Use press releases to sell more books

newspaper stack

I’m so frustrated by the number of authors who overlook one of the most valuable and essential book promotion tools. I mean, geez, it’s free and it works! So why not embrace it?

I’m talking about the press release — also known as a news release or media release.

I know the value of press releases to authors firsthand: My first book contract came as a direct result of a single press release that I wrote and distributed to a carefully handcrafted list of media outlets nationwide.

The one-and-a-half-page press release announced a printed subscription newsletter I had created to help explain male behavior to women. The results? Here’s a sampler:

  • The newsletter was featured on the first page of USA Today‘s “Life” section exactly a week after I mailed the press release to the media with the first newsletter issue.
  • It was profiled on the first page of the second section of The Wall Street Journal.
  • I was interviewed by CBS‘s top investigative reporter, Bernie Goldberg, for a segment on the third episode of “Eye to Eye with Connie Chung.”
  • I became the darling of morning drive-time radio coast-to-coast , doing hundreds of interviews about the lighter side of male behavior.
  • I won a Silver Anvil award, the Oscar of the public relations industry, for the global publicity generated by the press release campaign.
  • Most importantly: I got calls from literary agents and book publishers who asked me to turn the newsletter into a book (which I did, publishing WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN? with Kensington/Zebra).

That’s why it kills me to see how few authors are using press releases to build buzz or, just as bad, using them incorrectly.

Let’s talk press releases

So . . . when Dana Lynn Smith asked me to talk about authors and press releases for her Savvy Book Marketer podcast this week, I did a little cheer in my chair.

I hope you’ll listen in to learn why you should be using them, how to write them, and how to use them effectively to build media and other buzz for your book. Our interview lasts just under 30 minutes, so grab a hot cup of coffee on this frigid day (it was -7 when I woke up this morning) and listen to our conversation on the Savvy Book Marketer podcast at this link:

Savvy Book Marketer podcast 

SBM_podcast

If you have a press release question after listening to the podcast, please come back here and leave it in a comment so I can answer it. Thanks! 

 


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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11 Responses to Use press releases to sell more books
  1. Marijke
    February 17, 2015 | 5:23 pm

    Great timing! Thanks Sandy.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 17, 2015 | 6:15 pm

      You’re welcome, Marijke!

      Sandy

  2. Dana Lynn Smith
    February 17, 2015 | 5:56 pm

    Sandra, thanks so much for appearing on my podcast — you shared such a wealth of information and ideas about how to use press releases to boost book sales!
    Cheers,
    Dana

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 17, 2015 | 6:16 pm

      Hey, the thanks go to you for inviting me. It was fun!

      Sandy

  3. Karen Campbell Prough
    February 19, 2015 | 7:10 pm

    Thank you for the Pod Cast with Sandy Beckwith. I need to get her information. 🙂 My book is coming out real soon, and I’m lost in a forest. Ha.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 19, 2015 | 7:13 pm

      I hope the information I shared was helpful, Karen! Just take your time finding your way out of the forest — and keep at it.

      : )

      Sandy

  4. Christian McCarthy
    February 20, 2015 | 2:40 am

    I like PRweb it is a great press release too. I used it a great deal for SEO search engine optimization to get quality backlinks for business websites but not yet as an author.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      February 20, 2015 | 2:45 am

      Good to know, Christian. Thanks for stopping by!

      Sandy

  5. Mickie Kennedy
    March 2, 2015 | 4:54 pm

    Press releases are indeed a fantastic way to increase your search visibility by establishing you as an “authority” — a figure worth talking to, quoting, and writing about.

    When bloggers, reporters, and other journalists mention you or your book in their material, even without linking to you, Google now recognizes that as a “semantic link” or “indirect link” — AKA a “mention”.

    In the past 18 months, Google has really started to pay close attention to how many mentions a book or brand gets when considering how they rank in the search results.

    Word of warning:

    Web-only press releases and releases sent out via the free release space are still catering to the internet of 2010. Make sure you’re sending your release over a service that uses an actual newswire (PRNewswire, BusinessWire, MarketWire), or your release isn’t going to do much of anything.

    Good Luck,
    Mickie Kennedy

  6. Amit Kumar
    March 10, 2015 | 7:12 pm

    Hii

    I am 100% agree with you. Using press releases (news release or media release) to sell more books are also one of the best ways and most of the people are doing this quite professionally.

    Thanks for sharing these helpful information with us. Keep helping and inspiring us.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      March 23, 2015 | 8:42 pm

      Thanks, Amit!

      Sandy

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