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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Press Releases for the Self-Published Author

Part of a successful self-published book promotion is a solid well-written press release. When it’s combined with other promotional efforts like social media including Twitter, Facebook and traditonal efforts like networking with bookstores and vendors a press release can make a huge difference in getting the word out about a new title to readers.

What is a press release? A press release is one-page document stating that tells the media about the debut of a product, service or event.
In addition, a press release contains contact information so that media outlets can contact the author/publisher if they’re interested. With book releases being soft news, authors shouldn’t expect any calls from big media outlets. But if it’s written strong enough hook, maybe a local paper or a newsletter will pick up the story and do a feature about the author and their book.

A good press release is 300-400 words maximum and broken into:

Headline- a hook that grabs the reader and makes them want to read more about your book.

Body – This answers the questions of:

What the book is about,

What audience the book is targeting,

Who the author is,

Why they wrote it,

And where it’s available for purchase followed by your Contact information.

Keep a press release short, four or five paragraphs max. And it should be written from bottom to top, with the most important information first, and contact information last.

A press release is an author’s calling card to the world and should be proofread to ensure there are no typos, spelling, punctuation, or grammar errors. If there are mistakes in the press release, many in the media will probably believe that there are errors in the book.

An author should write their press release two to three weeks before submitting a book to the printer. Once the book is published, The press release should be submitted online on the day the book hits big online retailers like and Barnes&, because this is where a large percentage of a self-published authors’ sales will come from.

Examples of successful press releases I’ve done include:

The best time for an author to launch a press release is Monday morning at 7:30-8:00 AM. This is when all the media outlets are looking for fresh stories and fresh leads.

The worst day to send out a press release is Thursday, Friday or the weekend. Most of the editors at media outlets are making their plans for the weekend and will not be interested in looking at any press releases unless it’s major hard news like national or international news. Press releases on soft news like book releases are likely to tossed in the trash by editors on any day except Monday morning.

While some sites and publishers charge, there are places where authors can go to submit a press release for free. These include,, and

A smart author uses more than one press release site in their book promotion; this ensures that their book gets maximum exposure in a majority of media outlets. Each hit on a press release site means one more person knows about an author’s book than before.


  1. Very helpful, Shawn. I'm old line with many press releases done by others; some successful, some not, but this is helpful to any author, so I'm keeping the whole enchilada:)

    Please carry on your excellent work. I get to your blogs first thing in the morning when I know you're publishing.

    This one makes my day.

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  3. I just want to say thank you for taking the time to share this information. I am a new author struggling with marketing and this has been a great help.