Writing a press release may seem like an echo of the press kit, but in reality, they serve different purposes. Your press kit is all about you and the book, but a press release features your book without being an explicit advertisement. The point here is to convince the media that your book is worth writing about and that it can resonate with specific groups of people.
In order to make your press release a success, you need to make the article relate to what people are talking about while also mentioning your book and background. As with any article, it’s important for you to cover the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, why. The “who” covers you, the author. It’s meant to provide a snapshot of your credentials and experience and indicate why you are the one to write about your topic. Then your “what” should explain a little about the book and subject.
You want to offer enough information to draw your readers in without giving away your whole book. Once you have your readers engaged, you’ll need to provide the “when,” the publication date, and the “where,” where they can make that purchase. The “why” is meant to seal the deal: why this book? Why you? Why should they spend their money? It’s a delicate balance to maintain as you cover these 5 Ws without making the press release seem like an advertisement.
Within the release, you’ll want to assert why you matter and how your book connects to the article content, thereby furthering the discussion around it. Your headline needs to be catchy—you’ve got to engage your future readers, describe what your book will offer them, and leave them wanting more all in a few words. Take the time to develop a headline that accomplishes these goals and get feedback from your support system.
Sending out unsolicited press releases can be a shot in the dark, but the more you get your name and book details out, the better it is for you. Just be prepared for outright rejection or rejection through “ghosting” (never hearing back). If you have the budget for it, a PR company can handle all of your publicity needs, scheduling speaking engagements, getting out press releases, and taking the initiative to infiltrate the appropriate markets.
Once you start cultivating a name and following for yourself, the opportunities will start to flow in: press releases are stepping stones to that goal.