By Desiree Bussiere, Scarletta
We are in a world of nonstop publishing from every angle, and we are all trying to get media, consumers, and bookstores to pay attention to our books. A good publication press release is an “old-fashioned” bit of marketing that can make your book stand out.
Start Your Structuring
The best place to start is with a press release template that matches your company branding and is easily recognizable as a press release. By consistently using this template, you’ll create recognition of your company and books.
Write a headline that is short, exciting, and to the point, just like those “attention getters” you wrote for your college composition papers. Follow it with a subtitle that feeds the reader a little more info about what they are reading. More often than not, by the time you finish your press release, you’ll have changed both several times.
Now you’re to the meat of the matter. If you struggle with determining what to write about, try pretending you are a reporter writing an article for a newspaper. This allows you to step outside of your publishing role and view the book as the target audience. Outline the main facts you want to highlight and build your press release around it with engaging transitions and positive wording. The first paragraph should always include the book’s title, author, pub date, and one ISBN. Other points to include might be an exciting back-story of publishing the book; something unique about the author such as fantastic credentials; a special connection, funding a nonprofit with sales proceeds, for example; or something unique about the book (like a scorecard in back!). The article of your press release should be no more than one page on the front to allow people to follow up with questions and further share your news.
So what are you going to do with the backside of the press release? The backside is a great place to list title information, highlight prominent events, share social media links, and list major vendors that carry the book. Just be careful not to overcrowd.
How and Where to Share
Create a list of local media outlets and bookstores, and pinpoint national or regional media and bookstores that are critical to your specific release. Don’t forget to include publicity contacts for the publishing organizations in which you are a member.
Consider posting your press release online in a designated pressroom on your website. And, with a little reformatting you can share it via email marketing such as Constant Contact, or post it on sites like PRLog. When posting the full press release online, don’t forget to share the links via social media.
Timing is Everything
A good rule of thumb: “no more than one press release per month per imprint.” If you have multiple titles coming out in one imprint within a month of each other, find a way to connect them so you aren’t bombarding people with press releases. If you have two kid’s titles and one adult title in the same month, it’s more beneficial to have two press releases to reach your target audiences. Just be sure to spread them out.
Now that you have your press release and contact lists created, you need to decide when to send. Always send your press release out at least two weeks in advance of the publication date. If it’s a key title, you’re expecting major sales, and/or you have a lot of events, it’s best to get your press release out three to four weeks in advance of the book’s release. You’ll have plenty of time to follow up with outlets and get feature articles.
An example press release from Scarletta can be found here.
Since 2005, Scarletta has been independently publishing works with quality editorial and design for children and adults. Innovation, passion, and attention to detail define our approach to every title we publish.
[Editor’s note: Scarletta Press is now Mighty Media Press]