You wrote a book! Yay for you! Take a moment and celebrate the accomplishment. Savor the giddy happiness of creating something from just an idea (and months and months of toil). Actually, take a few moments to really appreciate this feeling. You deserve it.
Now get back to work. First, buy a few copies to sign for family and close friends. Also, share your great news on Facebook, Twitter and all the places your friends hang out. If you are like many newly published authors you will stop here and and devote the coming weeks to hoping someone will stumble upon your book among all the books available to purchase online.
It could happen, but to be honest, without a savvy media campaign it is unlikely. I hear you gnashing your teeth and wailing, “Nobody has money for that!” I get it, really I do, but come on, you just wrote a book. You can surely write a one-page press release about it.
Remember those five-paragraph essays you wrote in high school and college? Writing a press release is pretty much the same thing and like those high school essays, they follow a standard format. Let’s get started.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (all caps – you can also enter a future release date here)
Press Release Title (bold font, up to 80 characters, should be catchy, not cutesy!)
Write a three sentence summary of your news angle or book pitch here. Your angle is what makes your book special. Your pitch is how you generate interest in your book.
CITY, STATE – DATE (all caps, bold font) – The body of your press release starts here, on the same line as your dateline. An effective release will be written around the pitch idea you’ve perfected for your book. The first paragraph briefly answers the questions of who, what, when, where, why and how.
Use the body paragraphs to expand on the five Ws and an H above. Why is your book timely or relevant. Who will care? What problem does it solve? How will people benefit by reading it?
The writing style for your press release should imitate a news story or book review you would find in the publications to which you are submitting your release. This approach makes it easier for journalists in search of content to see your news as something ready for publication through their outlets.
It is always good to incorporate quotes from the author, an authority in the field, or a reputable reviewer, throughout the body of your release. Keep in mind that quotes cannot be changed if your press release is picked up by a journalist, so choose them carefully. Include the names and credentials of the people you quote. DO NOT quote family or friends unless they are an expert in the field in which you write.
Add any remaining details such as the release date, where the book can be purchased (Lulu.com), the formats in which it is available, the retail price, etc.
About <Your Name>
Include a short author bio ( approximately 100 words). Include your qualifications to write the book – i.e. local connection, profession, life-long interest, etc. This paragraph is referred to as a boilerplate and usually remains the same from one press release to another.
For more information about <YOUR BOOK TITLE>, visit <Link to WEBSITE>. Additional author information and promotional images are available at <Link to AUTHOR PRESS KIT> or contact <PUBLICIST’S NAME> at <PHONE NUMBER>. Free review copies are provided on request.
(Indicates the end of the press release)
Experts recommend a press release be about one page in length, so use your words wisely. Most importantly, your press release will be the first impression you make on a journalist, editor, or reviewer so proofread, proofread, and proofread again before you send it.
When complete, copy and paste your attention grabbing headline into the email subject line. Then copy the entire press release (including the headline) into the body of the email. Include links to your website and author press kit. Be sure to include your contact information. Do not attach files to the email or include a free electronic copy of your book unless requested by a journalist.
Up next – PR Part III: Release the Press Release! Now that you have written the best press release ever, put it to work.