Press Releases: Getting the Word Out

One of the most important tools an indie writer has at their disposal is the press release about their latest book.  There are a couple of ways to go about doing this, but the main way that will garner the most attention is by writing a thorough and yet to-the-point release.

The press release should include six things:

1.  A Short Headline – The headline should grab the attention of the press with something that sells your book to them.  It should only be one short sentence.  Don’t write this first, but come back after you have done the other steps and write this when you have a more clear idea as to what you want the press release to look like.  Headlines are written in bold and the first word is capitalized.  You could also extract the key words from your body copy and create a headline that way.

2.  Body Copy – Start with the date and city where the book is being released, then write a short sentence that sums up the main thrust of your novel without being too flashy or verbose.  Then write a very short paragraph explaining the niche your novel reaches, a little about the genre and very brief details.  The main purpose here is to write maybe three to five short sentences that hit the high points of your book.

3.  The Five “W”s – All journalists want to know the who, what, when, where and why.  Be sure to cover this in the body copy.  Keep it short and to the point.  A press release should be no longer than two to three pages.

4.  Who Are You? – Include information about you, about your previously published works, or about your experience as a writer.  Possibly you have never published anything until now, and don’t have much to write about here.  Do not make things up.  Be truthful.

5.  Contact Information – At the end of the release, leave your full address, a phone number where you can be reached, your website or blog, and links to other books you have written.

6.  Hashtags – It may sound funny, but the industry standard is to end the press release with three centered hashtag marks (#).

You can pay for this or use free services.  Mashable has listed 20 websites that offer completely free press releases to get the word out about your book and Avangate lists an incredible 50 websites as well.  Read this article before you decide which service to go with because sometimes you get what you pay for, but some of the “free” sites are indeed helping people.  A majority of them, however are useless.  It’s worth it to check out the free ones that actually do get the word out.

Published by Roger Colby, Novelist, Editor

Roger Colby is a novelist and teacher who has taught English for nearly two decades. He is also an avid reader of science fiction who feels, like many other sci-fi readers, that he has read everything. He writes science fiction for the reader who is looking for the next best thing, something to excite them into reading again. This blog is his journey as a writer and his musings about writing. He also edits manuscripts for a fee and is an expert at helping you reach your full potential as a writer.

2 thoughts on “Press Releases: Getting the Word Out

  1. Great advice, Roger! So many people get nervous about doing this but it can really reach people–or possibly earn you a feature story.

    I’ve been sending out a lot of press releases for my book of author interviews and essays, targeting everyone’s local papers and having quite a bit of success. What I didn’t expect was for the editors to run my personal cell phone and email address in the paper; I had put those listings at the end of he release for the editor’s use, not for publication, but they ended up in the paper (and now I jump when the phone rings). So I have switched strategies and started to put my contact info up top, right below my press logo, then I’ve listed my press website at the end of the release.

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