Many indie authors do not seem at all familiar with how to write a book press release, but this can be a valuable way to introduce readers to your books, and it can be a great way to increase your website or blog’s page ranking as well. However, it is important to understand what makes a great press release because writing a bad press release does nothing for you, and it can potentially hurt you because it’s a poor reflection on you as an author.
Indie Authors – What Is A Press Release?
A press release is like a news story. It’s written in third person, and by using one you are trying to attract editors and news people of the news-worthiness of your book, or you as an author.
Indie Authors – How Do I Avoid The Slush Pile?
Reporters and news wires receive tons of press releases every day. In order for your press release to avoid this fate, you must think like a reporter. In doing so, it’s important to understand reporters:
- don’t care about helping you (they don’t care that I write the Reed Ferguson mystery series or a horror book and that they get great reviews)
- get hassled by PR people all the time (so I’m just one more person with a story)
- don’t care about your website, your book, your author journey (darn, but my Reed Ferguson mystery series is awesome) and so on UNLESS
You give them a story to care about. Then they do care about you and your book. To do this, you need an angle.
Indie Authors – What’s My Angle?
In order for your book press release to have impact, you must have an angle. What I mean is that you need something that will make your book, and you as the author, stand out from the competition. Saying I write a mystery series that readers can’t put down is not an angle. Why? Everyone says that. You need something that the news people will take note of. My Reed Ferguson mystery series is different is not good either. Why? You’re not telling me anything. Think like the news person or the reader of the press release. You want them to say wow, this is something I’m interested in, or I want to know more about this book. Why? Because you created a message in your book press release that prompted those kinds of responses.
Indie Authors – What’s My Message?
A message for a product, say organic skin care, is easier than for a book, because you can easily target a specific audience (people who want better skin but don’t want to use chemicals on their skin). But you can still create a book press release that has a way of hooking people in. You do this by creating a message that a percentage of your readers will connect with. What I mean by this is your press release has something in it that is newsworthy. Maybe you won an award – this is great for a press release. But many of us haven’t won awards. So what do you do? Change your thinking – you’re an expert in something, right? Speak to that. I’ll take myself as an example. I love old movies and film noir, and I know a lot about those subjects. My Reed Ferguson mystery series has elements of film noir and Hollywood lore in them. So my press release uses this as part of my angle and message.
How about another example. Say you know a lot about birdwatching, and one of the characters in your mystery series love birdwatching. This can be your angle and you create your message from this:
I’m an expert in birdwatching and I’ve noticed an issue with birds where I live – oh, and I just happen to have a book available too.
Not the greatest example but it’s a way to get you thinking about how to write a book press release. Writing a press release can be difficult for fiction, but essentially you want your press release to make a connection in your reader’s mind. For fiction, this can be something newsworthy about yourself, like how you got started writing, why you chose the genre you did, where your story idea came from, and quotes about your book or writing. If you can get quotes about your book from other respected authors, this is great to include in your press release.
Indie Authors – Besides Attracting News Media, Why Put Out A Press Release?
I’m glad you asked :). One of the things I’m heavily focused on is improving the page rank of my blog and my author website. A couple of months ago I hired someone to help me improve my page rank for certain keywords (if you missed it, read my post about keywords). Part of improving page rank is to get links back to your website. There are many ways to do this, but one of them is…you guessed it, a properly written press release. Why? Because if your press release is picked up by Google News and other places, and your release has your links on it, you are getting valuable back links to your blog. Here is an example of mine, announcing the release of the second book in my Reed Ferguson mystery series. It’s written with specific keywords in mind and it has a link back to my website. This is huge in terms of improving my page rank.
Now that you know the basics of how to write a book press release, and you’ve thought about what to do, read my follow-up post: For Indie Authors – How To Write A Book Press Release Part Two.
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