Last year this topic was brought up in one of my self-publishing groups. To Press Release or Not To Press Release.
Along with the questions, what is it, why should we do it, is it hard, is it worth it? I had already done three releases at this point, so here is what I learned and wanted to share.
- Reasons why you should write a Press Release
- What you should include in your Press Release
- My FREE Press Release template using Microsoft Word
- Additional Resources and References
Why You Should Write a Press Release?
1. Summary of Your Work: It says, I am here, I wrote a book, and here is what you need to know, all on one page. I like that. When I get overwhelmed and off-message it is great to have a single document where my thoughts are organized and succinct. Plus you can keep it as an archive for future reference when you memory starts to go.
2. Resume for Your Book: This document goes by many names, Press Release, Media Release, or News Release, but at the end of the day it's a resume for your book. It has a lot of the same information, contact, history, and objectives. Write your press release like you want your book to be hired.
3. Consistent Message for the Masses: You can print and email this document to anyone and everyone with minimal work and more important a consistent message. You can email it to your fans on your mailing list, post it on Social Media and your Website, you can send it to book bloggers, bookstores, media outlets, schools, and libraries. Include anyone that is your target reader. It also makes it simple for other people to share the news of your latest book.
"Hear Ye Hear Ye, I have an announcement"
4. Feeling Legit with Your Marketing Kit: I will write a separate post on Marketing Kits in the future. They are a collection of documents that expand on your press release. Having a Press Release and Marketing kit make you look profession and someone who takes their work seriously (just like a resume). It shows confidence and authority and you never have to speak a word.
What should a Press Release Include?
Keep it Simple: It should be one page and definitely no more than two.
Keep it Pretty: It should be pleasing to the eye with pictures and it should be easy to read and to reference.
Keep it Organized: It should have clear sections; it should look like a newspaper not a book report
Your Press Release Should Include:
- Release date: Usually the date published or the date available for purchasing
- Catchy headline/tagline: One short succinct sentence. Active voice (vs. Passive) is key. Think of this as your jingle. What you want them to remember?
- Location: City/State/Country
- Introduction Basics: Who, What, Where, When and Why - This is your title, book specifications, like size, ISBN, intended audience, and price. This should be a list, not a paragraph. Include a picture of the front cover. They need something to judge.
- Body Basics: Write a brief synopsis of your book; 1-2 paragraphs. First most, introduce the characters and summarize the plot. Use 3rd person not 1st (I) or 2nd (you).
- Body Goods: Write what makes it special? What sets it apart? What purpose dose it serve? What started it, inspired it, fueled it? Think human interest. But keep it third person.
- Review Quotes or Book Quotes: Wrote something you love in your book? Love something that someone wrote about your book. Then Quote it. Include one or two blurbs with information that sells.
- Author/Illustrator Biography: I usually have three versions of my biography. A long one for my website, a medium length for my books, and a short one for marketing. Bios should be written in third person. Choose short or medium bio depending on your space an audience. They say when you are writing that you must remove anything that doesn't add to the plot or build character, the same with your bio. Give them basic info and expand when it serves a purpose.
- Contact Information: Just the facts. Email, Phone, Mailing Address, Website
- Call to Action: They read your press release, now what? Guide them in the direction your want them move. Tell them where and how they can buy your books. If you are having a launch party, this is also a good time to provide those details.
- Check your spelling and grammar, look professional
- Use words that everyone understands, write in a common style, but keep your voice
- Write with varying sentence length and vernacular for interest
- Remember your target audience, you can customize your PR to each audience
- Be engaging, but also precise
- Sell yourself (brand) with sincerity, it shouldn't sound "pitchy"
- Use superlatives or buzz words sparingly, they feel formulaic/lazy
- Be sure to address all the W's (who, what, where, when, and why)
- If you see a potential obstacle, address it clearly. Don't give them an easy, "no"
- Email it to your fans on your mailing list
- Post it on Social Media and your Website
- Send it to book bloggers, bookstores, media outlets, schools, and libraries.
Be creative. Who is your target reader?
Press Release Template
This template is pretty straight forward.
FILL IT OUT
Click on the box and type your information/insert a picture. See my notes above as to what your should include. I also included an example of my last book.
File>Save As> "YOUR TITLE"
Then, I usually save/print as a PDF. If I am sending the document electronically more people are going to have a PDF reader than Microsoft Word. Additionally, it won't be modified by anyone else.
SEND IT OUT
See above for ideas who to send it to. Try to send it about a month before the release.
Okay, so instead of listing a bunch of websites, I will direct you to my Pinterest Board.
I have been reading and saving things for a while. There are some great resources out there. This board also has a ton of stuff on Publishing and Marketing in general.
I hope you find it helpful. If you want to keep up with any new information I find , then be sure to click the follow button.
Thank You For Reading
I hope you found this template helpful.
Please tag me on any of my social media platforms with your Press Release (Even if you don't use my template). I want to help you get exposure. That is what marketing is all about.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact us.
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