Press release distribution tips for indie authors

Earlier this week we looked at ways you can write a better book launch press release. But what you do with that finished release is just as important as how it's written. So today I'd like to share a few press release distribution tips for authors -- things you can do to help your announcement get more attention, without being immediately dismissed.

Here are three distribution tips and tactics you can use for your book launch:

1. Create a manual, and well-targeted, media list.

If there's one mistake I've seen creative folks make more than any other when it comes to press release distribution, it's relying solely on online distribution sites. If you really want members of the media to take notice, you need your own media list.

This list should include the best media outlets for your book -- local and regional newspapers that might post announcements for area authors, media outlets directly tied to the content of your book, etc. You can either put this list together on your own using Google and some online media databases, or you can hire a PR professional to create a custom media list for you using the most up-to-date information available. This can be a good way to save money -- hiring a PR person to help you build a contact database without paying for them to manage your full distribution.

2. Choose press release distribution services wisely.

Don't make the mistake of spamming your press release all over the web by submitting it to countless distribution sites. It won't generally help. And you have a bigger risk of having your release get your website penalized in Google.

Why? Unfortunately many of the newer distribution sites launched solely to take advantage of the link-buying crowd. People would pay them to post a press release with their live, "dofollow" links to try to manipulate search engine rankings. Suffice it to say, Google caught on.

If your primary reason for distributing a press release is to get backlinks for SEO, don't bother. Links are a side benefit after your story is picked up in respectable media outlets. The links from the distribution sites themselves aren't worth very much. So be careful which ones you choose. If they brag about offering "dofollow" backlinks or helping you rank better in Google, you should probably steer clear.

Focus on ones that actually get your release into the hands of media professionals. That might mean using a service like PRNewswire or you might find niche distribution sites depending on your book's focus.

Choose one premium distribution service that looks like the best fit in your case. Forget most, if not all, of the free ones (I wouldn't recommend bothering with any these days). And don't get roped into paying multiple sites for the same service. Use one to get it online, and then target everything else with manual distribution.

3. Pay attention to the timing.

Timing is a huge factor in successful press release distribution. Only so much news can be covered on any given day. Your book might get a few national mentions on a slow news day. Or it could struggle to even get mentioned in your local newspaper if there are far more important things going on -- from a major disaster in the area to other book releases from authors who are already household names.

If your book ties into something timely or seasonal, take advantage of that to make your launch seem more newsworthy. And pay attention to editorial calendars, especially if pitching magazines. If your book ties in nicely to their planned topics during your launch month, you'll have a better chance of having your book mentioned.

Also, remember to give members of the media adequate time to cover your book. If you're looking for them to review it, make sure they know how they can get a review copy, and send the release with ample time for them to review it before, or around, your launch date. If you want them to attend an event related to your launch, send a media advisory, not just a press release. And again, pay attention to editorial calendars. If a publication says they need several months' notice for something to make it into an issue, they mean it. So plan accordingly.

Do you have questions about writing or distributing your book launch press release? Ask here in the comments or send me your questions to potentially have them featured on the blog.

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