Writing a Press Release

Kevin Coolidge
Kevin is the creator of The Totally Ninja Raccoons and lives in Wellsboro Pennsylvania

Jul 03,2018

Your book is done. It’s time to let the world know. A press release can be the quickest and easiest way to get free publicity. What is a press release? A press release is a short, factual news story written in the third person and given to the media to encourage the media to feature the story in publications and programs.

If done correctly, a press release can result in several published articles about your book and you, and that means more readers wanting to buy your book. Press releases are cost effective. If the release results in an article, that article is more likely to interest readers than a paid advertisment.

A poorly-written press release won’t accomplish this. Nobody will read it, and a badly-written press release can make you look clueless. What can you do to increase the chances of having your press release read?

1.You need to have something important to say: Find your angle. Every good news story has an angle. Why would people be interested in your book?

2. Target your demographic: You wrote your book with an audience in mind. A press release is written for the media and you tailor it the readership of that publication or program.

3. Answer the six W questions: Who, what, where, when, why and how (OK, 5 Ws and one H)

Let’s use my latest book as an example.

Who: Kevin Coolidge

What: Molly the Dog with Diabetes

Where: From My Shelf Books in Wellsboro

When: Friday August 3rd from 5 to 7PM

Why: Writing about what a dog with diabetes goes through would show children they can live a normal life if they take care of themselves.

How:  Kevin raised funds to pay an illustrator with a crowdfunding campaign. He hit his $1,000 goal on May 12. Those that contributed $10 will get a free autographed copy. We are holding a book release party. Molly will be there. You can pre-order the book by calling 570-724-5793.

4. Use the reverse pyramid to write the press release: Now present the most important information first. You use this because the media doesn’t have a lot of time. They want to know if your book is of interest to their audience. This method makes it easy to edit. Simply cut from the bottom paragraph upwards.

5. Write a newsworthy headline: The headline is your sales pitch to the media. If it doesn’t grab their attention, they’ll delete it without reading it. Don’t be ambigious or clever. Be clear what the story is about.

6. Check your grammar: Proofread your press release. Even a single mistake can dissuade a reporter from taking you seriously.

7. Include contact information: A lack of contact information can render a press release ineffective. A reporter may want to follow up. Include an email address and phone number.

8. Keep it short: One page is best. I usually limit my press releases to 400 words.

9. Include a quote whenever possible: A good quote gives a human element to the press release, as well as being a source of information.

Press releases are an essential part of your public relation strategy. These short compelling articles can detail book releases, event announcements and other newsworthy items. You wrote that book, now make sure someone knows about it, and reads it.


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