What is a press release?
An article in the newspaper, an interview with a radio station or television still offer an important marketing effect for your book, even in the age of social media. And often it doesn't stop at an interview. Once your book topic is in the media, more reviews and articles follow. And also as Self-publishing author it can help to attract the attention of the press. So that journalists know when your new book is coming out, you should inform them about it with a press release.
What does a press release say?
You have published your latest work or are about to start a book tour? What your press release is about should be clear in the first few sentences - preferably already in the headline. Answer the six W-questions right at the beginning: Who is the author or main character? What is the subject of the press release or the book? Where is it playing, where is the author from, or where is the reading taking place? When is the book coming out or when is the reading date? Like can the book be bought or how did it come about or published? Why is it about this subject or this particular character?
The press release for your book won't be the only one that lands in the journalist's inbox. That's why you should convince at first sight. Not only the content has to be right, but also the structure and the additional information can be decisive for the chance of your press release being published.
How is a press release structured?
Especially important in the press release: Arouse interest. And do it right away with the headline. Journalists usually don't have much time to deal with the flood of emails that reach them every day. Seconds decide which of them are read at all or end up directly in the trash. Even an unclean structure can be a criterion for exclusion. So make sure that your text is well organized. Start with a meaningful headline and a teaser that arouses curiosity. The middle part is about the details of your book and you as an author and don't forget at the end the contact details, bibliographical information and a photo of you or the book.
Like your Book title and the first sentence the beginning of your press release must also be right. To do this, highlight the special features of your book in the headline. Why should the journalist write about your book of all things? The title is about the most important W-question: for example, the Whatwhen it comes to a new release or the When with a reading date coming up. In the headline, it must be immediately clear what you want to say to the journalist with your middle message. A concise summary of the book also fits here. Is it about a ThrillerWhat is the name of the person who is based in the region or a historically important person? Don't be too general, but use keywords to arouse emotions and curiosity, use verbs rather than nouns. If you want, you can refer to the headline with a subtitle and go into more detail.
With the teaser, you can make it clear at a glance what it's about before the actual content. So who did what, when, where, how and why? Author, title, genre and publication date belong right at the beginning as well as a current or regional reference. Why is the book being published now? In the introduction, briefly summarize the topic and style of your book, the main information should even fit into just one sentence. Be as specific as possible. If you've written a crime novel, don't just name the genre, but also what makes it special. Is it spiced with a good dose of humour or is it set in the region?
Now it's time for the details. After you briefly touched on the content in the teaser, you can expand a bit more here. What is your book about? What are the main messages and who is the target audience? Again, keywords help to clearly classify what your book is about. Is it romantic or does someone get killed? Use them to set the mood of your text.
In the main part, it goes even a little deeper. At the latest here, you should convince the journalist to invite you for an interview or to request a review copy. At this point, it's as much about the book as it is about you as an author. What's special about your new release? And what makes you interesting as an author? Go into background, describe your motivations for writing the book. Also a short author vita should not be missing here, especially in a press release to the regional newspaper. For an easier overview, you can structure the text with subheadings. And don't wait until the end to include the most important information. Put it right at the beginning to avoid the risk that the journalist does not read the text to the end and misses exactly this information.
At the end of the press release, there is contact information, a reference to the website or your social media profiles. This way, the journalist knows who to contact with questions or where to get a review copy. Don't forget to include the bibliographic details of your book, such as ISBN, price, number of pages, and Format. Also title and publication date should be seen here again at a glance.
Whether as attachments or links: A reading sample and a high-resolution book cover or author's photo with the corresponding copyright notice serve as additional information that makes the journalist's work easier. They don't need to laboriously gather the necessary information themselves, but are provided with everything. But be careful that the photos don't clutter up the entire inbox, rather work with a cloud or Dropbox here. Don't forget to ask the photographer if the pictures he took can be used in the press and under which copyright they are. At the end, there is also room for your other publications or links to meaningful reviews.
How long should a press release be?
As with all texts about your book, keep it short. Even if you are enthusiastic about your heart's project, for which you have spent a lot of time and energy, you should not overdo it in the press release. You should rather manage to infect the journalist and, in the next step, his readers with your enthusiasm, instead of offering lengthy explanations and exaggerations. Focus on the W-questions. Make sure that the press release does not fill more than one DIN A4 page, i.e. approximately between 300 and 500 words.
How is a press release formulated?
Unlike your novel, a press release doesn't need flowery language and sweeping descriptions. Press releases are factual and sober and formulated in concise sentences. Adjectives and filler words have no place here and, at worst, have to be painstakingly deleted by the editors. A press release is also not a marketing text in the conventional sense. Instead of high prices and superlatives, you should honestly show what makes your book special. If you use phrases like "greatest", "best" and "most beautiful", your email might end up in the trash.
Nevertheless, the style of the press release depends on your target group. Is it about your new Children's book, the language used in the press release is also different from that of a non-fiction or trade paperback. Orientate yourself to your writing style in the text, but remain factual.
Why do I need a press release?
Especially in the local press, an announcement in the press can work well to draw attention to your book. For example, you can inform the local community about a reading and make yourself interesting for bookstores in your region. It is much more difficult to place an article in the national press - even for well-known authors. That's why it's better to choose smaller media that are specifically suited to your book.
You can also use the press release for further marketing measures. Individual parts of it are suitable for your social media channels, cover letters to bloggers or other advertising purposes.
Where to put my press release?
Not only the style of your press release, but also where you place it depends on your target group. Every editorial office has a different focus and therefore a different audience. That's why it's no use sending your press release to all newspapers and magazines. Research specifically which ones fit your book. This doesn't always have to be the feature section in the big dailies - especially as it's hard to place a review there, even for well-known authors. It is much more important, as with the choice of the appropriate category in the Metadatato stay close to your target group. What kind of magazines do your readers buy? Try regional media and present yourself as an author of the region.
At the Federal Association of Digital Publishers and Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) you will find a Overview and research possibility German newspapers. On the portal PZ Online from the Association of Magazine Publishers, you can get information about the circulation of German magazines. And bloggers can also talk about your book.
Targeted approach is the be-all and end-all
But for now, be sparing with review copies. Your press release won't be the only one that ends up in an editor's email inbox. Before you send out one of your books, you should wait to see if the journalist or blogger shows interest. However, a short reading sample doesn't hurt and can make you all the more curious to find out more. Journalists, bloggers and press representatives can request free review copies from tredition.
And when researching, don't just look for suitable media to place your book, but also which department or editor is responsible for such enquiries. If possible, talk to them personally instead of sending your message to the editor-in-chief. This way you avoid having to send it internally - if the recipient forwards it to the right editor at all. If you have a large distribution list, you can also create circular e-mails.
Before sending the press release
Are the spelling and grammar correct? Are the attachments too large or saved in a file format that the journalist cannot open? And do all the links provided lead to the desired website? Before you send out the press release, read it again carefully for errors. If you're sending an email, make sure the subject line is right, and if you're attaching a PDF, copy the most important information into the email - but don't overdo it, journalists don't have time for page-long messages. Just place the introduction and a few sentences about the book here. You are also welcome to explain why you are sending your press release to this editorial office of all places.
After sending the press release
The daily office routine of an editor or journalist is stressful. Numerous e-mails and phone calls always take you out of work, and sometimes articles that are not time-sensitive are left unfinished for a longer period of time because of current news. Wait before you ask the editor if they have received your press release. If you haven't heard anything after a while, you can ask if necessary. But don't push the editor. Wait two to four weeks.
After the publication of the press release
If your press release made it into the newspaper or onto a blog, feel free to thank the editor personally for publishing it. Ask for a copy of the issue and share the article on your author profile, website and social media channels.
With a press release it is not only important that it is neatly structured and factually formulated. Make sure that all W-questions are answered right at the beginning and that the message really lands in the right email inbox. Stay authentic and honest and keep it short. Convince at first sight, then the chances are good that your press release will appear in the desired newspaper.