Are you ready to amplify your voice? A press release may just be your next step.

I know what you’re thinking: You’ve written your book, and now you’re on track to building a marketing campaign to do it justice. The hard part’s over … right? But it’s never easy getting word out to new readers about a brilliant new book they should be reading, especially for a self-publishing author with limited resources of time and energy to spend building connections and broadcasting the release. But while there are few events you might think worth publicizing with a press release, publishing your book should definitely one of them!

But … what is a press release?

Generally speaking, a press release is a written or visual bundle of information sent to members of the news media in order to announce something newsworthy. They are typically sent to the staff of newspapers, magazines, radio or television stations, and the administrators of various popular websites. If this sounds like a lot of work for one person to organize and distribute, that’s because … it is. But the benefits of a press release are extraordinary: the resulting national and even international exposure cultivates the interest of untold numbers of new readers who otherwise would never hear about your book.

There are a number of ways to go about writing and posting a press release. You can do what I’ve just said, and carry the entire burden yourself, or you can work with a self-publishing company that will partner with you to produce the press release for a small fee.  Every company is different in what it bundles together, but I do know that Outskirts Press (my employer) offers its authors the opportunity to have a professional writer draft a press release as a part of its Book Blast package.

Generally speaking–whichever company you opt to run with–once the first draft has been composed, you can elect to make moderate changes and corrections before the final draft is published. You should then receive a copy to use in your own marketing campaign, while the company makes use of its existing connections to distribute your professional custom press release through the News Wire–an electronic database of around 100,000 media contacts, newsrooms, industry analysts, and freelance writers who choose to receive daily emails regarding press releases that fit certain criteria. If the company you’ve chosen is on top of its game, it will also ensure that a number of popular websites and ezines, magazines like ForeWord Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly as well as newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today will receive notice of your book’s publication.

This press release will help drive sales by piquing the interest of reviewers, journalists, bloggers, and members of the media and encouraging them to pick up copies of your book. If you read the fine print of your publishing company’s press release package, you might find hidden gems to maximize each distribution, as OP does by optimizing your press release for search engine indexing, and working hard to ensure a speedy one-month start-to-finish turnaround on press releases. Always read the fine print!

Once you have your press release in hand, what next? I’d recommend a PR Publicist, if you have the free capital–it costs a bit, but the payoff is extraordinary, especially for self-publishing authors who don’t yet feel like they have a good handle on publicity and marketing campaigns. Ever and always in search of ways to make your work as an author easier and to help you build a successful marketing campaign worthy of your book, a PR Publicist will assist you distributing your press release to the personal email inboxes of credible book reviewers and editors in print, radio, and television, with connections to multiple trades, ezines, syndicates, and local, regional, and national wires. Unlike many authors, who don’t have the time to cultivate relationships with “influencers” in the publishing world, a PR Publicist’s entire job is to build a powerful distribution circuit that will help but your book on the map with those experts and resources who wield real influence over new readers.

A PR Publicist is not just confined to the digital world. In addition to email distribution, your publicist should follow up your press release with phone calls to key editors, beat writers, and particularly important reviewers to lift your press release to the top of the pile. This kind of detailed and personal contact increases the probability of both interest and coverage by these industry experts, and because these experts have agreed to receive press releases relevant to their interest, these qualify as something altogether more valuable than a “cold call.”

But here, too, I recommend taking a look at the fine print. A good PR Publicist, just like a well-written and widely-distributed press release, can go a long way to raising awareness about your book. But not all PR Publicists and not all press release packages are created equal. I work for Outskirts Press, so I’m definitely not unbiased in recommending who to choose, and in all things I want to place the power of choice back where it should be: in the hands of the author. Do your research, and balance your needs against what you can afford–what will prove most useful to you. You and your satisfaction are my priority, and I want to be here as a resource for you, no matter what course you choose in navigating the world of self-publishing!

You are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

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