how to write a press release

These days, most new authors, especially self-published ones, lean on their own professional networks to promote their works. However, if, as a new author, you choose to rely on the print and broadcast media to get the word out about your book, be prepared to reach out with a gripping press release.

And, by “a gripping press release,” we mean a newsworthy, credible, disinterested, and informative document that, as a result, grabs the attention of a news reporter and boosts your chances of gaining coverage for your book.

“Gripping” also means that your press release must also be entertaining, to the point, and topical.

Otherwise, it will be lost in a sea of publicity material already piling up high on a managing editor’s newsdesk.

How do you avoid this terrible fate?

Learn the definition of a book press release, how to write an impressive one and how to finetune it for your book as follows:

The Definition of a Press Release

A press release is a “pseudo-news story,” written in the third person that attempts to convince a news reporter or managing editor of the “newsworthiness of a person, event, service, or product.”

For your purposes, this amounts to you and your book.

Press releases are “brief documents” that underscore the most salient points of your message, especially as they pertain to the subject of your book.

More likely than not, you will send them to your local print or broadcast media outlet by email, if not by fax, or snail mail. They can stand-alone or as part of a complete press kit with a pitch letter.

In this way, journalists do not have to plow through your book to get to the heart of your matter.

In an era of merged and bought-out newspaper chains and thinning newsroom staff, journalists appreciate your well-written press release because their work is cut out for them.

They need only retain the most pertinent aspects of your release, make minor adjustments and come away with a polished product ready for publication or broadcast, offline or online.

Your press release can serve as a great marketing tool because it catches the eye of media outlets and enables them to talk about your book.

This translates into free publicity for you and greater exposure — hopefully to the niche audience you most wish to cultivate.

Writing Tips For a Good Press Release

You should ensure your press release is properly formatted if the local media outlets are to react.

A properly formatted press release contains the following elements: third-person narrative throughout, a news angle and headline, a subheader, a dateline, introduction, a quote, a short author biography, book information, and contact information.

Third Person

Your press release should ring like a news story, which journalists will favor, and not like advertising. Otherwise, it will not be objective and authoritative. You mean to inform with your press release, not promote your work as yet.

News reporters depend on your press release to write articles that target their readership or viewership. They will not consider your submission if it is an advertising copy written in the first person.

Press Release Headline

To come up with a snappy headline for your press release, you should decide first on the news angle or your eye-grabbing hook as it relates to your book.

What do you wish to inform your readers about? What do you wish to inform the readership of a media outlet about?

Perhaps, the subject of your book ties into a current event. It could be related to politics, government, sports, or entertainment. Be vocal about how it relates, what insights you have to share, and if your research points to a development no other author has touched on.

Print and broadcast media news reporters also seek stories with a local impact on their readers or involve a topic that has not been covered yet.

Should you have a local event or the setting of your book is in a particular area, be sure to leverage this for a news angle in your press release.

Reporters will see the relevance of your book and its topic if it references the local area they already cover.

If your book topic or story blazes a trail into a new genre, be sure to highlight this fact in your press release.

What news reporter would not want to “scoop” his or her peers by exploring a new genre and your book and its topic happens to afford him or her that career-building opportunity?

Or you may want to connect the topic of your book to a Google or a social media trend. This could mean a social meme, the latest fashion, or the most popular hashtags. The more noteworthy the subject, the more media outlets will view your book as relevant to their readers.

Otherwise, your book may be based on a true story — your own. If so, be sure to play it up in your press release. You can recount the tale of how you saved lives, launched a successful business, or solved the problems of others. You may highlight hardships you overcame or life lessons you learned and how you did so.

Moreover, still, you may have earned the ringing endorsement of a celebrity. Oftentimes, a famous figure can determine who a book is aimed at and the extent of its appeal. The greater the authority or status of the endorser, the more impact it will have on your book.

If a well-respected or well-known figure talks about your book, make the most of the endorsement — whether it is a famous author, TV star, radio show host, or a leading light in your niche, field, or industry.

In any case, you are more likely than not to turn heads among media outlets if you have the support of a celebrity.

With any of the four categories of a news angle or a hybrid of them, you are ready to craft your headline. Remember to keep it short and simple. Your headline must not number more than 20 words.

Press Release Headline Examples:

Let’s consider, for example, that your book focuses on the effects of the pandemic and national and local COVID-19 restrictions on the incidence of violent and nonviolent crimes in cities and towns throughout the country.

As you are following the news to feed your book since the dawn of COVID, you find a former and well-respected FBI director releases research, showing that the pandemic and its effects did not slow down criminal behavior across all categories but, in fact, exacerbated the phenomenon.

Perhaps, you are intrigued about the facts and figures that this crime expert revealed in his report and you decide to use it in a headline in your press release.

Ex-FBI: Pandemic Restrictions Put No Damper On Crime In 2020


Top-Rated Criminologist Says Nationwide Violence Worsened With COVID

Depending on the slant of your book topic, the news angle of your press release, and what the ex-FBI director actually said, either one or more headlines may suit your purpose.

It will not be lost on news reporters that you attempted to tie your book subject to pertinent news events, including the growth of crime during COVID, to serve their readers.

Additionally, both headlines achieve brevity and make their point. They both number under 20 words with the first one being ten words long and the second having eight words.

To become inspired, remind yourself of the types of headlines that grab your attention. It is also helpful to think about the process you underwent to decide on your book title. The same rules go for your headline.


The subheader informs a news reporter a little more about your book. You are developing your news angle.

The headline perks a reader’s interest while a subheader provides them with more of a reason to continue reading the release.


Be sure to cite your city, state, country, and the date of your press release. This is located in brackets before your first paragraph.


This can be viewed as the lead or lede of your press release. Start with a powerful statement and then proceed to make your point.

Adopt the old journalism school standby of “show, don’t tell.” To stand out, you must demonstrate to editors who receive dozens of press releases daily why they should read yours.

This goes for fiction and nonfiction books alike. In either case, you will have to center your work around a particular subject. Whether your work is fictional or nonfictional in nature, you can use the topic to come up with a relatable angle on a current event, trend, or celebrity for your press release.

To achieve this, you will rely on journalism school’s lead writing exercise of addressing the five w’s and one h — who, what, when, where, why, and how.

To structure your press release, be sure to establish early why the editor and news reporter should consider your book for review and how it will serve their readership and the niche audience you want to cultivate. Set up the why and how in the very first sentence of your press release.

After you’ve attempted to hook your reader with the how and why of your book, follow up immediately with the who, what, when, and where.

Again, your release is meant to inform readers and not push your works. If your press release comes across as a sales letter and does not try to add value to your readers, you won’t gain authority or much traction.

Keep in mind that journalists want news value, not so much to review your book. They want an angle or a hook.


You can select a quote from your book or from a celebrity who endorsed it.

Base your choice on the nature of your book. Depending on the subject matter, it can be clever, humorous, controversial, or substantive.

Make sure that the quote is engaging and newsworthy. Steer clear from boring or dry quotes. For your press release, you should opt for a memorable statement.

The quote should represent your entire book. It ought to be appropriate. It must match the book’s tone and subject. Don’t go for humor if your book is about grief and sorrow.

Short Author Bio

This refers to the boilerplate of your press release but it is still your chance to shine. The bio should number no more than 100 words.

Establish your identity in this section of the release. Most readers will not know who you are. You must tell them.

Name recognition is one of the main reasons behind book-buying decisions. If you are viewed as an influencer or leader on your subject matter, media outlets are more likely to take a second look at you and your work.

Take this opportunity to make light of your professional background and accomplishments, which will bolster your weight as an author. Point to your author websites and any other books you may have written.

Make sure that all that you write in your bio is relevant to your book and your brand as an author. When deciding on what details to include, think of your readers and what they would want to see.

Book Info

This is known as the book description. Here, you make your case to the reader as to why they should care about and read your published work.

In much the same way that your book cover design must catch the eye of the reader, your opening lines ought to capture him or her from the very outset.

Address the problems of your reader. Tap into their goals, dreams, issues, or grievances and explain how your book will resolve them.

Don’t skimp on the details. Clarify for the reader what your book is about and the results of reading it.

This is the one part of your press release that serves as advertising. It is aimed at getting readers to want your book.

Be sure to keep it simple using concise and clear sentences. No more than one or two paragraphs should do.

Contact Info

Make yourself as accessible as possible to your readers. Cite your web address, email, phone number, and any social media links.

Identify who the point of contact is to handle interviews and review copy requests. For self-published books, that is typically you, the author, but it can also be an assistant, a freelance publicist you hired, or the Marketing Manager from an assisted self-publishing company like eBooks2go.

Call to Action

Rally the reader around what action steps you would like them to take next. Inform them if you would like them to visit your author’s website, attend a book event, blog about your book, or interview you about your book.

Make clear your aim.

Vet Your Press Release

To ensure that your press release looks professional before submitting it to a news outlet, have it properly copy-edited and proofread.

Check for grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, style, and syntax. Accuracy, clarity, and conciseness are paramount.

Reach Out For Help With Your Press Release

Should you choose as a new independent author to use the media to promote your book, you will need to write an impactful press release to catch the eye of a news reporter. That much is clear.

Sometimes, you may be stumped on a news angle. You can’t decide which current events or social media trends best fit the topic of your book — whether fictional or nonfictional.

Perhaps you are leery about divulging your own personal story or that of another person. Or you cannot find an authority figure larger-than-life enough to endorse your work.

eBooks2go can examine your work and figure it out for you. Our press release writing and distribution service will grab the helm of your efforts to publicize your book effectively.

Take advantage of our nationwide press release distribution today!