A press release is a notice or story sent to the media with the aim of attracting their interest and gaining valuable editorial space in their publication when you launch your self-published book.
A press release about your book or you as the self-published author can be sent directly to your chosen media contact or through a newswire or PR Planning service. Your press release should be well-written before you submit it to the media.
Writing and submitting a press release is not about sales talk or advertising jargon. It is not about your book sales. It is about the book's news and the people behind the news. In a sense you have to go behind the scenes and peek into editors' and journalists' minds to see what ticks their boxes. Understanding how a reporter or editor wants to receive news is important to prevent your book's press releases gathering dust in a news desk bin!
Prepare A Press Release
Before you start learning how to write a press release and reading other authors' releases, take some time to think about what you want to achieve.
Things to consider are goals, media, audience, language and timings.
Reader Audience Profile
Hopefully when you started writing your book you established the kind of reader that you'd like to pick up your book and love it.
- What kind of readers do you want to reach?
- Who is your ideal target reader?
- If you write different genres are there several different target audiences ?
Press Release Goals
- Why are you trying to get news coverage for your new book?
- What do you hope to achieve? Obviously book sales - but what else?
- Do you want to increase traffic to your website or send traffic to your book's listing on Amazon to increase your book's Amazon marketing?
- Do you want to sell other products or your services - good for non-fiction authors of specialist topics?
- Do you have a big event, conference or book launch approaching?
Media For Your Book's Press Release
Now you'll need to start thinking about which media you want to target and why.
- Who do you want to reach? Local, regional, national, specialist or global media?
- Know your visitors: what they read and where they hang out so you can find them through the media they read and visit.
- Is the media you are targeting a B2B or B2C audience? This will determine if the language should be business and corporate or chatty for consumers.
Don't miss out on great opportunities to get free book publicity by not being aware of the publications timings.
- Is this for a book launch event?
- What are the timings for your local paper or glossy magazine?
- How will they affect your release and news coverage?
- Confirm the publication’s lead times to check you don’t miss any deadlines.
Do your research before you write your book's PR campaign and press releases.
- Do you need any stats about your book and self-publishing platform?
- Have you got all the correct facts to hand?
- Is there anything else that would or could add value to your book's press release?
Get some great looking images of your book ready for media distribution.
- Are there any stunning shots you can include with the release?
- Include a human angle in your releases and add a head and shoulder photograph.
Did you read our article on how to create an online news room?
- Is your author's press kit ready?
- Prepare your press kit before your release so you can get the feel for how to approach your media needs. It will also help you to focus on your message and goals.
- Write up a Q&A document to be ready for any questions that may be fired at you.
- Don’t forget to add your social media links to all your press releases.
Tips To Get Your PR Into The Media
Be sure to adhere to these standard PR tips:
- Always have an angle.
- Remember that journalists want stories, ideally exclusive ones which, would sound good or look great in pictures.
- They don't want dull press releases which simply say how fantastic your book is or how wonderful you write and what a fab author you are.
- Get to the point quickly and leave email and phone details.
- BUT: don't bombard them with calls pleading for feedback or a review; you'll risk going on their blacklist.
- Ensure that the journalist you contact actually writes about your book's genre or topical area too.
- Editor's notes should have contact details and a brief rundown of genuinely useful information.
- Don’t send pages and pages of background history or other, random information. A journalist can find that or simply ask for it.
Paula Wynne is the founder of Book Hub. She started Book Hub out of a need to market and promote her own fiction. As well as running Book Hub, Paula is an author with several published books.
Paula's Book Marketing for Authors Series features the following books: Book Marketing for Authors: Essential Steps for Before, During and After Your Book Launch; Book Promotion for Authors: How To Grow Your Readers Fan Base With Cross Promotions; Email Marketing For Authors: How To Use Email Marketing To Find New Readers and Book Selling for Authors: 7 Steps to a Bestselling Novel. Find out more about Paula's Book Marketing for Authors Series here.
If you would like to find out how to get your book into the bestselling charts with little money needed, download a free copy of Paula's Book Selling for Authors: 7 Steps to a Bestselling Novel.