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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Londa Hayden on Writing and Using Press Releases

LONDA HAYDEN is a freelance writer and founding president of Bartlett Christian writers. She lives in the Memphis area with her husband and three sons. Recently, she joined the staff at Southern Writers Magazine. For more about her books, visit her website at

“How To Write and Use A Press Release” by Londa Hayden

A press release is something every author needs to help promote their book. There are many different ways to use a press release, which can help open doors to speaking engagements and booksignings in the future. A press release is a newsworthy story, written in third person, with the intent to promote a special event, person, service, or product. This type of journalistic content usually accompanies a press kit or pitch letter. However, it can also be sent out alone via email, fax, or snail mail to various media outlets and other targeted markets.

Janet M. Thaeler, author of I Need A Killer Press Release - Now What?, tells authors to optimize their press release for online visibility. Thaeler says, “One of the main mistakes authors make is not including keyword phrases and hyperlinks to where the book is sold or to the author's website in the resource box at the bottom of the article or in an email signature.” Using the keyword tool kit available for free on is a user-friendly process that every author should learn how to do. She also advises to include pictures and videos with hyperlinks in the captions that will help rank the article higher in the search engines. “An emailed press release is useful…assuming the content is high quality and well targeted.”

The basic elements of a press release should include: the title of the book, the author's name, the publisher, a one line hook, a picture of the author and book cover, an appealing and compelling description of what the book is about, a short author bio and contact information, the author's website, and where the book is sold and may be purchased or downloaded in various digital formats. Also, provide hyperlinks within the the online version. This should all fit on one page or a page and a half at the most. Respect your reader's time by keeping it short, brief, and to the point. Remember, your press release is only one among hundreds that are being submitted on a daily basis. You really only have a 15 to 30 second window to make a lasting impression.

Once your awesome press release is ready, make a list of your targeted markets. Beside each listing, include the website link or mailing address. Prepare to post your press release on public websites that offer high Internet visibility; be sure to include those keyword phrases both in the title and in the body of the article. Be sure to post your press release on your own website and your social networks. Also, send out an email blast to your writer buddies, fans, family, and friends and ask them to post a blog and share it on their social networks.

Submit your press release to local newspapers, which may in turn offer the author a write up in the community section or perhaps even an interview. Submitting to local and even national radio stations may also provide more visibility. It never hurts to ask. A press release may also be sent via email or personally delivered to local bookstore managers in order to open the doors of communication to request a booksigning. Many book reviewers who blog about new releases are more than happy to read your book and offer a write up on their website and a review on, which also increases your google ranking. If you hear of such book reviewers, send them a press release and ask them about their review prodical. Offer them a free signed copy of your book and perhaps a second signed copy to give away as a contest promotion.

In a free webinar, Publicity insider Bill Stoller, recently discloses his Ten Commandments of Press Releases:
  1. Be thou professional at all times
  2. Thou shalt not advertise with pumped up claims
  3. Thou shalt not be boring
  4. Thou shalt be brief and to the point
  5. Thou shalt know thy reader or recipient
  6. Thou shalt use proper tenses
  7. Thou shalt keep thine article visually appealing
  8. Thou shalt tell a story including the what, when, where
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness
  10. Thou shalt understand thine own limits.
This free webinar is still available online at Click on the learning tab.

If you are published by a traditional publisher, then request the publisher's permission to use the press release they provide for your personal marketing endeavors. Here is a list of websites where you can publish your press release for free:
Another great way to find specific press release submission services is to do a search for "free press releases" on Google. Have fun!

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Thank you, Londa, for sharing with us today.


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