We usually ask our authors, before the launch of their book, to draft a press release so we can publicise their book in the way they want. Although we explain what a press release needs to contain, we often receive material that isn’t useable as a press release – from irrelevant stories about the author to simple extracts from their book.

So here is our quick and dirty guide to writing your author press release in four simple steps.

1. Contentious Headline (or perhaps a trending celeb/news-linked headline)

9D0708A4C8The sole purpose of the headline is to encourage people to stop and read further. Alluding to secrets and shocks, making a bold (and often contrary) statement or making a big promise (tips, advice, principles etc), are all good ways to achieve this. If you start with a headline that summarises your take (whether set out in your book or not) on a current news story or something that bugs you about your industry then it can make writing the rest of the release that much easier.

Non-Fiction Examples:

  • Outspoken Author Sets Out 5-Step Plan To Fix Our Broken Care-Sector

  • Democracy Isn’t Working” Says Controversial New Book

  • Relationship Expert Sheds Light on Why [Hollywood Couple’s] Split Was Inevitable

  • Author of New Book on Fitness Shares 3 Steps to Get a Body Like [Someone Famous]

  • New Book Reveals: Risk Taking is a Vital Secret to Happiness

  • Author Claims: School-leavers Struggle to Find Jobs Because They’ve Been Taught The Wrong Things

  • Peak Performance Expert Reveals 5 Things That All [Olympic Gold Medallists] Have in Common

  • Assertive People Have Better Careers” Claims Author of New Job-Seeking Book

Fiction Headlines can be trickier but it’s still worth striving for something more than a variation on “Author Writes Book”. Think more about the impact the book might have on audiences or delve more deeply into what makes you, as the author, a interesting and news-worthy. This is sometimes referred to as the “human interest”. Does your personal story give hope or inspiration? Will your book make people think differently or laugh or cry?

Fiction Examples:

  • [YOUNG/OLD/BROKE/PERSISTENT] Author Achieves Publishing Dream

  • New Historical Fiction Novel Forces Us To Examine Our Views On [HISTORICAL EVENT]

  • Award-winning Novel Explores Culture Clash Between Muslim Bengali Mother and Her Westernised Son

2. Short Intro (if you can find a research-based statistic even better):

This needs to be two sentences max and should elaborate on the headline, set the context and introduce the “expert/author” from the headline. If you can get the title of your book and/or your name into it too then do it. Taking a couple of headlines from above here are some examples:

Outspoken Author Sets Out 5-Step Plan To Fix Our Broken Care-Sector

Amid public outrage at yet more care home scandals, policy-makers are looking to toughen regulation. [Author Name], a care industry expert and author of [Book Title] believes there are 5 vital elements to effective reform.

New Book Reveals: Risk Taking is a Vital Secret to Happiness

If you’re not completely happy with your life then perhaps you’re not taking enough risks. This is the advice of international risk expert Steve Martin in his new book, Cool Risk: How to be Happy in a World of Worry, published by Bookshaker.

3. Main Content (this is the bit to keep to 400 words, or less if possible):

CKZCFWVW19This needs to be written as though a third party (the journalist) were writing about you. Its overall tone works better if the bulk of the release is unbiased and the contentious elements (or the tips and valuable info) are included as quoted pieces. Key things we like to include are…

  • Useful information (some kind of tips – such as 7 tips for a perfect first date), entertainment (ie a celeb angle) or extremely current (ie commentary on a breaking news story or meme – such as political stories, new studies or world events). This always works better than a sales message or announcement for the book.

  • A quotation from the author (and any other parties): [Author Name], author of [Book Title] says, “Something along the lines of the headline but with more depth and easy-to-quote soundbites.”

  • Factual Stuff: I always suggest ending with a sentence stating the title of your book and where it can be purchased from.

4. Journalist Notes:

  • A short blurb setting out your credentials.

  • A high-resolution author headshot.

  • A high-resolution front cover image.

  • Website links. Your main website and/or social media profile. The release will appear online too, so linking to your website will help with search engine visibility.

  • A call to action such as: [Author Name] is available to provide expert comment on the subjects of [Your Topic, Expertise, Industry, etc.]

  • An offer of a review copy of the book and details for how to ask.

  • Contact Details: A telephone number and email address so journalists can follow up quickly if they need you.

  • Sources: If you’ve quoted a study or statistic or fact then back it up with a link to the original source or a respected news source (e.g. BBC)

  • Title, Author Name, Publisher, ISBN No of book, and where it is available.

That’s it!

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