by Connie Dunn
One of the most basic tools for marketing your book is a press release. It’s been around a long time, but it is still just as valid as it was more than 100 years ago, when the first press/news release was used. Publications haven’t gone away, in fact, there are more of them! Many publications have gone online, such as newspapers like the Boston Globe, a large well-known newspaper, or the Bolivar Herald Free Press (http://bolivarmonews.com), a small, not-so-well-known publication. The good thing about that is that you can easily submit your press release via email. That makes it even better than before. There are still a few publications that want snail (USPS) mail; in my list they go to the bottom.
So… where do you get these email addresses? There are a couple of databases full of these addresses: http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html for US publications and http://www.onlinenewspapers.com for world-wide publications. Sometimes the publication doesn’t have actual email addresses, because they offer a form. Don’t let that stop you. Fill in the information required, then cut and paste your press release information into the main message block. For this reason, you shouldn’t get too caught up with what your press release looks like, but the words you have used.
When you begin your book marketing, you want to hit as many publications – magazines, newspapers, and industry publications – as you can. There’s no guarantee that any of the publications will publish information about your book, but they obviously cannot if they don’t know about your book. That’s where press releases come in. You can basically write one press release and send it to everyone on your publication list. There may be a few that you want to customize, but you can start with your basic release.
Press releases are written in a journalistic style, which means that all the most important information is put in the beginning text of your press release. The reason for that is if it is too long, they simply cut off the bottom paragraphs to make the story fit into the space. Each press release should answer who, what, where, when, why, and how. A ‘sample press release’ is one of the FREE Gifts you will be receiving as part of this Book Marketing Challenge.
The goal of a press release is to interest journalists in your book and you as an author, with the intent of getting the journalist to write a feature story. Press releases are not a creative work of art; however, you do need to GRAB journalists’ attention. I try to write a story into my news releases. Some of the smaller publications will just run the press release as it is written, especially if it tells a story. Sometimes the more local publications are more apt to do that, because they can send a photographer out to get pictures. To be even more ready for interviews, add at the bottom of your press release that your website’s media page (give URL), which should have photos of you, the book cover, a book summary, and a bio. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your media page is set up and ready to go when you send out your News Release. I also post my press release on the media page, as well as, all media coverage I’ve received.
While it may seem obvious, you want to make it as easy as possible to get press coverage. The more information you can provide on your media page, the more likely that a journalist might decide to write an article, because it seems easier than another press release. A good journalist can write a story off of news releases; therefore, make it easier for them by providing information that is easy to find.
10 Quick Tips:
- Create good quotes to put into your press release.
- Get the journalist’s attention by creating an exciting headline.
- Pump energy into your press release by making it interesting.
- Do something unique, yet still professional in presenting your book and your writing career.
- If you are sending your release by email, which should be about 90% of what you send out, do not revert to double spaced and numbered with “MORE” on the bottom of each page. You should do that only if you are snail mailing it.
- Be sure to include your CONTACT information on your email, so that whoever receives it can reach you. This is especially important in busy publications, because the email may be printed and delivered to the appropriate person. Without your contact information, the information is not usable!
- Do not print your news release on colored or perfumed paper to send it snail mail to a publication, hoping that will get attention. It gets attention the wrong way and is likely be filed in the shredder!
- Press releases serve a dual audience: readers; journalists.
- Even in our press release, we need to remember that it isn’t about you or your book, it’s all about meeting the needs of your audience – readers and journalists.
- A press release is one of the best tools for publicizing an event such as a book launch or a virtual blog/book tour.
Marketing with press releases serves only part of your marketing plan and should be used dynamically with other book marketing, such as virtual book tours, interviews, teleseminars and other Internet marketing methods.
With any marketing tool, it is best if you apply it. Here are three action steps you can take within the next 24 hours:
- Find three to four newspapers or other publications in your area for which you could send a press release.
- Write a press release.
- Email/mail your press release.
Hot Tip from Connie
Many people, including authors, fail to use one tool that has been around more than 100 years: the press release. It is just as viable in today’s digital world as it was in our analog days gone by. It’s fairly easy to use: simply write the news release and email it to all the publications that will get you in front of your target market. Newspapers are only one option. Magazines, industry publications, newsletters, Facebook, and blogs are all possibilities for posting the information in your press release.
To make your press release more usable for newsletters, blogs, and Facebook, make your release flow more like a story. It can help with other publications, as well. You still need to put all the most important information into the first part of your news release, and then your one release can be more versatile. Good press release writing and success!
She is the author of 10 Ways to Develop Characters, Press Releases Made Easy, plus five other books on such topics as character development, book launch, and children’s book illustration. Connie is passionate about helping authors write, finish, and publish their books as well as understand the business side of writing.