Writing a Great Press Release

You are a writer, yes? So shouldn’t writing a press release be a piece of cake? Wrong.

Of course you are the authority on your own book, but sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to take your story and make it newsworthy. Here are a couple of things to take into consideration when writing a press release.

  • It sounds obvious but make sure you put contact information on your press release! If it gets distributed and opened and read and no one can get in touch with you or your publicist about it, it might as well not exist.
  • Put it in the correct format. At the very least put the city and state where you live or where your event will be and the date that it should go out.
  • Make your headline grabby, but not kitschy. It should say everything that the story is about in the first line, much like the thesis of a research paper, but without sounding like it’s a sales pitch. I have had press releases get rejected by distribution services because an author insisted on using a dollar amount WITH the dollar sign in the opening line. The result? Newswires read it like an ad, which they don’t distribute.
  • Keep it to about a page. This isn’t a feature story, it’s not a review, and it’s not just your back cover copy. People stop reading after about two paragraphs so try to keep it purely informational and think of it as more of an announcement than a whole story.
  • Tie it into other relevant, recent events. Websites, RSS feeds, editors, and journalists tend to seek out and gravitate toward stories that are timely. Their world is fast-paced and constantly changing so it won’t be very compelling if all your release does is state that your book is out. Unless you are Dan Brown, Stephen King, or Tom Clancy people are not interested in the mere fact that another book has been released. Ask yourself what really sets your book apart? How are you marketing it and WHO are you marketing to?
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