A press release is a news story. It is written in third person, has a catchy title and intro, an engaging discussion of the book's topic, and contains at least one quote. The thing to remember is that a press release is a story. What the book is about, why it is significant, and how it came to be written are all important components of a press release.
There are many templates for press releases online. (Type "press release book release" into a search.) Read the releases that have been distributed by publishing houses as well as the templates. (For example, search "Hachette press release.")
After you have honed your press release, the next step is to send it to media outlets via press release distributors. (Be sure to remember your local paper. Local authors are celebrities!) Don't wait until the last minute. If your local paper, for example, would like to include a photo, or get some quotes, you will need to give them sufficient advance notice - at least a couple of weeks.
Most press release services charge a fee - sometimes a hefty one - for distribution to the thousands of media channels that exist in print, on air, and on the net. But there are a few that are free, and some only charge a nominal fee. Depending on where you want your press release to be distributed, you don't have to spend a fortune.
Below are 17 press release services that don't charge a fee and which include an "arts and entertainment" category. Most of these also include paid services for broader distribution. It is worth the time to compare what each service offers in terms of paid and free distribution. Not only will a comparison give you an idea of how broadly your release can be distributed, it will let you know exactly where.
Recommended reading. (This is a great article comparing the effectiveness of different press release services.)
60 Free Press Release Sites Tested – A Detailed Review
* An asterisk means registration is required.
2 PR Log * Free press release distribution service
3 PR.com *
4 Free Press Release * Online distribution to search engines
5 Press Box (UK) *
6 Newswire * Free and paid services.
7 Open PR * German site
8 Free Press Release Center * European site
9 UK Prwire * UK news only
10 Free Press Index *
11 PR Urgent *
12 Press Exposure *
13 PR Mac * Listing on website, distribution to email list only. Offers paid services for broader distribution.
14 Online PR News * Appears on Google News. Offers paid services for broader distribution.
15 PR Fire * Based in UK
16 PR-Inside *
17 Big News.biz *
PR Underground Offers syndication to 100+ News Sites. Very affordable at $39
Newswire * The paid service has a wide reach. Not cheap.
Pressat UK based, quite comprehensive. Plans start at £110
E-releases * Plans range from $249-$499. More pricey plans guarantee distribution to hundreds of news outlets.