Because of my side position as an author and artist, I have often taken time to do research on marketing. I’ve read a lot of how-to’s for people with a budget of 0 dollars, and I’ve noticed they all tend to say the same thing. But one thing they don’t say, something I remember from my early days when I published via photocopier, is that you should send out a press release. In fact, even on guides that tell you where and how to spend your money for marketing the press release isn’t mentioned.
Guys, the press release should be your first step after you have your book ready to go. Your very first step. It’s a traditional marketing tactic, and it’s also still a viable marketing tactic. People still read the news, they still check out the entertainment section, and they still want to know what’s going on. This is why your press release is so important.
To your home town it lets them know there’s a local author – and at least in my home town this meant the Chamber of Commerce had to get involved promoting the fact that there is indeed a local author. To other people in the world it lets them know you’re out there. You want them to know you’re out there don’t you?
So how is it handled? I’ll tell you how I handled it while on this journey to market Frank Crowe, the Dam Builder Who Changed the Face of the Earth. I’ll even tell you how I managed to save money, being as my budget is very small.
1. The book’s plan of action had to be determined. I needed to know when the promotional give away was going to happen, if it was going to happen, and have the book itself formatted and ready to go. There also needed to be a website for the book in place – in this case my client has a website period so that was done by adding another page. Once I knew that I was able to move forward, and I had to move quickly because a new book is new for only so long.
2. The press release had to actually get written. Although you can find plenty of advice on how to write one I felt I should leave it to someone who knew how to do it. This had to look professional. Your press release is your first impression, so you can’t afford to have it look bad.
I couldn’t afford $100 or more to have one written, though – so I went to fiverr.com. Luckily there was a person there who not only would write me a pr for $5, they had lots of previous experience. So I hired them. They did a fabulous job – and then I tipped them, because although my budget is low you gotta be some sort of scum to only pay $5 for a press release. 🙂
3. I then searched for the right press release company. Sure, I could have sent the press release myself, and if you’re a local author in a small hometown I recommend you do send it to your newspaper. Spending hours and hours manually sending that press release to every agent, newspaper, and internet source in the world? Nooooo…. so I hired someone to do it for me.
I looked around very carefully for this one because some press release companies have great prices, but the places they send the pr to are limited. For example for $25 one company will send the pr to every internet source out there, but they won’t send it to newspapers and agents. For that you gotta shell out $200 more. The company I chose had a reasonable package that sent the pr to internet sites, newspapers, and various news agents. There were some more things, but I can’t remember what else. Total I paid: $90.
There are ways to send your press release yourself for free to multiple places. I found a lot of them, and if this were my own book I’d probably be using them. Fortunately for me, my client gave me a budget I can use. So now the pr is sent and I have time to do other important things and handle commissions/write my own stuff.
4. The press release may be sent, but my job isn’t over. I put my client down as the information contact, so I have to make sure he’s aware the press release is sent. If a journalist chooses to contact you about your press release, you want to get back in touch with them immediately … or they may simply drop it and move on to the next big story. No one may get in touch with you at all if your pr is detailed enough, but it’s always wise to keep a look out.
And now that step 1 is finished, it’s time to move to step two in what appears to be a forming series of articles. And step 2 would be…. a physical book give away. More on that later.