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If you're an indie publisher, writing a Press Release is yet another thing that comes under the heading of "Marketing and Promoting Your Book".
You don't have to do one, of course. But I think it's a good idea, even if creating it will probably drive you to distraction.
The purpose of a Press Release is, like all book promoting, is to let people know 1) that your book exists and to generate interest in it, and 2) to give some info about you, the author.
In this case 'people' are 'the media' - journalists and suchlike, who are in a position to bring your book to the attention of potential readers.
I decided to write a Press Release. It took several days and gave me a stinking headache! I posted (not emailed) it to ten papers within roughly a forty-mile or so radius of where I live, using as a hook the fact that I am a local author.
Four days later, someone from one of the papers emailed to ask for jpegs of images of my book cover and of me - hopefully because they're going to write an article. A few days after that, another paper rang me for an online interview for a "piece about my book", which was published that same week.
I did a lot of trawling through the internet, finding out what a Press Release should contain and how to set it out and a whole host of info. You can read what I found out on the Tips & Advice page
I put my Press Release onto Biblioscribe (A free service allowing authors and publishers to submit press releases for free. Click here if you'd like to read it.