Monday, 6 May 2013

Publishing your first press release

Publishing your press release

After writing and publishing my first novel, my focus has entirely shifted over to learning about the best way to get my book "out there" and hopefully noticed by some folks who would enjoy reading it.

In my last post I described the process I went through to write my first press release announcing my book to the world. If you missed it, you can check it out here: Writing your press release.

Having crafted your first press release the next challenge is sending it out to a multitude of sources like newspapers, review sites, and other media channels. 

Enter the press release sites

A few years ago, I would have imagined that getting your press release circulated would have taken many hours and probably cost a significant amount. However, when I started researching this topic I was amazed to learn that there are many services that will circulate your press release for you for either no cost, or a low to medium cost. 

As a first time author I was of course most interested in the free services and after a bit of surfing I found this comprehensive listing and review of press release services. I highly recommend this post if you are as new to using press release sites as I was.

The Winner

I submitted the same press release wording to nearly all of the free sites listed on the VisitPR.com. 

It took a few hours to register on each individual site and then upload the press release content to them. I had my press release all nicely formatted in a word document but nearly all of these sites make you paste in the headline, subject, author notes, and body of your press release in separate text boxes so there's a lot of copy and pasting involved in this exercise.

Some of the sites were better/faster than others. Some I found deliberately confusing in their design, like they'd automatically select that you were buying the Gold distribution package etc and try to charge $250 by the end of your submission process. 

You then have to go back a few steps to look for the Free option. 

However, perseverance paid off and after I clicked the final submit button I just had to wait to hear whether they would publish the story or not.

What happened - site by site

Some sites were really quick to respond and I never heard from others again. Some sites rejected the article outright and I was considering totally rewriting it, but after a few days wait PR.Com published it! The next day after that I could successfully find the story on Google News.
    • 1888 Press release - rejected as it was too much like an advert for my book
    • OnlinePRNews - reads like an article rather than a news announcement
    • Pressbox - released the article but I cannot find it on Google or Google News
    • PR.Com - made one minor change to my author name (so that it matched the book) then approved it - http://www.pr.com/press-release/489142
    2 days after release I could find myself in Google News thanks to PR.COM

    Next steps

    Well, the press release has been out there on the internet for nearly a week now. It would have been great to seen an immediate boost in sales but to be honest sales of my paperback and kindle story have remained quite constant. 

    Puzzled by this I did some further reading and I found many blogs that questioned the value of the PR distribution sites. The main argument they put forward is that there isn't a lot of evidence that journalists pick up stories on these sites and publish them, but I'm hopeful that having the story on Google and Google news will still be useful. 

    One top tip I did read was to put the wording of your press release on your own blog, so I dutifully added that on my previous post.

    There is also a lot of discussion about the value of the premium services that the press release sites offer.

    I'd be interested to hear if anyone out there has paid the premium on these sites for greater exposure/coverage/editing support. In your opinion is it worth spending some money on your press release? Has anyone out there seen a tangible lift in sales after submitting a press release?