When you’re getting ready to publish a book, it’s an exhilarating time. You want to set yourself up for a successful book launch and share your work with audiences far and wide. This is where the book press release comes in. Think of it as a quick, inspiring pitch for your book combined with a business card.
Learning how to write a press release for a book launch doesn’t have to be complicated, but you want to know the basics so you can make a strong first impression.
Why do authors need a press release?
A press release is a formal announcement sent to media organizations and public forums to notify people about your new book and generate buzz. With any luck, a press release could lead to interviews, a brief mention in a newspaper or magazine, blog posts, speaking engagements, or website traffic. It’s also a free marketing tool, which means any self-publisher or indie author can use it to introduce their work in a professional way.
An author website, mailing lists, and social media networks are also essential parts of any marketing playbook, but a press release is specifically designed to showcase your book to a new group of influential people that may not be in your address book (journalists, editors, bloggers, publishers, book reviewers, and other industry leaders). If you can catch their eye, they might be willing to spread the word and help expand your audience.
And even though you may already have conversations going with your fans and creative community on social media, writing a press release for your book gives you another way to share the big news and keep everyone in the loop.
What should a book press release include?
A well-written book press release needs to grab the reader’s attention, describe what your book is about and why people should read it, and provide basic information about the book for selling and distribution (e.g. title, author, publication date, where to buy).
Try to find a relevant, unique way of pitching your book, and use that as a hook. What makes it a newsworthy story? Possible ideas: a rare or trending book topic, an intriguing author story, a prestigious literary award, an innovative launch event, a remarkable milestone.
Is there a standard press release format?
Most book press releases follow a basic format for a reason. Journalists and editors may only have a few minutes (or seconds!) to decide if your press release deserves attention, so keep the writing clear, organized, and easy to follow. Avoid clichés and over-hyped language, unless it’s a review quote or testimonial from a prominent figure.
A traditional book press release is between 300 to 500 words and is ideally one page. The more concise and compelling, the better. Here’s a sample outline:
- Contact Info: Include your name, address, phone number, email, and website.
- Publication Date: List the publication date for your book as “For release on [date]” or simply note “For immediate release.”
- Headline: Keep it short and catchy, and highlight what sets your book apart.
- CITY, STATE, Date: The city and state should be in all caps.
- Body content: The first short paragraph introduces you and your book in a compelling way. The second short paragraph contains a detailed description of the book and its audience (avoid using “I” or “we”). The third brief paragraph may include a quote from a book reviewer or a notable person endorsing the book. The fourth paragraph lists where to buy the book, or launch event details (date, time, location, contact info).
- Cover Photo: You may choose to add a high-resolution photo of the book cover.
- Closing/Bio: Finish with a short author bio. If your book is connected to an organization or business, you may also include the group’s mission statement here.
Large publishing houses, small presses, and self-published authors all rely on press releases, so you can find many examples of press releases online. Check the author or publisher websites for writers and artists you admire.
What is the best time to send out a press release?
A press release for a book launch is usually posted the day the book becomes available for purchase. So you probably want to send your press release to the media or other publications 3 to 5 days before you’d like it to appear. Take into consideration the higher volume of requests that a larger media organization might be dealing with and allow extra time, compared to a smaller newspaper or website that might have a shorter turnaround time for publication.
If your book is connected to a newsworthy topic, launch event, or award ceremony, you may choose to adjust the timing of your press release to coincide with that (even if it happens weeks or months after your book was first published).
Where should I send a press release?
Consider the target audience for your book when deciding where to send your press release. If the topic of your book relates to the mission statement of any local businesses or nonprofit organizations, send a copy of the press release to them. Authors of fiction, poetry, and memoirs may want to reach out to literary magazines that publish writing or book reviews in the same genre. If you do want a magazine or journal to write a review, you’ll need to include a review copy of your book with the press release.