated self-published releases of the year.

Join the author at the official book launch event, which will be held at the Bookends Bookstore in Manhattan, on January 15th at 7:00 PM. He will be available to sign copies and discuss the inspirations behind his latest novel.

“Echoes of Tomorrow” is available for pre-order now from Amazon and will be released in paperback and eBook formats across all major retailers.

For more information about “Echoes of Tomorrow” or to schedule an interview with Douglas Jenkins, please contact him at [email protected] or visit www.douglasjenkins.com

###


Book Press Release Template

To make it even simpler, we have provided a template into which you can place your book’s information. Copy it from this page or download it here. The formatting is correct. Simply delete our guiding notes and replace it with your own details.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/FOR RELEASE ON DATE

Author Name

Phone: Your phone number

Email: Your email address

Website: Your website address

Attention-Grabbing Heading in Bold and With First-Letter Caps

Subheading to expand on heading (optional)

CITY, STATE, Date – Introductory paragraph that contains basics like author name, release date, topic of the book, and why it stands out.

Book Details: Explain the book’s plot and theme in elevator pitch format, preferably in one paragraph.

Quotes: Quotes and endorsements in no more than two paragraphs.

Boilerplate: Author biography, previous works, background, and awards, ideally in one paragraph.

Links to Media (Optional): Links to multimedia assets like a headshot, book cover, and video interviews.

Call-To-Action: Details of book signings, where to purchase, and invitations to interview in around two paragraphs.

###

(end of release)


How to Write a Book Press Release

Vintage typewriter next to a book press release and a pen

A book press release should not only contain the right information and be properly formatted. It should also be able to grab media attention, boosting the likelihood of publication. And once it is published, it should appeal to the right types of readers who will be interested in buying the book.

This task is not as daunting as it seems. There are tried-and-true methods to enhance the effectiveness of a press release, which we set out in a step-by-step guide below.


Step 1: Identify the Angle

Before you begin writing, determine the unique selling point of your book. What makes it newsworthy? Your angle could be anything from a unique topic, a current event tie-in, a notable author achievement, or even the fact that it’s an anticipated follow-up to a successful title.

Write down everything about your book that you think is unique, special, or beneficial. This could be the setting, characters, the problems it addresses, or the approach it takes.

Then, consider what aspects of your book will be most appealing to your target audience. What would they find most interesting or valuable?

You can also look at other books that have received media attention and try to determine what made those books stand out.

Ask yourself questions like these:

  • Does your book relate to current trends, events, or popular culture?
  • Is it related to local interests or news events?
  • Can it contribute to a discussion of a controversial or debated issue?
  • Does it tell a story that will evoke emotional responses?
  • Is there something unique or surprising about it or its creation?
  • Does your own life story relate to the content of the book?
  • What will readers gain when reading it?

You should obviously pick an angle that is clear and can be easily communicated in a headline or subheadline. But it should also relate to your audience. For example, does the angle appeal to emotions, create curiosity, or offer value? An emotional angle, for example, is most probably wrong for a business manual or academic text, but perfect for a self-help guide or a novel.


Step 2: Write a Catchy Headline

Create a headline that is both informative and attention-grabbing. Make it clear and compelling to encourage further reading. It should never be longer than 20 words, and should ideally be shorter.

Make sure your headline reflects the noteworthy aspect of your book. Whether it’s timeliness, uniqueness, a human-interest angle, or relevance to current events, the headline should clearly convey why your book is significant right now.

Since most press releases end up online, include keywords that are relevant to your book and that potential readers might use to search for topics related to your content.

Strong verbs and action words can make your headline more dynamic and compelling. Passive headlines are less likely to grab attention.

For a fiction book, a strong headline often leaves the reader wanting to know more. It should spark curiosity without giving away everything – think of it as the hook for your story.

For non-fiction or self-help books, focus on the solution and key benefits your book provides.


Step 3: Craft a Strong Subheadline

The subheadline should go further than the headline instead of merely repeating the information in it. If your headline is designed to grab attention, the subheadline should start to fill in the details.

Include important information about the book such as the genre, the main theme, or notable accolades or endorsements that weren’t included in the headline.

While still being concise, use language that paints a picture or creates an emotional response. This helps the reader visualize or connect emotionally with the book.

If, for example, you have written a nonfiction book on overcoming procrastination, and you have come up with the title: “Beat the Clock: Revolutionary Time-Management Techniques Revealed” consider a subheadline like: “‘Time to Thrive’ offers readers a practical, science-backed toolkit for reclaiming their lives from the jaws of delay.”

For a procrastinator, reclaiming their lives from unproductivity is a powerful emotional image. Moreover, the subheadline adds the fact that it’s “science-based,” which throws in some credibility, and “practical,” which makes it look useful.


Step 4: Create an Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph of a book press release, often referred to as the “lead,” must concisely capture the essence of your work. It should answer the 5 Ws to provide readers with the most critical information about your book right away.

  • Who: Mention who the author and the target audience.
  • What: State the title of the book and what it is about.
  • When: Include the release or publication date.
  • Where: Indicate where the book will be available for purchase or pre-order.
  • Why: Briefly touch on why this book is important or why it was written.


Step 5: Formulate the Body Content

The body content of your book press release is where you delve deeper into the details of your book, expanding on the information introduced in the opening paragraph.

The second paragraph should build on the ‘why’ from your lead. Explain the significance of the book in more depth. If it’s a non-fiction book, talk about the issues it addresses and why they are important. For a novel, discuss the central themes or the journey of the characters.

In subsequent paragraphs, include additional information such as the background of the book, any relevant statistics or research that underpins the content, and the author’s expertise or previous works that specifically relate to this work. If the book has testimonials or has received praise from notable figures or publications, this is a good place to mention it.

A quote from the author can provide insight into the inspiration behind the book, its goals, or what the author hopes readers will gain from it. A quote from a reviewer or critic, if you have one, can add credibility and an external perspective.


Step 6: Write Boilerplate and CTA

The boilerplate paragraph should include the author’s background information, expertise, achievements or awards, best-selling works, and influential projects they’ve been associated with. If you have room, you can include a personal fact about you that might engage readers’ emotions.

The following paragraph can include links to a headshot, book cover, video or podcast interviews, YouTube trailers, online courses, or whatever else you have to offer. However, this section is optional.

Your final task is to write a call to action, which should include whatever you want the reader to do after reading the press release. This could be to purchase the book, attend an event, visit a website for more information, contact the author, or all of the above.

Use imperative verbs to command action. Examples include “Buy,” “Read,” “Visit,” “Contact,” “Learn more,” “Register,” or “Download.”

If possible, provide a reason or incentive for taking action. This could be a limited-time offer, a discount, exclusive content, or access to additional resources.

If appropriate, add a sense of urgency with phrases like “now,” “today,” “before it’s too late,” or “while supplies last” to prompt immediate action.

Include your website address with the call to action, since journalists and bloggers usually remove the contact details at the top before they publish the release.


Step 7: Format and Proofread

Ensure your press release is formatted professionally. It should be easy to read, written in the third person, and free of jargon. Keep it to one page, ideally below 500 words. Finally, proofread meticulously to avoid typos and grammatical errors, which can detract from your book’s professionalism and/or prevent it from being published.


Step 8: Time It Well

Consider the timing of your release to maximize its impact, such as before a major book fair or holiday season.

For traditional media coverage, it’s a good idea to send out the press release about a month before the book is available. This gives journalists and reviewers time to read and potentially write about it. Online media may only need a few days to two weeks.

Tuesday to Thursday is often the best time to send out press releases for immediate attention, as media personnel may be more likely to consider new material during these days. Avoid weekends and holidays, since this will send your release to the bottom of the submission pile if journalists only start working days later.

If your book has themes relevant to upcoming holidays, seasons, or awareness days, time your release to precede these dates. If it is relevant to current news stories, you might want to release it when the topic is trending.

Coordinate the release with industry events where there might be increased interest in your genre or topic. For example, releasing around major book fairs can sometimes give you a platform for greater visibility, or timing your release around major events or conventions specific to your book’s genre is obviously beneficial.

If possible, avoid releasing your press release when it might be overshadowed by a major event or news story, since everyone is glued to media and works less then.


Step 9: Identify the Target Audience

A press release that’s sent to a broad, undefined audience is less likely to gain traction. It’s the precision in knowing and understanding your target audience that helps ensure your book reaches the right people, at the right time, through the right channels.

Knowing your audience ensures that the content of your press release is relevant to the people reading it. If the message resonates, they are more likely to engage with it and consider reading your book. It also helps you tailor the tone and language of the release. A young adult novel will have a different style of communication compared to a technical academic work, for instance.

Most importantly, knowing where your audience gets their news and reads about books will help you choose the right channels for distribution. For example, younger audiences might be more reachable through social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok, while an older demographic might be more accessible via traditional media like newspapers. To ensure that your release goes to the best place, consider the below tips:

  • Online Communities: Check whether there are online forums, book clubs, or social media groups where your audience congregates.
  • Magazines and Journals: If your book is literary or fits a niche genre, consider targeting magazines and journals that cater to that genre.
  • Blogs and Websites: Look for blogs and websites that review and discuss books similar to yours, and ask if they’d publish your press release on the site or host it on a forum.
  • Podcasts: If there are podcasts that discuss topics or genres related to your book, they can be a great way to reach potential readers.
  • Social Media: Facebook and Instagram are useful for targeting specific interest groups and demographics via paid advertising, X can help you connect with influencers in your genre, and Instagram and TikTok are great if you can do your press release in creative video form.
  • Newsletters: If you have a mailing list, your newsletter is a prime channel for announcing your new book to an already interested audience.


Step 10: Submit to Press Release Distribution Services

Only once you have sent your press release to audience-specific sources should you turn your attention to press release distribution services. These are organizations that distribute your press release to their network of media outlets and journalists. They often have extensive contact lists and partnerships with news organizations, which can increase the visibility of your press release and the likelihood that it will be published. But because they are so broad and not targeted to your audience, they may not yield good results, especially for niche works.

These services include PR Newswire, Business Wire, Cision, EIN Presswire, Book Publicity Services, PRforBooks, and PR By The Book. There fees range widely, from once-off payments for the distribution of a single release, to monthly payments for follow-up services like the setting up of speaking engagements, book signings, readings, and so on. Select one or two that fit within your marketing budget.


Step 11: Follow up

Keep a record of the press releases you have sent so that you can follow up with a polite email if you don’t receive a response. Give journalists and bloggers enough time to read through your press release. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least a week before following up with an online contact, unless you’ve communicated a specific urgent deadline within your press release.

Craft a follow-up email that’s brief and to the point. Reference your initial email by including it below your follow-up message or forwarding the original.

If you don’t receive a response after the first follow-up, it’s generally acceptable to try once more after another week or so, but then let it go if there’s still no response.

If you’re not getting responses, it might be time to revise your press release or your media list. Make sure your press release is newsworthy, engaging, and relevant to the recipients. Also, ensure that you’re targeting the right journalists and media outlets whose audiences align with your book’s subject matter.


Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, you will find answers to popular questions about press releases, their format, and their submission.


What Makes a Great Press Release?

A great press release succinctly delivers a compelling and newsworthy angle that is directly relevant to its intended audience, while providing all necessary information (who, what, when, where, why, and how) in a clear, easy-to-read format. It should have a captivating headline, a strong lead paragraph, and include quotes and factual details that support the story, as well as a clear call to action, all within a concise, typically one-page document.


How Do You Announce a Book Release?

To announce a book release, typically you would issue a press release containing key information about the book, such as the title, author, release date, and availability, along with a compelling description, author bio, and potential endorsements. Additionally, announcements can be amplified through social media, author websites, email newsletters to subscribers, and events such as book launch parties or readings, all coordinated to create buzz and encourage media coverage and reader interest.


Where Do You Send Press Releases for Books?

Press releases for books should be sent to targeted media outlets that cover book news or topics relevant to the book’s content, including literary editors at newspapers, magazines, and online publications, as well as book bloggers, reviewers, and industry influencers. Additionally, distribution can be broadened through press release distribution services that reach networks of journalists, while specific niche or genre-related outlets, such as literary journals or websites dedicated to the book’s subject matter, can be particularly effective.


When Should You Send Out a Book Press Release?

A book press release should ideally be sent out four to six weeks before the book’s release to give journalists and reviewers time to consider the content for features or reviews. However, for major outlets with longer lead times, it can be sent even earlier, whereas for digital media and more time-sensitive outlets, two weeks or less can also be effective for immediate promotion.


Final Thoughts

Crafting an effective book press release is both an art and a strategic endeavor. It’s your golden opportunity to bridge the gap between your book and its potential readers through the media. Remember, clarity and brevity are your allies, as is a well-defined hook that captures the unique essence of your work. In an age of information overload, your ability to stand out hinges on the compelling narrative you weave around your book.

As you send your press release into the world, do so with confidence, knowing that you’ve given your book the launchpad it needs to potentially soar into the hands of eager readers and through the gates of media recognition.

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