In this installment of my book launch tips, I’m going to talk about how you go about spreading the word before you launch your book. To do this, I want to focus on press releases and I’m going to talk about the ‘shotgun’ and ‘laser’ approaches.
A press release is used to notify media outlets that you have a new book on the way. The format is fairly simple and short. The template shown below is available as a free download from CreateSpace, but you can find them virtually anywhere on the Internet.
As you can see, the template is straightforward and easy to customize to your book. One thing that I try to do is to make the press release look like it’s being released by someone on my behalf. To accomplish this, I’ve set up DSM Publications as the overarching issuer of my press releases and the publisher of my books.
Press Release – Shotgun Approach
When I published my first book, I wanted to tell the world, so I did. I went state by state and found the appropriate contacts for every major newspaper and television outlet and, little by little, and day-by-day, I sent a press release to every single one. Talk about working harder instead of smarter. I checked my inbox day after day and didn’t hear back from many of them. When I did hear back, it was usually to tell me that they no longer had a local person that reviewed or handled new books. They pulled any stories of that type from a national service.
I did, however, get traction with two outlets. One was from my hometown and the other was from my current city. Both newspapers had contributing columnists that wanted to feature a couple of paragraphs on my book. It was better than nothing and it started the ball rolling.
Another type of shotgun approach is to hire someone to distribute your press release for you. I’ve tried this and the responsiveness wasn’t much better, if at all.
Press Release – Laser Approach
Instead of sending my press releases out to the whole world, I’ve started using a more highly focused approach. I am a Florida author with strong roots in my hometown area of Central New York. I use my connection with these areas to start. In all of my books, both areas are either featured or mentioned. This gives me an angle for generating interest in featuring the books.
Once I have success generating interest in those areas, I work my way out statewide and regionally using the features on each additional media outlet as credibility for the next.
I’m still in my infancy being effective at spreading the word, but with each book, I seem to get better results.
With these tips, I’m sure that there may be authors with a great deal of experience and insight that can share their perspective. You are welcome to do so in the comments. I’m just trying to get the conversation started with things that have worked for me.