Marketing Your Book with Press Releases by Connie Dunn

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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:

  1. Create good quotes to put into your press release.
  2. Get the journalist’s attention by creating an exciting headline.
  3. Pump energy into your press release by making it interesting.
  4. Do something unique, yet still professional in presenting your book and your writing career.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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!
  8. Press releases serve a dual audience: readers; journalists.
  9. 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.
  10. 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:

  1. Find three to four newspapers or other publications in your area for which you could send a press release.
  2. Write a press release.
  3. 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!

About Connie

connie-dunn2Connie Dunn is a writer, speaker, and book coach. She began working with authors and aspiring authors in 2011 after two successful careers in religious education and freelance writing.

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.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Lee Karlovic says:

    Hi Connie
    I appreciate your bringing the press release as a still powerful tool to our attention.

    Thanks for sharing the useful links for the U.S. and world-wide publication data base email addresses.

    Your quick tip about always including our contact information in the emailed press release is the kind of detail that makes the difference. As someone who was the recipient of piles of press releases coming from who knows where, I know how frustrating it can be to be nearing deadline and see something interesting that could be a perfect fit. Unfortunately, with no contact information and no time to chase it down, a lost opportunity.
    Lee

  2. Your welcome, Lee!

    • Mike Fuller says:

      Great information that I’ll use in the very near future. Thanks

  3. Connie Dunn says:

    Hello, Book Marketing Challenge Participants…
    Thank you for reading my blog on News Releases or Press Releases. These two names are generally interchangeable. The “News” Release implies that there is something “new” that you are introducing, which is YOUR NEW BOOK! It doesn’t matter if your book is fiction or non-fiction, a Press/News Release works the same way.

    While I mention to send this out at the beginning of your launch, there are many other times to send out a Press Release. For example, if you are speaking to a group of people about your book, you can promote that speaking engagement. If the publication hasn’t done a story on you, this might help them decide to do that. And yes, if you have another event, send them a press release.

    While it might seem redundant to you, the life of a journalist is one story at a time! The best sections of publications to target are the arts and entertainment section and the section that focuses on the “topic” of your book. By sending a publication multiple press releases, you increase the likelihood of getting a story in the publication.

    If that means you are sending the publication daily press releases, GREAT! Hopefully, you’ll wear them down and they’ll do a feature story about you.

    In small towns rather than big cities, unless there is a small publication that focuses on those small areas of the city, you can often get to know the reporters. Developing a personal relationship with one of the reporters in the section that would most likely run your press releases (this is long-term over a period of time, even years), then sometimes that helps. Working in PR for a local hospital, I was able to get press releases that I sent turned into multiple stories on a regular basis. The newspaper had a Human Interest section. The term “Wine and Dine” might work, but with newer security, a journalist might be more reluctant. But they cannot say, “yes,” if you don’t give them the opportunity!

    Go for it!

  4. Dianne Marie Andre says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. I’ve been trying to think of a press release ‘hook’ for my fiction e-book, amazon.com/author/diannemarieandre. I’ve researched ‘sample press releases’ in the past with few ideas. I look forward to reading what others have done and receiving the sample press release from Book Marketing Challenge.

  5. Jill Boughton says:

    What if our book has been out for three years and there’s no “event” because nobody knows about it/us?

    • Hi Jill! I have a book that is one year old. I decided to update the book and re-release it this year. This gives me a new “event” to publicize. Since no one knows about your book, it is your job as a self publisher to create buzz around your book. You can do something as simple as a local reading at a book club or a public library. You can do a webinar about your book topic. There are literally millions of ideas out there that can help you to create a newsworthy event.

  6. Nicole Thompson-Andrews says:

    Hi, well I have no written book yet, but I write fiction, fantasy mysteries, so how would I create a press release for my genre?

  7. Steve Johnson says:

    Good article Connie. The smaller weekly community newspapers are usually understaffed these days. News releases that talk about what local people are doing/have done are very important to fill the news hole. The lead and the headline must be compelling, such as “A local woman has turned her passion for cooking into a how-to book that is helping working parents fix meals in half the time” or “A local man turned his love of photography into a new regional travel guide that is bringing new visitors to the part of the state.” If it doesn’t work where you live now, take a trip back to the town you graduated college or high school, give a public talk at the local library on your book subject, and send the news release to the newspaper 2 weeks prior. Knowing the deadlines is key; most weekly newspapers have to work 1-2 weeks in advance to work in feature stories. Also, once any story gets published on you and/or your book, call or email the editor and thank him or her. This goes a long way to starting a good relationship for more speaking engagements and even future books you write on the same subject.

    • Gina says:

      Steve,

      I appreciate the 1-2 week lead time for local, weekly newspapers. I’ll use that for my signing!

      Gina

  8. Connie,
    Thanks for the article on press releases. You gave two resources that I haven’t used before.
    Blessings,
    Deborah
    http://DeborahHBateman.com

  9. Joy Dent says:

    Hi Connie, Great article. Thank you! Where can we find the template for the press release?

  10. Where is the free sample Press Release you mention in this post? And thank you so very much for offering tools and tips to help the rest of us make progress in our pursuit of being an author!

  11. Very good ideas. I will certainly work on my press releases. Thank you

  12. hi-
    thanks- your article is timely- today is the day i planned to write my press release!
    i am looking for your sample- did i miss it somewhere?? thanks alot.
    naomi
    http://www.naomibaum.com
    Just published:
    Life Unexpected: A Trauma Psychologist Journeys Through Breast Cancer

  13. Hello,

    I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of the Build a Business with Your Book, author community. The whole process to publish and market a book is quite complex and I have gained so much insight. Thank you Connie for adding another piece to the puzzle. The completion of my forthcoming book has been catalyzed by this experience.

    Elizabeth
    http://www.jazzyeco.com

  14. Your treatment of Press Releases is refreshing and very informative. I tried them about ten years ago without success! Now I know why there was no success. I’ll follow your ideas this time.

  15. Eunice Nisbett says:

    Great information Connie.

    I have also found that a virtual book tour is a great opportunity for a News Release.

  16. http://pressroom.prlog.org/sallystap/
    is a link to the press releases I have done. I have done one before each event that I have had. I have heard that one should be issued after an event also. Do you advise that? And also, I use the free prlog.org. what other options are available for issuing press releases? I am on a zero budget so this is a multi-piece jigsaw puzzle that I’m trying to assemble without knowing the full picture and missing some pieces.

  17. Connie, thank you for a most informative post, as well as for the very helpful and useful downloads! We’ve already discovered a “smacks forehead, why didn’t we think of that” moment, and are off to put your advice into action!

  18. Gina says:

    Connie,

    I appreciate the quality of your article on press releases. I signed up for your e-course and I look forward to learning more with you.

  19. Linda Chappo says:

    Thank you, Connie. Lots of great information.

  20. Anne Tezon says:

    As a former newspaper publisher (preparing to publish a collection of my personal columns) I also received many press releases for book launches. The best way to get them used by any publication is to write a great book. I would also add that many publications will ask for a review copy, which is always a good indication the journalist will likely do more than just use your press release.

  21. Joy Dent says:

    Has anyone found the template for the press release? I’m still trying to find it. Thanks!

    • @Joy, and all the others looking for the press release:

      At the bottom of the post, in the section “About Connie”, there is a link to the page on her site where you can find both downloads.

  22. Thanks for the great incite into press release world. This is one thing my publisher is preparing and delivering for me. I haven’t seen it yet and I wonder if it meets my new standards. We will see what it looks like. I could always alter it.

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