The book is written and now you are thinking about generating some buzz around your book launch. One way to help you do that is to write a compelling press release (AKA media release). A well-written and well-targeted press release will help you to spread your announcement to people that will either review your book or talk about your book.
Here are a few things to consider before you start writing:
- Create a newsworthy story: Your announcement should be about more than just the book launch. Many books are launched each day. That’s not the story. You have to articulate how this launch is differentiated from others. Do you have a local connection? Is it tied to a trending issue? Is in support of a cause? Tell a story. Where possible, include a human interest aspect. Don’t be afraid to play Devil’s Advocate to look at it from the audience perspective to tell whether it’s newsworthy.
- Determine who you are sending it to: You can go about distribution a few different ways. You could use a paid or free newswire service where they send it to newsrooms in a geo-targeted area. You can also do your research and build a list of media that covers book reviews and related topics in your area. This targeted, more personal style of outreach generally leads to more successful outreach. Depending on the scale of your launch, doing both types might get you the best results. However, you should never rely on newswires as your only form of outreach.
- Write a short, attention-grabbing, tweetable headline: Be specific with your headline. Get to the point as fast as you can – if you can cut words, do it.
- Writing style: Use active voice rather than passive voice, which will help you get to the point faster. Your release should be factual, not promotional. A press release is not interchangeable with any other one-sheet promotional material. The tone is different because you are writing to inform, rather than writing to sell books.
- Answer the five W’s: Your intro paragraph (1-2 sentences) should answer who, what, when, where, and why. The following paragraphs should give additional details.
- Include a quote: Included in your 3rd paragraph, your quote shouldn’t be promotional – it should be topical. This means you shouldn’t use your latest raving review as the quote. Save those for your marketing materials. The quote should enhance your story angle.
- Length: A press release that is too long will be passed over. Aim for 400 – 500 words. If you read through it and feel like you can cut stuff out, then cut it out. Your release should get to the point without all of the extra fluff content.
- Structure: Be sure to include the following:
- “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE” should be written at the top of the page
- Include the city and date at the beginning of the first paragraph (ie. TORONTO – December 4, 2015 – xxx)
- Include a boilerplate after your body paragraphs. This is a short “about the author” paragraph featuring a short bio. It doesn’t change from release to release and it tells the media who you are and where they can get information about you. Include links to your website and social media profiles.
- Use “###” or “-30-” to indicate the end of your release after the boilerplate. This should be centered.
- Include contact information last: Your media targets need to be able to reach you. Include both your phone number and email.
- Include multi-media: The more you can provide for media to make their job easier, the better. If you have a trailer for your book, or images, include them with the release (embed and/or provide links).
- Proofread multiple times: You should re-read your release multiple times. Read it both in your head and out loud. You will often catch mistakes if you are reading it out loud that you may have missed otherwise. Make sure your contact information and website links are all correct.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
Candace Huntly is the founder and Principal of SongBird Marketing Communications, a Toronto-based boutique firm that works with clients to take their strategy and brand to the next level. She is an expert at telling brand stories and getting them shared through the right channels. She is conducting one of the workshops at Author Summit 2015, PR for Authors.