By Tim Bishop
A news release can be an effective and inexpensive means to help market a book. Unlike more costly advertising, a release can generate free publicity to a broad audience. It can also reside online indefinitely where you and your ambassadors can share it through social media. When designed well, it increases online search results for both a book and its author.
The purpose of a release is to communicate potential news stories in industry-acceptable format to anyone who develops and/or reports news content in any type of media—print, broadcast, or online. These individuals act as gatekeepers who add credibility and objectivity to your story.
What constitutes news?
Publishing a work is news that some people want to know. My wife and I also wrote a release when Wheels of Wisdom won an award. We even used one to announce that Bookbub had chosen to feature that title. Let creativity be your guide.
What to say in a news release and how to say it
A release should include the essentials of news reporting—who, what, when, where, why. Provide enough relevant details for clarity. Include location, date, and contact info at the top and a URL at the bottom for further information. Embed a quote from you and/or reviewers of your work as well as one or two helpful links. Avoid bloat, brag, and bluster. Create a release in AP style that a news outlet can run as is, one that sounds like it comes from a credible, independent source. Don’t forget to include images, such as a book cover and a headshot.
There are two primary formatting considerations:
First, media report news with their busy audience in mind. Write in order of declining importance. Remember, a news service may truncate the release after any paragraph. While authors already know how to write, a release requires a unique format. Consider hiring a news editor to tweak your release. I have used Barry Scheffel, an experienced journalist who does outstanding, affordable work.
Second, you want Internet search engines to pick up keywords that will improve discoverability. Consult with an SEO expert.
Where and how to share a news release
You can distribute a news release very broadly online using a newswire service. I found PRUnderground effective and reasonably priced. It archives releases for news sites to link back to them. You can share them anytime on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can even embed a link in your email signature. Here is a link to our latest release on PRUnderground.
You may obtain or develop a list of email addresses to which to send your release. Be careful not to spam recipients. See this FTC website for further information.
Send your release to local media as well as people and organizations that are familiar with you and may well cover you. Share it on your website and with interested parties in the future, such as book reviewers.
Tim Bishop left a successful career as a corporate treasurer, married his dream girl, and embarked with her to parts unknown – on bicycles! Tim and Debbie have since coauthored four books about their midlife bicycling adventures. Wheels of Wisdom won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for inspiration and Gold Medal in the Christian-Devotion/Study genre of the 2017 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest. Publishers Weekly dubbed the book “a roadmap for life.” In addition to their coaching experience on TheHopeLine, the Bishops bring a strong Christian foundation to their inspirational, self-help books. Tim is a three-time Maine chess champion, a CPA, and a consultant for small businesses. He has also written a business book, Hedging Commodity Price Risk. He is still out to prove that the writing contest he won as a college freshman was not a fluke. The Bishops blog at www.OpenRoadPress.com.
Social Media links: https://twitter.com/TimBishop4/, https://www.facebook.com/OpenRoadPress, https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-bishop-8a7aa918/