I often tell authors that I work with that writing a press release like writing poetry. Every word must be precisely placed and have a purpose. Take your time and do several drafts (just like you hopefully did with your book). A press release is too important to be done quickly or half-heartedly. Here are my top tips to get you started:
1) Hit the headlines
Start off with a succinct and attention-grabbing headline – just as if you were writing a newspaper article. In fact, this should be the headline that you would love for the media to use.
2) Know your audience (and your audience’s audience)
Whether you are sending a press release to a newspaper, radio station, magazine, television show or online media source, you need to think about BOTH the person that you are sending it to and the people who consume that media. For example: If you are targeting daytime radio shows aimed mostly at women at home, be sure to say why your book would appeal to that audience. Feel free to adjust your release to suit your target media.
3) Get to the (bullet) point
Remember that you are sending your release to people who get masses of them every day and have tough deadlines to meet. Use 3-5 very short bullet points toward the top of your release to make your case and assume that your reader is going to read that first. They will most likely only read the rest of the release if they like what the bullet points have to say.
4) Show them what you’ve got
Put your book cover on your press release. Visual recognition is important and you want the media to be able to mentally match your release information to your book. This is true even if your book is only available as an ebook – because for ebooks your cover is the only distinguishing feature your book has.
5) Details, details, details…
Be sure to include your book’s price, format, ISBN, website and list retailers if relevant. These are details that the media will need to know one they are already hooked into covering your book – but put them at the end of your release where they can find it when they need it.
Ben Cameron is the Sales and Marketing Director (UK and Europe) of Smith Publicity
Tel: +44(0)20 7917 9812