In Your Corner : Amplifying Your Voice, OR, “What IS a Press Release Anyway?”

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.

Contest for Self Publishing Authors: 2013 Global Ebook Awards

Contests are one of the best ways for self-publishing authors to promote their book and improve their credibility. If you want to increase your book’s exposure and prove that you are an accomplished writer, check out the 2013 Global Ebook Awards. This contest does more than just offer an award sticker to put on your book’s cover; it is truly a great way to market your book and self.

By entering your ebook, you will receive the following benefits:

• An official Nominee “sticker” on your ebook cover, website, Amazon page, and promotion materials

• A free listing in Publishing Poynters Marketplace, offering copies of your book for reviews on prestigious ebook dealers’ sites such as Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and others

• The Global Ebook Awards comes with a six-step publicity program. Each week, they show you how to publicize your ebook.

• Media coverage for your book and you

• Winners and finalists will be listed on the official Global Ebook Awards site.

• Winners and finalists are eligible to receive Global Ebook Award certificates attesting to their honor.

• Winners will be announced to the media in news releases.

• Discounts on video trailers for YouTube, Amazon, and your website

• Discounts on other services for authors and publishers

• And much more…

To be eligible, your book must have been released anytime in 2011, 2012, or 2013. The application deadline is March 12, 2013, but it is recommended that you submit your ebook as soon as possible.

To learn more, visit http://globalebookawards.com/.

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order 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, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

Publicity Tools for Self-Published Authors

Are you looking to increase publicity for your self-published book? Below is information about some of the resources professional publicists use. With this information at their disposal, they then turn around and charge their clients thousands of dollars, but you can do it yourself with a little bit of work and the right tools:

All-in-One Media Directory –
There is a print version and a CD version available. If you want up-to-date media contacts, this is it, all in one place: www.gebbiepress.com

Cision’s Media Directories –
These directories are available for specialized outlets and channels and include in-depth profiles on reporters, editors, and columnists. Some of these reports aren’t cheap, but they are the same top-of-the-line reports used by many libraries: http://us.cision.com/

The Gale Databases
Here you will find thousands of listings for radio and television and cable companies. All the relevant data is here including there addresses, phone number, and email addresses: www.gale.com

Bulldog Reporter
National PR Pitch Books media directories include contact information for up to 43,000 journalists: www.bulldogreporter.com

Newspaper Directory
A useful online resource for local, daily, and weekly newspapers: www.bizmove.com



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Radio Market Tip for the Self-Published Author

Lately I’ve been discussing radio interviews for the self-published author. I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. On-air interviews are one of the staples of a good self-published book publicity campaign. Here’s one more tip to help you get started.

It probably comes as no surprise to you that New York is the largest radio market in the United States. But who is number 2? Or number 22? By understanding market size, you can better prioritize your on-air marketing efforts.

The link below will take you to lists of US Radio market size organized by size and also organized alphabetically by market name.

www.radio-media.com/markets

Good luck and have fun!

Kelly Schuknecht
selfpublishingadvice.wordpress.com