Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 21, 2011

Ten Press Release Tips – Happy Chanukah!

Thank you to Amalia Hoffman for sending in the illustration above.  Amalia is a published author and illustrator.  Her  books include: Purim Goodies, Friday Night with the Pope, and The Klezmer Bunch. You can visit her site at:

If you have a book coming out with a big publisher, you may not have to worry about marketing your book. Even so many publishers are cutting back on costs, so you might need to consider doing some marketing on your own. PLEASE NOTE:  Run all your marketing ideas by your editor and/or publisher before you plunge into doing something. There may be a reason why your publisher would nix your idea, so check. But for the authors who are with small presses and or are self-publishing, you will want to consider how you can get the public to hear about your book.

Press releases are an inexpensive form of publicity and underused by most self-publishers. A good press release can payoff big, so think about adding it to your arsenal of marketing tactics.

The most important thing to remember is to try to think like a reporter. Step out of your author shoes and write as if you were writing a news article. People want to know what you are offering them. How does this article benefit them? Why is it important? Does your press release offer an answer to a question they have? It needs to be newsy. Talk about what they will get from reading the book, not the book itself. People want to buy a book to educate themselves, solve a problem, or be entertained. Focus on the benefits to the reader. This is the time to use that pitch your perfected and write your press release around your pitch idea.

Here are the main components you shold include in your press/media release.

1.Headline: This is the most important part of your press release. Make it eye-catching and memorable. You only have a few seconds to catch a reader’s attention. If people aren’t attracted by the headline, they won’t read the story. The headline should hook the reader and make them want to know more. Its job is to get a reader to want to read the next paragraph. The first paragraph will have to keep them reading. If your headline is magnetic and your story compelling, your press release can multiply your exposure exponentially.

PRWeb recommends keeping headlines to 80 characters or less.

2. Contact information: Provide complete contact information. I know this sounds like it would go without saying, but I have seen so many people forget this all important step. If you have an editor who wants to know more, or to request a copy of your book, you do not want to miss that opportunity. If you are trying to look like an actual publishing company, don’t use an author’s name as the contact.

3. Release information: Somewhere near the top type in “For Immediate Release” this makes it look like real news. Make sure you specify a date at the top so it is in plain sight.

4. Length: Think picture book when you write your press release. Try to keep it to 500 words if possible. Eliminate repetition, flowery language. and tighten your story. You can go longer if needed, but you want to hold the attention of the person reading it. Remember all of our attention spans have gotten shorter.

5. Summary: Sometimes you will see a press release that includes a two or three sentence summary under the headline. This works especially well, for the times when the release is shown as a listing. The summary offers a quick look of what you’ll find.

6. Links: Don’t include, too many links. If you only include one, it will be easier for people to remember if it is listed in the newspaper and if it appears on-line you will increase your chances for someone to click the link. Having too many links dilutes the most important one or two links.

7. About the Author: Since this is a book release, include your standard author bio trying to keep it under 100 words.

8. Dateline: Stories in the newspaper always start with a dateline, so you include one too. Place it at the beginning of your release. This is simply to specify the location of the story you are telling.

9. Keywords: You probably have heard how search engines use keywords to pop up site that provide information about those subjects. You want to include the keywords in your media release to try to drive traffic to your article. Make sure you weave them into your article naturally and few times.

10. Media kit: The press release should attempt to imitate either a news story or a book review that you would find in the kind of publication you’re submitting your news to, but it is just one part of your media kit. You should also include the full publishing information on your book, photos of you and the book, plus a cover letter.

Large parts of newspapers and many magazines are written from press releases, so you really do have a chance to get noticed if you do it right (write from a reporter’s prespective) and target the right places.  Here is another thing where you need to do your homework.  I know, I know we have a lot on our plate, but this is all part of selling a book.  Make a plan before your book comes out, so you don’t have to scramble later.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What an adorable illustration 🙂 My boyfriend’s mother would love it—she’s SO into shoes, and not just the real ones; she collects all kinds of trinkets!

    And, Kathy, as usual, you are a goldmine of useful info! Thanks!


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