by Mickie Kennedy
So you’ve written your book and self-published. Time to get started on the next book, right? Wait, wait, wait — hold up. You’ve missed a step. After your book is out there in the world, you can’t just leave it hanging.
When you’re looking to tap into new markets without the benefit of a publisher marketing your book for you, you’re obviously going to need to put some time and effort into making the international community aware of your work.
So you build out your website, start an email marketing campaign, and, of course, you practically live on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads. And what do you have to show for it?
We hear you. Slipping into the marketing mindset can be a royal pain in the tuchus for authors with no marketing or PR background; however, press releases have helped many an indie author smooth the way.
But do they always work for everybody?
The first thing you should know is that scoring media attention isn’t a “one-and-done” deal. Therefore, if and when you do decide to issue a release about your book, you shouldn’t expect phone calls and interview requests to come flooding your inbox and phone. This is very rarely the case; there are no guarantees that a release will equal fame and fortune. However, a steady, once-a-month release schedule will, at the very least, do these things:
- Make you, your book, and your website more visible to search engines
- Provide a host of material you can then feature on your blog, which looks great to potential readers and publishers
- Give you at least a chance to score an article, interview, or mention in the press, which can potentially be tremendous
Which isn’t to say that your PR efforts are doing to sell books by themselves. The work you do through in-person events, social media, email marketing, and your website are still essential to fulfilling your sales goals.
Some reasons to initiate a media release include:
- Announcing a book’s publication
- Announcing a book tour
- Documenting a successful book signing/reading
- Announcing awards the book received
When you are writing your press release, keep in mind that you will need to include a sentence that says, “Review Copies and Interviews Available on Request.” Most book reviewers will not consider reviewing your book unless they have a copy, so be sure to have copies available for free (a MOBI or PDF is usually fine, and will save you a ton of postage, too). Also, be sure to email the release to a several book reviewers (note: not all reviewers accept releases, so do your research and make sure you’re not sending your release where it’s sure to be regarded as spam). Some other thoughts to keep in mind as you begin figuring out how to write your release:
Just like your book’s title, you want the headline of the press release to catch the reader’s interest and make them want to read more. If you have a dollar to spend on a press release, make sure 90¢ of that goes into the headline; those 60-80 characters of text can mean the difference between a read/not-read.
Tell the reader about your book: what the book is about, who the audience is, who the author is and why they wrote it. Are there any interesting anecdotes or facts behind the book’s publication that might interest potential readers? Don’t leave it out!
Include your contact information and where readers can go to purchase the book. This ‘call to action’ is what’s going to make the work you do here worthwhile.
Keep in mind that media pickup via a release makes a strong impression of you as an author, so be sure that it is grammatically correct and there are no spelling errors.
If your release garners no attention the first time (which is common), it could be that the reviewers or journalists already had stories to cover. The best advice is to be persistent, send at least two other follow-up releases, and promote your work through social media and on your website.