The Basics of Writing a Press Release

Writing a press release, a form of traditional book marketing, is a way to spread the word about your book in an attempt to get book reviews, interviews and other forms of publicity. A press release can help get information about your book into the hands of editors and potential reviewers. While using social media to promote your book is highly encouraged, traditional book marketing is an established form of book publicity that can help get your book in front of media and book reviewers.

The purpose of writing a press release is to provide editors and potential reviewers with content that can easily be published or distributed. A press release markets your book and should convince editors and reviewers why they should read it. When writing a press release, make sure to include all the necessary information about your book including the title, author, ISBN, price, publication date, website url and where the book can be purchased.

At the top of the press release, include a brief “hook” line as a title of sorts. This will be the first thing editors and reviewers see when they pick up your press release, so you better reel them in! It’s best to use some type of action verb in this line and it should be a complete sentence. Think of the hook like the headline in a news article. It should, in theory, “hook” the reader into continuing to read the press release.

When writing a press release, the first line in the body of the release should include the city, state and date of the press release (the city and state will typically be where the author is located). The remainder of the first paragraph should include the most vital information of your book. Think of it this way: if you have to sell a reader on your book in approximately four sentences, what kind of information would you include? In many cases, editors receive so many press releases they will not read past the first paragraph if it doesn’t interest them.

The following paragraphs (typically two) should include information that’s important, but not as crucial as the first paragraph. These paragraphs should include more information about the main character, briefly introduce the or mention a few plot details or discuss your platform as it pertains to your book. When writing a press release, think about the following questions: What do you think are the prime selling points of your book? What’s unique about your book’s plot or characters? What sets this book apart from other books in its genre?

After your three content paragraphs, include a brief “about the author” paragraph. Here you will want to mention significant past or current occupations, education, and any previous books you’ve written. Keep in mind that the about the author information should demonstrate how why are qualified to write on the subject of your book or demonstrate your passion as a writer.

If you happen to already have reviews of your book, feel free to include them in the press release. Shorten your reviews so each is only a sentence or two as editors and reviewers aren’t going to take the time to read pages of praise. If you have many reviews, just choose a few, preferably the ones you feel most accurately represent your book or the ones written by a well-known name.

One thing to keep in mind when you are writing a press release is that it is ideal for the release to be one page long. Again, editors receive so many press releases a day that if they do decide to look yours over, they will want to know what your book about in just a few short paragraphs. An exception to this is if you do plan to include several reviews. In this case, we typically suggest to add the reviews on page two so they are all in one location.

If you want an excellent press release but don’t feel comfortable writing one yourself, Mill City Press has an expert publicist who can write one for you!

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