Monday, October 21, 2013


A press release is a written statement to the media. Press releases can announce scheduled events, personnel promotions, awards, new products and services, sales accomplishments, but we will focus on press releases for authors. There are two components to press releases. The first component is writing the release to maximize the attention that it will receive. The second is sending it to media outlets that will maximize your exposure. This month we'll focus on preparing the release. In December (my November slot will feature guest author, Judy Alter), we'll continue with marketing the completed press release.

Press releases generally follow an established format. Check the target of the press release to determine if there are specific guidelines. Using that appropriate format to prepare releases insures that yours will receive the attention it needs. If yours stands out, it could generate feature stories, interviews, and other opportunities. A booksigning or speaking event with booksigning following is much more newsworthy than an announcement about a book release.

Keep the release brief and concise, limiting it to one page. Make sure that the content is well-written and grammatically correct. If the editor or reporter doesn't have a lot of editing to do, your release is much more likely to be used. Look to your own newspaper for examples of published articles or announcements.

The main components of the press release should include the heading, headline, body, personal boilerplate info, and your contact info. The press release should begin with a standard heading, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Unless you begin with EMBARGOED UNTIL … (insert date), it is assumed that the release is for immediate release.

The HEADLINE, which follows the heading should include key words and be concise and eye-catching. The BODY contains the information you want to share. The First Paragraph contains the most important information. It is the news that you want to share. You include dates and the event and key words (for search engines). The Second Paragraph (and maybe third) contains supporting information which expands the on the first paragraph. For an author, it might include particulars about the book, booksigning, or other event.

Doing a good job of writing up your content is critical. The five "Ws" and an "H" cover it well. When you answer the questions Who-What-When-Where-Why-How, you will have completed the content section. Again, keep it short, concise, and tailored to your audience. Your lead sentence should sum of what the article will be about and grab the readers' interest. 

After you've written your content, the BOILERPLATE INFO provides information amount you, your books and publishers, your successes, and plans. Again, make it succinct but interesting. Store it for future use. Finally, your CONTACT INFO concludes the press release. In this computer-driven world, a physical address is less important than your electronic media. Your name, phone, email, webpage, and publishers should also be included. Conclude the release with the standard three hash marks. ###

In December, "Targeting Your News Releases" will cover targeting your media releases.

Visit Rita Bay at Rita Bay's Webpage & Blog
"Finding Eve" Champagne Books, September, 2013
"Nimue's Daughter," Shared Whispers, Champagne Books, September, 2013
"Search & Rescue" Secret Cravings Publishing, July, 2013
"Her Teddy Bare" Carnal Passions, May, 2013
"The Aegis" Champagne Books, April, 2013
"Ely's Epiphany" Secret Cravings Publishing, December, 2013"Into the Lyons' Den" Champagne Books, August, 2012
"His Desire" Siren BookStrand, May, 2012
"His Obsession" Siren BookStrand, April, 2012


Liz Fountain said...

I love the practical advice, Rita. I didn't do a good job on a press release for my first book, and now I know why!


Rita Bay said...

Hope it helps, Liz. I did loads of releases at work and as the PR com chair for my RWA chapter for years. The main point is to do the editor/reporter's work for them. If it's publication ready, it's more likely to be printed. More on that in December. Rita

Big Mike said...

Appreciate the info, Rita.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Martha O'Sullivan said...

Great advice and refresher. I was a PR major in college, and although the fundamentals are still the same, the world of marketing has become so breakneck and compendious that you only have a few seconds (and words) to garner interest. I'll look forward to your next post!

Martha O'Sullivan