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Why you must have a press release that announces your book

When you want a magazine, newspaper, or blogger to review your book, what document do you send with the review copy?

You send a book announcement press release, and every book needs one. This book publicity tool tells the media and others why and how your book will make a difference. It’s the author’s equivalent of a birth announcement.

It’s not optional — it’s a necessity. And because of that, it can be the single determinant of how much attention your book receives.

Potential impact of your book’s press release

Why?

When you send a book announcement press 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.

Simply put: If you want your book reviewed by media outlets and credible bloggers, you need a good book announcement press release.

It’s a multi-purpose tool

Book publicity is about more than book reviews, though. That’s why you need a press release for your book to get other kinds of valuable exposure, including:

  • Interviews with local media outlets
  • Short news items in newspapers and magazines
  • Radio and TV interviews
  • Blog interviews on your virtual book tour
  • Speaking engagements
  • Website traffic

Most traditional publishers will write and distribute book announcement press 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.

Get started with these tips

If this is a new concept for you, here are a few tips that will help get you on the right track.

  1. Study what the big publishers send to the press. Use Google to find the press rooms of a few big publishers and read their press releases. What can you learn from them?
  2. Search for press releases on paid press release distribution sites such as eReleases (that’s an affiliate link, which means I’ll receive a small commission if you use their services) and PR NewswireUse them as samples that guide you.
  3. Avoid the mistakes made by most new press release writers. They including putting your name in the title and ditching the expected format in favor of being unique or clever.
  4. Take the time to learn. I wrote Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book so that you would have absolutely everything you need to know about how to write an attention-getting press release for your new book. Follow the clear instructions and you’re done.
  5. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Your book announcement press release tells media reviewers, blog reviewers, and others what to expect from your book. If it’s loaded with mistakes, they’ll presume that your book will have lots of mistakes, too.

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.

Have you written yours yet? What has been your biggest press release-writing challenge? 


(Editor’s note: This article was first published in July 2012. It has been updated and expanded.)

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26 Comments

  1. Sandra,

    Thank you for this post! I have been writing drafts of my own book press release recently, and it is such an important document, since it is really anyone’s first impression of my book. I appreciate the tips you provided!

    1. Kristen, you are so right! It IS a first impression, so you want it to be as good as your book. Good luck!

      Sandy

  2. This is coming at a crucial juncture for me since my novel just hit #1 in an Amazon category and I’ve been trying to make sure I don’t waste the window of opportunity. Trying to switch my thinking to that of a news person rather than author. Man we have to wear a lot of hats in this business.
    Thank you so much for sharing your expertise! And thank you, Terry Whalin, for tweeting about it 🙂

    Chana
    author of the recent #1 Amazon bestseller in Old Testament/Hebrew–THE FALL (Rapha Chronicles #1)

    1. Congratulations, Chana! How exciting! You’re on the right track — start thinking about why journalists would be interested in it. And yes — we have to wear so many hats … too many, probably, but I enjoy the constant learning.

      Sandy

    1. Thank you, Grace! Yes, this is a good time to work on that announcement press release. I hope it’s a fun process for you.

      Sandy

  3. Thanks for the info, it’s something I need to know about as I have just put a short book online via Amazon Kindle. This is just to get more publicity for my memoir I am presently writing. As so rightly stated, more publicity usually results in more sales.

    Thanks again.

    Colin Guest

  4. This is a really great article. I may be making some changes to my press release I just finished. I just published my first book “A Mom’s Point Of View: Beginning Adulthood”, I wrote it for my daughter who will soon be leaving home to be on her own. I want her to have a starter guide to life, if you will, in case I’m not available.
    AMomsPointOfView.com

    1. Thanks, Kimberly. I’m glad it was helpful. And I certainly hope that you will be able to remain available to your daughter.

      Sandy

  5. I have a question. I know for a writer they should have a press release for their new book to get the word out. What about if it’s the writers first book? Does it depend on the type of book (ex: non-fiction/short story)?

    1. Mary, the type of book influences what information you’ll include, but all books need a book announcement press release, whether it’s the author’s first or 50th.

      Sandy

  6. I would like to purchase your e-book on press releases. I do not own a kindle. It’s in pdf format, would I be able to read in from my desktop computer or from your website. I will pay the e-book price. I self-published a book, non-fiction, semi-cookbook and it went on Amazon.com 4/26/16. Title is “Not Just a Recipe”.
    I need to find out if/how to do a press release.
    Thank you in advance for any help.

  7. Thanks for this awesome post.

    How I wish I’d read this article before I published my book last year! I had no idea how to write a book announcement press release and skipped it altogether.

    I will follow your sage advice next time around!

    1. Sonia, you can still write one and upload it to your website to help with SEO. You can also use it as background when pitching guest blog post and media article ideas.

      Sandy

  8. Hi. I have an e-book on Amazon and am about to launch it as a paperback as well. I’m now looking at some PR but have been told that newspapers only review books that have not actually been published yet. Is this true? I’m targeting the UK.

    Regards,

    Charlie.

    1. Daily newspapers are very, very selective about the books they review. In the U.S., they focus on new books and rarely review self-published books. I suspect dailies in the UK work the same way.

      You might have some success with your local newspaper, especially if local bookstores are selling it.

      Here’s a helpful article on this topic from a professional reviewer: https://buildbookbuzz.com/trade-book-reviews/

      Sandy

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