For authors, a press release is a valuable tool for making announcements that attract the desired audience. Understanding what it is and what it can do for you is the first step in utilizing the press release to increase your book sales and your author profile by targeting the ideal consumer market. The following sections will help you better understand the press release and how it can go to work for you.
There are many definitions of a press release floating around the internet, and the simplest definition is that it is a formal announcement concerning something newsworthy. Also called a news release or a media release, the press release is written with the end goal of submitting it to various media and journalists in the hope it is further distributed throughout their networks to bring attention to your business or yourself.
You wrote a book, and it is ready for launch. You may have a book sales website or social media sites showing your book(s) for sale along with other services. It is no secret you need to market your book, your book sales website and yourself as an author. Marketing is crucial to success, and the press release is an essential marketing and public relations tool. Its primary purpose is to get you or your product noticed by a target audience.
You have two options as to how you target media. First, you can find journalists and media sites on your own and submit your press release to each one. There is no guarantee it will be published.
The second option is to use a press release distribution service. There are a number of them, and we developed a list of paid and free press release distribution services suitable for announcing a book launch that you can review. One of the main advantages of using distribution services is they have access to a huge network of media content that includes news sites and journalists. Each distribution site enables targeting media in certain industries and geographic areas.
The timing of the press release to announce your book launch depends on several factors. Assuming you are self-publishing, the first thing to determine is the date you plan on publishing your book. You want to plan your press release before you publish the book.
Are you publishing on your website, Amazon or another self-publisher? No matter where you plan on publishing, you should first develop a website if you do not already have one. The website adds professionalism and, of course, is a powerful marketing tool you can link to in the press release. The website can include the following:
An “About page” introducing the book and you as an author
Dedicated landing page for your book with excerpts
Social media site links
If you are publishing on Amazon, make sure your Amazon Author Central Page is created. This page has all the information about you as an author and offers other benefits like tracking book sales and gathering followers who are likely to be interested in future books.
If you announce your book launch early, you could offer a pre-order special. There are differing opinions as to when a press release should be released. One thought says to issue a press release the day the book is launched. If you do that, keep in mind you will need to send the press release to media or the chosen media distribution site 3-5 days beforehand to ensure it gets distributed in time.
A different opinion is to publish a press release before the book is published. You could announce the book launch 1-2 weeks before the actual book launch. If you take this route, you could do another press release on the exact publication date.
You can do additional press releases after the book is published if there is important news, like garnering a celebrity endorsement or announcing a book signing schedule.
A press release usually ends with three hashtags (###) which is a marker indicating the end of the content. The industry recommendation is to add a company boilerplate at the end of the press release. The boilerplate text briefly describes your company or a short author bio.
The press release involves more than just writing content. As a marketing tool, search engine optimization (SEO) plays a role. You can optimize your press release with SEO, making it easier to find in online searches. However, there is an important point to remember about why you write a press release.
The purpose of the press release is not to get backlinks. Google recognized that people were writing press releases with the primary intent of earning backlinks rather than delivering important information. Press releases were turning into spam. Google wanted earning backlinks to be a natural occurrence with meaning and not a forced one.
The “nofollow” attribute was created to guard against comment spam and morphed into a way to flag sponsored links and links related to advertising.
The Google search engine sets press release backlinks as “nofollow.” Google’s John Mueller said Google tries to ignore links from press releases because most companies write their own press releases, meaning the links are placed by the company. News sites now nofollow links. You may get backlinks anyway, but they will not boost your SEO because Google will ignore them. (See Meuller at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xWLUoa_YIk&ab_channel=GoogleSearchCentral)
Refrain from writing your press release thinking you can use news media backlinks for SEO. What you can do is collect backlinks from new fans. The bottom line message is this: Do not write a low-quality, spammy press release.
You have two options for writing a press release. You can write it yourself or let a press release distribution service write it. If you choose to write it yourself, there are two routes.
Write it using a word processing program
Write it using a word processing template, i.e., Microsoft has a downloadable template
Use a distribution service’s online free tool that is a template
The challenge of writing one yourself is that any mistakes you make will get noticed by the journalists and news media. The distribution platform may distribute the press release, but the media and journalists receiving it are not likely to publish it or mention it.
Mistakes include an unacceptable format, grammar errors, typos, dead links, poor organization, lack of journalistic writing style and even uninteresting information that does not seem important. The press release is not an advertisement. It is an announcement, and it is easy to confuse the two.
Follow a press release template if you write a press release announcing your new book, book signing or other news. The template helps you use the required industry-standard form for press release distribution sites.
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