Write a Killer Press Release - article

You want be a successful published author. You’ve already written a fab book but how do you get the word out there? One necessary skill is the ability to write a killer press release. A press release is a relation of the “news” article and is intended for press outlets. This document serves to whet the interest of local and national news organizations. It’s always written in third person and in present tense. All grammar and spelling must be perfect. The entire press release should be no more than a page in length and it should also have a strong slant that showcases your work.

In the top left hand corner of the release include the words “For Immediate Release.” This announces your press release to news agencies. Below this, include a heading with your contact information and your personal logo. This portion of the press release needs to be appealing, formatted, and professional.

Next the headline is centered in the middle of the page. This needs to be catchy without sliding into melodrama or sensationalism. This is not a place to outdo with the National Inquirer. Drive this portion of the press release with active verbs and precise nouns. Your pitch must be irresistible. It must also be focused. Don’t ramble or generalize.

Follow the headline with the first line of the body of the press release. It always begins with the location of the release in all caps followed by the date. The next paragraphs are crucial. They reveal newsworthiness with riveting details. The book is the star in a press release not the author.

In the first paragraph the essence of the book needs to be condensed down to a one sentence summary that offers a provoking glimpse into at the book’s content. This is followed by the ISBN, the book type (i.e. hardcover, e-book, or trade paperback), the book’s length, the book’s trim size, and price.

The next paragraph add three more sentences that set the book apart from all other competitors. These sentences must show why this book is a standout in its genre. After this, add any endorsements the book has received from reviewers or other authors. Next tie the book to any specific special interest group. Adding an endorsement quote from a member of this group is also helpful.

Finally add a sentence about the professional qualifications of the author and any platform that the author may have. The author might be a former lawyer/doctor/circus clown -- anything that might support the content of the book needs to be mentioned here. Also mention any upcoming author appearances. Close with a polite nudge like: “for more information or to schedule an interview…” Follow this with contact information, including a phone number, email and website. To end, use the standard formatting marks “##.”

Follow this tried and true plan for a killer press release. Be confident that you have approached news organizations in a professional way that will garner results.

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  • I appreciate the information. My book comes out hopefully in January. I am trying to set up a literacy book tour at several schools during Nevada Reading Week. I already have 3 schools on board. This is right after my book launch, but I have to wait until I know the date the book comes out. So I'm interested in your steps. Thanks
  • Thanks Molly a lot of good information here - i agree Donna A sample would be great.
  • Ditto: would appreciate seeing a sample document.
  • Former Member
    Former Member
    Hi Donna -- that's a great idea. I'll look into it and see if we can get a sample up here. Thanks for the input.
  • This is really good information, but it would be even more helpful if there was a sample document showing an actual press release, even if it's a fake book.