Posted By Sue Collier on April 15, 2013
A news release—also called a “press release”—seems to be one of the most underutilized tools for promotions by self-publishers. Most authors are usually surprised when I suggest this is a great way to reach the media, and they are further astonished to learn that much of what we read as “news” was written by someone somewhere who sent in a news release. The trick is to tie your book release into some sort of news that will be of interest to the media.
The standard news release generally consists of the following parts:
Heading, or headline. Make sure yours is compelling or no one will bother to read past it.
Contact information. Include your book title, subtitle, your name as it appears on the book, the ISBN, the LCCN, binding, page count, and price, along with contact name, phone number, email address, and website.
Release information. Generally, “For Immediate Release” appears at the beginning of the release since it is purported to be current news.
Dateline. News releases general include a place of original, directly before the first paragraph.
Initial paragraph. This needs to be just as interesting as your headline—and it needs to tie in directly with some sort of news event.
Body text. The paragraph after the initial paragraph usually includes a quote from and credentials of the author of the book. The quote should reinforce the news angle of the first paragraph. Ensuing paragraphs will describe the book, but keep in mind the news aspect of the press release. Avoid any text that sounds too sales-y. This is strictly news.
Final paragraph. I like to end with an endorsement, if you’ve got a meaningful one. In addition, repeat the contact name and phone number and email address, as well as price and book ordering information.
Keywords. Since most news releases are online these days, don’t forget to use a few strategically placed keywords.
Ending. It was customary “back in the day” of typewriters to indicate the end of a news release with three hastags (# # #). I used to do this pretty consistently, but I admit I do it less and less.