What is a press release?

Earlier when the news was only on the form of print media i.e newspapers, editors and writers had a certain specific amount of space they could fit a story.  However, with the internet, that is not true. We aren’t space constrained anymore. Writers and journalists are always looking for good story opportunities to post on their publication’s website – no matter the size or amount.  In many cases, any legitimate story is better than no story. Ergo, if one is able to overhaul information about the book into a legitimate format which captures a journalist’s attention, make it so they don’t have to put much work into your article to publish it, and it seems like it would be of interest to their audience. A book press release is a means by which you showcase your book to journalists and news organizations in an interesting manner.  Basically, you’re doing the work for the journalist or news publication by writing it for them. The best news is that most will actually accept the same news story that others have accepted, which is aptly known as mass syndication.

So, all you need is one good press release for your book and you’re set.

Here we have Alan McComas explaining to us how to exactly do that.Alan McComas is Vice President of SEI Engineers in Powell, Oh. Alan has been with the firm since it’s beginning in 1984. In addition to Alan’s career at SEI, he is an avid part time entrepreneur. (If there is such a thing) From his home (and part time) Alan started his real estate investing business in 2009. He buys and rehabs single family homes. When Alan is not at the office at SEI he is either working on his part time real estate investing business, listening to personal development audios, writing books or playing golf. And not always in that order. He really likes golf so sometimes he squeezes that in before some of his other tasks. Alan is currently committed to writing books to help others by sharing his thoughts and insights about all aspects of life, based on his personal and professional experiences.

Ingredients of a great press release

To write a successful press release you have to be newsworthy. Simply writing a book is not news. So, what are some of the ways you can spice up your book press release?

  • A shocking or captivating author story
  • A unique or fascinating book topic
  • A rare or prestigious book award won
  • An impressive or intimidating milestone
  • An unconventional promotional effort

How to get started:

You are a writer and you have just self-published your book. Is that really newsworthy?. A writer writing a book doesn’t exactly excite the senses but an unemployed person living in a squat writing a book about the perils of capitalism is worth a second look.A successful press release has a unique angle. Before you get started, ask yourself what it is about you and/or your book that will set you apart from the rest. 8 out of 10 people will read your headline but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest of your content, so think of your headline as your first impression. A great headline promises the reader that it is worth their time to keep reading. You want your press release to be original and punchy, so avoid empty overused words that show a lack of imagination. Saying that your book will “transform readers’ lives” or that it offers a “world-class reading experience” is cringeworthy .A successful press release offers information, not opinion. Don’t be tempted to say that your characters are truly original or that your book offers unique insights into a topic.

Here are some key items to keep in mind about using press releases to promote your self-published book:

  1. The objective of a press release is to get media attention and coverage, not to sell books.

You do press releases so the media (i.e., TV, Radio, Magazines, Newspapers, Websites, and Blogs) will potentially review or discuss your book in their publications or on their channels and this coverage will drive sales.

  1. The most important line in a Press Release is the one that says “Review Copies and Interviews Upon Request.”

Your goal from the press release is to send out review copies of your book or get interviews about your book or book topic because a good review in a good magazine and/or an interview on radio or TV will sell books.

  1. Yes you need to give away Free Copies of your Book.

Media professionals expect a free copy of your book to consider you for a review.  You want to give away review copies of your book as reviewers will not likely write about your book unless you give them a review copy.

Traditional Media (e.g., magazines and newspapers) typically want a free paperback or hardcover book copy, and New Media (websites and blogs) typically want an electronic galley or electronic PDF version of your book.  Send them what they want. Don’t be cheap and try to make a potential reviewer buy a book, as it won’t work.

  1. The Press Release needs to be sent electronically to a list of professional book reviewers.

For purposes of getting media reviews or interviews with a credible organization, the typical press releases, offered by many online press release companies that are sent to major search engines like Google and Yahoo, wire services, or opt in news subscribers will NOT give you a very good response.  You need to send the press release to professionals who write book reviews or interview authors as a part of their job.

Additionally, press releases nowadays are sent electronically via email.  The days of sending paper press releases with “For Immediate Release” written in the corner are over.

  1. Repeated exposure of your book over time is the best way to get media outlets, bloggers and websites to notice your book.

Multiple press releases done from different news angles and sent to targeted professional reviewers comprise what is called a publicity campaign and it is the best way to build exposure and buzz for your book.  Media professionals are always looking for new stories based on what is currently in the news, seasonal topics and assignments from their editor.

A press release about a book sent from one angle may not attract the attention of a specific book reviewer the first week, but another press release, written from another angle, about the same book, might get a response from the same reviewer on the second week.