Do I Really Need a Press Release?

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I keep hearing arguments about press releases: Are they still effective? Do you need them? What is the purpose? Are they antiquated? As with any argument, there are multiple sides and the answer to those questions depends on the context. To cut to the chase: If you are an author with a book, you must have a press release.

I could end this week’s post there, but I won’t. 🙂

A book release is a staple when it comes to book publicity and marketing. A book release explains what the book is about, who the target market is, and the benefits to the reader, and it includes all the necessary ordering information.

Do you want a media outlet to review your book? Are you looking for a distributor? Are you putting together a virtual speaking tour? That release will explain the details of your book and how to order it. This is critical. Some describe the release as the “author’s equivalent of a birth announcement, but it’s also a sales tool. Knowing how your book can be ordered is pretty important to your sales, not to mention the added SEO benefits!

But it goes beyond that. Whenever you send out a book the release should go with it, either digitally or via snail mail, depending on how the outlet prefers to receive information. Hint: Regarding industry trade reviews, you have to send hard copies.

When you send a book release with a copy of your book to reviewers, they skim the document to decide if the book is a good fit for their publication, website, and so on. If it’s badly written or doesn’t have the information they need, want, or expect, your book won’t be reviewed.

For authors, this is not optional — it’s a necessity. And because of that, it can be the single determinant of how much attention your book receives. Therefore, when you hear people arguing over the value of a press release, there are situations where they aren’t very helpful, but that does not include authors interested in reviews.

In addition to reviews, book press releases work well when you’re announcing an event, but for other types of coverage, I suggest creating a pitch letter. More on that in an upcoming Savvy Sunday News edition and you can read more on the differences between the two here.

Most traditional publishers will write and distribute book releases for their authors. If you’re self-published, you need to go the do-it-yourself route, even if you’ve never seen a press release before.

So if you’ve never written a book release, read on.

Book Release Tips

  1. Look for book releases already written and published and study how they’ve been put together. Go to the website of a favorite author and see if they have a media room. Often press releases will be posted there.
  2. Study what the big publishers send to the press. Use Google to research what some of the big publishers write and learn from them. Often their websites will be helpful.
  3. Search for press releases on paid press release distribution sites such as PR Newswire. But remember, not all book releases are created equal, so look for books that have been successful to increase your chances of finding effective and well-written releases.
  4. Be sure your release is well crafted and free of spelling errors. Have another pair of eyes look it over too, such as an editor, because our own eyes can pass over mistakes when we’re familiar with the material.

A Few Basics for Creating a Book Release

    • Use a great endorsement at the top.
    • Make sure your name and contact information are also at the top and easy to find.
    • The release’s headline is your book’s title.
    • Write a couple of paragraphs on who the book is for and what the benefits are to the reader.
    • Include your bio at the end.
    • Put the ordering information at the bottom.

Your book’s press release can be the difference between success and failure. Take the time to write one that matches what media reviewers and others expect. It’s not hard when you have a little help so if you need it, ask for it!

To your success!


P.S.: I have a product on how to write a great release that contains some samples of well-written releases. It hasn’t been added to my products page yet, but let me know if you’re interested.






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