Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do Writers need Press Releases?

A press release used to be the prerogative of the commercial domain, i.e., big businesses who launched a new product, opened a store, or went public… to give you a few examples.
Things have dramatically changed in the publishing world as we all have experienced. We all know the predicament: self-pub’d authors know that they have to do their own marketing − even before they even have published their oeuvre. Fellow writers, we’re here because we’re networking, using different platforms to get our piece out. Writers Get Together ( was created to get this extra exposure in order to attract new readers – and potential buyers! − Wherever they may come from, wherever they may have been hiding until now.
Nobody else is doing it for you. That’s a fact and not a troll truism.
Even publishing-houses expect their writers to—or so I hear. I haven’t been in this situation. I did everything around my book myself− well with the help of a designer, editor and some well-wishing mentor friends that helped out occasionally. So from its inception to pushing it out into the world of fierce competition and fight over placements on popularity charts (Kindle) we gather experience as we go along. We learn different important snippets of information on many sites that are relevant to getting noticed.  
Press releases or news releases as they’re also called now are part of luring potential buyers to your book or author website. The guidelines point out that their primary function is not a sales pitch; instead some news about your book −or other products you want to launch − should be the center of a press release.  
Googling “free press releases” comes up with a long list. That’s where I started and I take it you want to save money and start with freebies, too. I found: “The Big List of Free Press Release Distribution Sites”. It is Big—or long, containing almost 40 rather similar sounding names. I mention some at random to give you examples:
Free-Press- (wherever that may hail from − it reverts quickly to a" .com"). I won’t elaborate on another part of the alphabetical order starting with “Press”: Press this and Press the other. You get the drift.
It takes more time and stamina to work your way through those than any author has. Then there are links from some site names that relate to others, increasing the already overwhelming numbers.
But like with Internet Dating sites(you know I like to switch the conversation to my favorite topic): Is it worth your while to go to freebies or should one spend money on this service? The old adage comes to mind: “You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”
Often enough you start out on a free one only to be told at the end of the process when you have filled in all boxes that now is the time to upgrade: To a better service with more exposure presumably. Often enough, I dropped out at that stage when my credit card details were required.
Maybe that’s where I should have started my research: Which one is worth its while? I should have followed a friend’s advice. Whatever he buys, he goes to rankings of the product first; that and consumer reviews. What is their ranking? −if there is such a thing.
Sheer lack of time and boredom did not let me finish the aforementioned Big List. I keep going back to the ones that were free and where they sign-up process was painless. Yes, some are a pain in the neck!
Once you’ve mastered the process, future ones are kind of child’s play. Well, writer’s play! Somebody still has to tell me how it works for them. Do you  use free ones o do you pay for this service. The fees range from $20 to $100.Tell me here on WGT or our FB page. I will tell you then which ones I’m using.

In a nutshell:

1.     Learn the ropes of a Press Release (see: guidelines)
2.     Choose  topic
3.     Select (several) websites
4.     Keep track of where you post what in an Excel spread sheet. Vital! You lose track pretty fast.

 Does that look professional? Would it enhance your website?

1 comment:

  1. I think press releases are for people like me who find it difficult to self-promote. It's an ego and self esteem thing I'm sure Much more comfortable for someone else to state how good my book is than for me to try to encourage you to buy and read it.