Although I’m a HUGE proponent of social media with regard to successfully self-publishing a book — seriously, there is no other marketing tool that lets you reach so many people so affordably — in the class I’m currently teaching at Hofstra University there seems to be some (gasp!) resistance to the idea of using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to market novels. Is social media the ONLY way to market a book? Of course not. Is it the BEST way. I say yes. However, I put together some non-social-media tools that novelists can use to boost their visibility and help increase sales. Here’s one of them: the press release.
What is a press release?
A press release is a “news story” that you write about yourself — it is written in a professional manner and in third person. The goal of a press release is, first and foremost, to gain editors’ or reporters’ attention so that your news will be placed in their publication or on their website. You do that by conveying newsworthiness, which means your press release should include the five Ws and one H:
• Who is this news release about?
• What has happened that is newsworthy?
• Where did the newsworthy event take place?
• When did this happen?
• How is this newsworthy?
• Why should I (or my readers) care?
How are press releases sent?
Nowadays, most press releases are sent by email, but you can also use snail mail or fax.
What is the proper press release format?
There are various acceptable formats, but all press releases should include a header, dateline, a paragraph or more of news, and contact information.