8 ways to make your book’s press release work harder for you

Your book's press release -- a book announcement press release -- is a necessary and versatile tool. Here's how to get the most from yours.
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Want to sell more books? That can only happen when your ideal readers discover it.

Your book’s press release is a tool that helps with that discovery process.

A book announcement press release summarizes your book, helps people understand how it will help or entertain them, and tells them a little about the author and why they’re the best person to write it.

Just the facts, ma’am

You write it as if you’re a journalist reporting on news that your book has just been published. It’s factual. There’s no hyperbole, exaggeration, or opinions.


There are other types of press releases that are useful for book promotion, including tip sheets and event announcements (be sure to read, “Author press releases: 10 situations that deserve one and 4 that don’t“).

But this one is unique to authors. It’s on my list of five essential tools for authors.

A book announcement press release is a must-have in part because it’s so versatile. Get more mileage from yours (and the time you spent writing it) by using it these eight different ways.

1. Distribute it to the press with advance review copies of your book.

This is the most important reason to write a book announcement press release. You never want to send a review copy to the media without one.

When sending a print review copy, fold your press release and tuck it into the book.

If you’re sending an e-book, copy and paste the press release text into your email message.

2. Distribute it to a handcrafted media list without advance review copies of your book.

You probably have a good idea of which print and online publications might run a short new book announcement rather than write a review.

This is often the case with daily and weekly newspapers, city business journalsconsumer and trade magazines, alumni publications, and some blogs.

Rather than pay a press release distribution service to blast your release to a large media list, handcraft your own list and email your press release to each outlet individually with a brief personal note.

A book announcement press release is a must-have in part because it's so versatile.Click to tweet

3. Send your book’s press release to the press through a press release distribution service.

These web-based services charge a fee to send your press release to a large number of media outlets.

When using one of these services, be thoughtful about the media categories you select for your distribution list. For example, a regional travel book will do best with a regional distribution list, while a business book’s list should include business sections of large daily newspapers, city and state business journals, and business magazines.

There are several press release distribution options. I like eReleases. If you’re a member of ExpertClick.com, your membership includes press release distribution.

4. Post it in the news rooms of free press release distribution services.

There’s a big difference between paid and free press release distribution services. In fact, the biggest difference is that only one of them actually distributes your press release. (And it’s not the free services.)

With the free services, your release sits on the site waiting to be found.

But even that serves a purpose. When your release includes a link to your author website, placing it on these sites creates a “backlink” to your site. That can help with your site’s search engine optimization — SEO.

In addition, your press release might actually get found by a journalist searching one of these sites.


5. Give it to bloggers when scheduling your virtual book tour.

A virtual book tour is a book marketing tactic that lets you share information about your book with blogs reaching your book’s target audience.

Your press release will provide the essential information bloggers need when deciding whether you and your book are a good fit for them.

6. House your book’s press release in the press room on your website.

Adding it to your online press room gives journalists researching your topic, you, or your book quick and easy access to the factual and objective information they need.

You want to make it as easy as possible for the media to write about you and your book. Giving them the facts about both facilitates that.

When you write it, include keywords that people will use when searching for books like yours.

It’s one more piece of content that helps your book get found online.

7. Provide it to meeting planners considering you as an event speaker.

Authors who speak usually present on something closely related to their book topic.

The book announcement press release summarizing your book reinforces your positioning that you’re a topic expert. It also makes you look like a pro.

8. Share it with colleagues, friends, and relatives who will support your marketing efforts.

Use it as the basis of the email you’ll send out alerting your contacts that your book is available for purchase.

How to write it

If your publisher will provide your book announcement press release, make sure they send it to you for your review and approval before it gets used. Don’t presume that they will get it right.

In-house publicists are often too busy to read the book and might be writing your press release from information in an out-dated book proposal. When you review it, you’ll be able to spot errors the publicist just can’t.

book's press release 4If you’re writing your book’s press release rather than someone else, save yourself hours and hours of time trying to figure out how to do it by downloading my e-book, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book.

The PDF format is designed with a layout that  makes the step-by-step information easy to see and follow. The Kindle version has the same content but in a text-only format.

It has everything you need to create a book announcement press release that will work hard for your book.

Write your book’s press release once, use it many times

If you follow this advice, you’ll find that your book’s press release is one of the hardest working tools in your book marketing toolkit.

It took you time to write a quality book announcement press release. Maximize that investment by using it over and over and over.

Do you have a press release that announces your book? How have you used it?

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in April 2016. It has been updated and expanded.)

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  1. Sandra – as always, you provide succinct tips and techniques to help us with writing, publishing, and promoting our books. Thanks.

  2. Excellent advice, thank you. Do you have any advice for fiction authors? I struggle with doing press releases for fiction. I took your course some long time ago but haven’t really used it. I am about to release a revised version of my novel and a novella, a prequel to the novel and would like to do a press release.

    1. Hi Susan,

      Your course materials include a copy of “Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book.” I recommend that you follow the detailed instructions and compare your final release to the fiction samples at the end of the book.

      Good luck!


  3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! Having worked with you to launch Relationship Solutions, I had implemented most of these tips. But I hadn’t thought of sending the press release to meeting organizers for speaking engagements. Thanks for the great information.

    1. I’m SO glad to hear you got an “aha” from this one, Sonia! Yay! Thanks for the feedback. : )


  4. I work in marketing & PR, and I can tell you firsthand that posting your release on those free press release sites is the worst thing you can do for SEO. Google actually penalizes you if your verbatim text is on several of these sites. Even sending a release through a legit wire service like Business Wire or OR Newswire will not positively impact your SEO; as publicists, the strategy behind releases is to help our clients gain some credibility when someone searches for them. As you know, wire services have automatic agreements with various media outlets, so it’s a pay to play situation, e.g., Dallas Morning News picks up PR Newswire releases, as does The Hollywood Reporter, etc.

    1. Thanks, Denise! I appreciate the SEO feedback. To make sure I understand, are you saying that your strategy is to get your press releases posted in multiple places online because they help with credibility, but they don’t help with SEO through backlinks?


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