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Get Free Publicity By Writing a Media Release

Marketing your book can cost thousands of dollars. But there’s one way to attain publicity at no charge—write a media release.

A media release is a promotional tool. Releases attempt to get mass media to take positive action on behalf of their sender—in this case helping you promote your book.

Plenty of “how to write media releases” instruction exists. But this article is different. Most instruction approaches the topic from the viewpoint of the release writer. I’m approaching it from the viewpoint of those who read releases and decide what to do with them. Those people are called gatekeepers. Because I’m a former journalist, and a gatekeeper, I’ve read thousands of releases. I know what works and what doesn’t. This article shows you what works.

The simplest way to learn what makes an effective release is to look at one, so here’s a sample release about a book signing event, with explanations in parentheses. Plug in your own information and email your release to media.

Subject line: Author to hold book signing event (Your subject line must grab a gatekeeper’s attention. Don’t write generic information, such as “media release.”)

Now here’s the body of the release, which should be no longer one page if printed:

Your name
Your qualifications (e.g., “electrical engineer” to show you know your subject.)
Your physical address (Gatekeepers only want stories in their geographic vicinity.)
Your phone number
Your email (Don’t assume gatekeepers will get your email from your return address.)

Today’s date

Author to hold book signing event (This tease enhances a gatekeeper’s interest.)

For immediate release

Engineer and author Fred Smith will hold a book signing event on Saturday, May 19. (This tells gatekeepers who will be doing what and some of the when.)

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Fairfield County Library in [your city]. (This sentence finishes the when and provides the where.)

(Now provide the details. What’s the name of your book? Provide a brief description. Explain why someone would want to attend your event. What room is it in? Are there free refreshments? Are reservations necessary?)

(Ideally, use this paragraph to lead into the quote in the next paragraph. Paraphrase what you’re about to say.)

"Writing this book based on my engineering career was extremely satisfying," Smith said. "I love engineering and I hope to pass that love along to my readers." (It’s perfectly acceptable to quote yourself. Make sure you’re giving your opinion and providing insight into your feelings. Don’t merely state facts.)

(Use this paragraph to further persuade gatekeepers that this is an event they should cover.)

For more information about [your book] or the book signing event, e-mail Fred Smith at *****@*****.com, or go to his web site, *******.com.

About Fred Smith

Fred Smith worked in engineering for 40 years. He earned a masters degree from ****** and holds four patents. (This “About” paragraph further demonstrates your qualifications.)

# # #

(The hash tags are standard to tell the gatekeeper she’s reached the end of your release.)

The fewer edits gatekeepers have to make the more likely they are to use your release. You want gatekeepers to say, “I can use this without editing it.” Follow the above format and that’s what will happen.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Joe Wisinski