Sales Saturday: Press Releases

It would appear that just like paperbacks are waning, so is the traditional newspaper. The newspaper isn’t dead, though–it’s found a different format–the internet.  The newspaper and other media distributors are a great source for authors to advertise. The reason is simple–it’s FREE. If you write a great press release then you will get free marketing from the distributor that you have inquired with. There are some basics that are a bit obvious: make sure your grammar is correct and the press release is free of typos, you include pertinent information, and you include websites for the readers to get additional information, but how do you find out where to send your press release?

First and foremost, you will want to post your press release on your own website. This can often be forgotten when you are sending them off to a dozen or so media sources. The next thing you should do is find vendors that are in the location of your event, or if your event is online–or is simply just announcing the release of your book, vendors that will find sympathy and wish to post your information. Either way location can be quite important as far as where you are. It makes no sense for me, as a author from Connecticut, to send a press release to a vendor in California. The reason I say this is that many papers are locally run, and thus, they strongly support businesses and writers in their area. Yes, I want people in California to buy my book, but it would be a waste of time for me to send a press release to a paper that has no gain in promoting me. If you want to reach people outside of your local you can hire an agency such as PRNewsChannel or connect with bloggers who may be interested in posting your press release. As far as working with bloggers to issue press releases, I have found that asking for participation in cover reveals, book blitzes, and blog tours is much more effective because they aren’t as dry and bland. Press releases are meant to cut to the point and while a well written one is a pleasure to read, they aren’t much more than 200 words. I can’t recall the last time I saw a blogger post a press release; however, I’m quite sure that if I asked many would help. It just becomes redundant if these bloggers are also helping out with any of the other marketing events that I described.

I’ve personally had a lot of luck with press releases–I’ve had two of them printed in the local newspaper and the third one was posted on their website. I know who my local papers are, and they do try to support local authors. My first press release caught the attention of the Bulletin, and instead of just a bland press release, I was interviewed and reported on in the paper– it was an amazing experience!

As you can see press releases are very important for letting your local community know that you exist and how to find you. The press release may be intimidating, because as an author you have already written so much. You have a zillion posts for blog tours, and you already had to sum up your 50k+ book into -300 words! After all that, a press release is a little thing. The first one I wrote took me a good two hours, but with time it gets easier. You get a format that works for you and you run with it; the press release for Love Exactly took me about 15 minutes! So here are the basics:

  1. Know your vendors and follow their guidelines (the Bulletin requires less than 200 words in length, proper grammar, free of typos, and sent within 2 weeks of the asked for post date).
  2. Include the day you want the release to go out. You will see most sample press releases say “FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE”–don’t just go with this because the sample says it. This tells the paper to release it as soon as they can, but if you want it to run on a specific date, you will want to note this.
  3. Make it snappy! You want it to draw in the reader, so throw in something to make them interested.
  4. It’s okay to add in something like “the highly anticipated release”–it is for you, isn’t it? This catch line will keep the person reading, and then they may look you up to see what’s so awesome and forthcoming.
  5. Include your website and contact information.
  6. If it’s an event be sure to include dates, times and rain dates, if applicable.
  7. Don’t forget to talk about your book–throw in something from your book blurb, but don’t try to fit the whole thing in! You won’t be able to fit your whole book blurb into a press release for most local papers due to length restrictions (they post these for FREE for you, so they don’t want to take up too much space).
  8. Don’t forget to send it out once you write it!
  9. Make sure you list your credentials or previous works (if you have a lot you may just want to sum up a few key points).
  10. Follow-up to make sure you know when they will be posting it so you can grab up a few copies for yourself!

newspaper

Here is the press release for Love Exactly sent to the Bulletin and others yesterday:

FOR RELEASE ON OR WITHIN THE WEEK OF JUNE 20, 2013

Cassandra Giovanni’s highly anticipated debut into the New Adult genre, Love Exactly, will be released on June 20, 2013. Giovanni debuted onto shelves in May of 2012 with her unique take on Young Adult post-apocalyptic fiction, In Between Seasons (The Fall, #1). Later that year her Young Adult Romantic Suspense novel, Walking in the Shadows was released, and in January 2013 her first Children’s Illustrated novel, The Adventures of Skippy Von Flippy was released. Giovanni continues to blaze her path in the publishing world with her Contemporary Romance Love Exactly. The novel concentrates on the protagonist’s struggle to keep her dark past in the confines of her memory while handling a budding relationship with a famous musician who is just as reluctant to let someone in as she is. Emma Walker was a writer who’d lost herself to someone else’s anger–who had given up on ever feeling like herself again. Evan Levesque was a rock-god–the one all the woman wanted, but he’d never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life. Together they will find out what it means to be in Love Exactly. A release signing will be held on June 22, 2013 at Bank Square Books in Mystic, CT from 2:30-4:30 PM. For more information please contact Bank Square Books at (860) 536-3795 or visit http://www.cgiovanni.com.

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