Monday, 11 March 2013

Press Releases for Book Marketing

Yes, you read the title correctly: 'Press Releases for Book Marketing'. I've been on-line with my own website and products for over 10 years now and during that time I have come to respect press releases as one of the most powerful marketing tools out there.

Press Releases for Internet Marketing:

Today, with the internet, press releases are not only a means of getting the information about newsworthy events into the hands of journalists. They are also a means of disseminating information over the internet and of providing links to the sites and products that you want to promote.

Also, because they are structured, a press release is an effective and proven form of communication. If you structure and write your press release properly then it's recipients (most notably reporters and bloggers) know that it will contain all the information that they need to evaluate the news value of the story and then to cover it.

A properly-written press release tells the reader about what you're announcing and why they should care about it. It also provides links so that they can learn more information, if interested.

Because Google and other online search engines aggregate and re-publish press releases, this means that your news releases are not just read by the media (journalists and bloggers), but also by your target readers (ie everyone else). In essence it's a free (or at least potentially cheap) form of advertising.

Press hat for press releases
Press releases also help build links back to your content (your profile page, website and book pages). The more links you have on the web, the more likely it is that your content will be found and the more popular (in search engine terms) your content will be. Anything that helps people find your books is good, as it's this that ultimately drives sales.

How do you get a press release published? Well, for this you need a press release wire service. There are several free ones (just perform a web search for 'free press release'). I've used personally.

If, however, you want an industrial-strength wire service, then PRNewswire ( is definitely one to consider. Now, they are large and have a long reach, but they can be expensive (some of the paid services can cost $300 or more), but they do offer a free service that you can experiment with first. They also have what they call 'circuits'. These are essentially distribution areas which can be local, national or international. Now, in my experience, for most press releases the local circuit gives you 80% of the benefit as your press release is still published to the major on-line databases.

Of course, just by submitting a press release does not mean that you will automatically get press coverage. Rather, you have to be proactive and follow-up to ensure that this is the case. Sometimes I will submit a press release to get more links out on the web, and in which case I will not follow up. But, if you want more coverage then you will have to follow up on your press release.

To do this, you will have to follow up with journalists and writers in your area of expertise. For example, say I just wrote a book: 'Caveman Recipes: Stone-age Diets for Weight Loss'. Now there are probably hundreds of health reporters and even cookery writers who would like to learn from your wisdom. You can find them by searching on google or you can use the print version of Bacon's Media Directories ( This will list the health and lifestyle reporters at the major daily newspapers (but it costs a hefty $650). You could, of course, always call your local library to see if they have a copy in stock!

So, what should go into your press release? Basically anything that's newsworthy... If you have just published your book, that is newsworthy, or if your book is currently on promotion, then that is newsworthy too. Maybe you have a website and that's hit a particular milestone or you have a new section. All these things are newsworthy and merit a press release. It's even better if you can tie your book into a news story of the moment.

Extra! Extra! Newspaper for press releases
Take for example the current horse-meat scandal affecting Europe. Now, personally, I have no problem with eating horses, the problem comes in that horse meat has been sold as beef. Horse meat is much cheaper than beef, as there is no real market for it. It's one of the ironies in Britain at least, that people have found that horse meat is much cheaper than other meats, so for the first time people are actually buying it. Say, for example, I produced a book: '1001 way to prepare horse meat'. Now this would be newsworthy for the publication of the book, but it also ties in with a major news event. So I might have a press release title: 'Cookery Writer Shares Best Recipes for Horse Meat'. The remainder of the press release would then have to include information that would make it valuable to receive press coverage. In this instance I would probably make it a little humorous as the lighter side of the story is likely to be most successful.

The other factor to note is that a press release is very stylized with a definite format. Because journalists are used to looking at press releases with this style, you MUST adhere to it. Below are the typical sections of a standard press release.

How to Write a Press Release:

HEADLINE: This summarizes the high-level message that you are announcing in your press release. This must be compelling to get people to read the whole press release. Headline words are typically written either in ALL CAPS or in Initial Caps.

SUBHEAD: This is the subheading of your press release. It provides, in a single sentence, additional information that will help convince readers about why the story is important. It is typically written in Initial Caps. For the horse-meat story above, the subhead might read: 'The Horse Meat Scandal Means That You Have Probably Been Eating Horse Meat For Years: Renowned Cookery Writer Tells You Straight, How to Prepare and Dress This Cheap and Tasty Meat'.

DATELINE: This is essentially the time of publication of the press release and follows the format: City, State — Date. The Dateline immediately precedes the body of the first paragraph of your press release.

FIRST PARAGRAPH: This usually follows a common phraseology. (Typically something along the lines of: 'XYZ announced today...'). A well-written first paragraph tells the reader what the announcement is about, why it's important and who should care.

SECOND PARAGRAPH: This provides more detail, or in some circumstances can be a personal quote. If using a personal quote, then this should follow a strict format: 'First sentence' said [your first and last name], author of [booktitle]. 'Second sentence. Third sentence.'

THIRD PARAGRAPH: Provide more detail, if needed. For non-fiction works, this is where you summarize any valuable knowledge and inform the reader about what they'll learn from your book. If writing fiction, this is where you provide some of the juicy details about your storyline and any challenges faced by your characters.

BOILERPLATE: This is where the author biography, goes and you summarize where your readers can purchase the book. Here your should add links to your author profile page (whether on Amazon or Smashwords), your book pages and your personal website or blog. Also provide information about which major retailers are carrying your ebook. Also provide contact information like your email address (but obfuscate this to prevent spam).

CONTACT INFORMATION: Even if you add your contact information in the boilerplate, ensure that the press release also contains a separate section for contact information (an email address is fine). Make sure you obfuscate the email though, to prevent it from being picked up by spam spiders.

Below is an example of a press release that I have just submitted myself.



With Over 1000 Recipes Author Dyfed Lloyd Evans Has Brought Together Soup Recipes From Across the Globe, Starting from the Soups of Our Stone-Age Ancestors to the Most Modern Fusion Soups.

Manchester, UK. March 8, 2013
Manchester author Dyfed Lloyd Evans has published The Big Book of Soup Recipes that brings together over 1000 soup recipes from across the globe, starting with the earliest soups and outlining the history of soups and soup making. Along with all the soup classics you also get soup recipes from around the globe. A mix of the familiar and the totally new.

For a limited time (Friday, March 15 through Sunday, April 21) an electronic book version of The Big Book of Soup Recipes, normally priced at $9.95, will be available to the public for only $3.99 at (visit:

While many recipe books have been published about soups, that most nutritious of dishes, none have given soups in their historical or global context and this book does both. This book keeps traditional soup recipes alive, but also gives an insight (with recipes) into the history of soups from the stone age to the modern day.

Originally from North Wales, Dyfed Lloyd Evans has travelled extensively in Africa and Asia and has cooked all over the world. Since 2002 he has been running the Celtnet Recipes ( website and since 2010 he has been writing and publishing recipe and cookery books.

Dyfed Lloyd Evans
dyfed at celtnet dot org dot uk

(the three hashes above is the standard symbol for 'end of release' and this should be centred)


As an adjunct to writing press releases, I also recommend that you joint HARO (Help-a-Reporter-Online). This is an on-line community of experts that journalists can contact for information and advice about stories. The journos get a free expert to talk to, but in return you get a plug for your book (free publicity!).

Authors can also use HARO for research purposes. Because it's a community of experts, you can find out who to contact if researching a particular topic. To find experts you can even post a query to the HARO list. This is an amazing resource that you really should make use of.

Just remember, though I have used an eBook as the example, the same strategy will work for physical books as well, or any product in fact... as long as they are sold online.

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