Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Reach Beyond Book Reviews

Editor's Note: I'm delighted today to have my friend Sandra Beckwith with a pointed article for every writer who has written a book or plans to write a book. Read this valuable insight from this seasoned publicity expert. wtw

Why You Need A Press Release That Announces Your Book

I’m so impressed with so many authors promoting their books in today’s crazy publishing environment.

Many understand the importance of planning their marketing assault long before the book is published so they have the right connections in place at the right time – when the book is available for purchase. 

They know that like it or not, social networking is an important part of the marketing mix in today’s virtual marketplace.

And some of the most successful realize that book marketing is about more than snagging book reviews.

They’re the ones who realize that they need a book announcement press release not only to send with review copies, but to generate other kinds of important publicity and exposure. They’ve seen firsthand that the press release that announces their book is probably the most versatile book promotion tool available.

Author Marcia Layton Turner generated a great deal of publicity for her book Extreme Couponer: Insider Secrets to Getting Groceries for Free by paying a reputable press release distribution service to send her book announcement press release to online media, newspapers, and magazines. Turner also sent it directly to bloggers she knew would be interested in the book’s topic.

“I was thrilled that the press release generated a 100 percent response rate with the bloggers,” she says, adding that they either reviewed the book or asked Turner to be a guest blogger for the site.

5 ways to use your announcement press release

Here are just five of the many ways that successful authors like Turner are using that important book announcement press release in an increasingly competitive marketplace:

· They’re sending them to media outlets without review copies, knowing that most media outlets won’t review the book, but might use a short news item if the book’s topic is a good fit for their audience.
· Fiction and nonfiction authors alike are supplementing their paid press release distribution with free distribution services so their books get maximum online exposure.
· They’re sending them to their local newspapers and radio stations with a note suggesting that the outlets interview them for a “local author releases new book” article or segment.
· Like Turner, those scheduling virtual book tours (also known as author blog tours) e-mail their announcement release to bloggers as essential background information.
· They’re adding them to their own online press rooms to help with the SEO (search engine optimization) that brings them site visitors.
Don’t make these mistakes

You’ll get the most mileage from the press release that announces your book if you write one that incorporates the content and format that journalists want and expect. (Some can be kind of cranky about this, so it’s important to follow their “rules” so your press release isn’t deleted immediately.) There are step-by-step instructions in my e-book, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book, but here are a few common problems to avoid in yours:

· Making grammar and spelling mistakes: We all make them, so we have to figure out how to avoid them. I print the release so that I can proofread a hard copy. I also e-mail it to myself before I send it to the press. For some quirky reason, I can see mistakes in the e-mailed version that I miss in the Word version.
· Focusing on the author instead of the book. Unless you’re J.K. Rowling or Joan Didion, you want to put the spotlight on the book.
· Being too promotional. Your press release should read like a news article, not a magazine ad. Avoid superlatives, exclamation marks, and statements you can’t prove.

Finally, make sure you e-mail your book announcement press release to the press the right way (yes, there is a wrong way). 

Join those authors who have figured it out: Write the best press release for your book that you can, and use it to promote your book as many ways as possible.

If your book announcement press release is online, please share the link here so we can learn more about your book!

Sandra Beckwith uses her background as an award-winning publicist to teach authors how to promote their books. Subscribe to her free bi-weekly e-newsletter, Build Book Buzz, for tips and advice.

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