Building Your Author Platform, Part Three: The Press Release & Finding Your Footing on Amazon

You’re in the process of writing your book. Is it too soon to start thinking about the possibility of writing a press release? Perhaps a better question would be: Are you ready to amplify your voice? Of course you are! And a press release may just be your next step in crafting a healthy and rigorous personal brand and web presence. In this, the third and final installment of our series about building your platform, we know what you’re thinking: Once you’ve written your book, you’ll be on track to building a marketing campaign to do it justice. But only once the hard part’s over … right?

Ah, but it’s never easy getting word out to new readers about a brilliant new book they should be reading. And while there are few events you might think worth publicizing with a press release, publishing your book should definitely be one of them. In order to really do it justice, you need to spend some time before your book is published … and perhaps even before the manuscript is finished … thinking about what makes your book special and formulating a written testament to those exact things.

Writing the Press Release:

Your book’s press release is a mission and vision statement for what goes on within its pages, a kind of written form of your elevator pitch. Just as it’s never too soon to start refining your elevator pitch, so too writing your press release can and maybe even should be a parallel activity to finishing your manuscript.

A press release is typically sent to the staffs of newspapers, magazines, bloggers, radio or television stations, and the administrators of various popular websites. If this sounds like a lot of work for one person to organize and distribute, that’s because … it certainly can be. But the benefits of a press release are extraordinary: the resulting national and even international exposure cultivates the interest of new readers who otherwise would never hear about your book. And publishing your press release before you publish your book is critical to drumming up interest and driving pre-orders as well as engagement on your author website and social media platforms, as we’ve discussed in previous installments of this series.

There are a number of ways to go about writing and posting a press release. You can write and distribute your press release yourself, or you can work with a self-publishing company that will partner with you to produce the press release for a small fee. Every company is different in what it bundles together, but Outskirts Press offers its authors the opportunity to have a professional writer draft a press release as a part of its Book Launch Bundle.

Generally speaking, no matter which company you opt to run with, you ought to be able to make moderate changes and corrections before the final draft of your press release is published and distributed. You should then receive a copy to use in your own marketing campaign, while the company makes use of its existing connections to distribute your professional custom press release.

Whether you write your own press release or opt to seek out assistance, the finished press release will help drive sales by piquing the interest of reviewers, journalists, bloggers, and members of the media by encouraging them to pick up copies of your book. It will also produce a wealth of polished written material for you to mine as you set up your Goodreads and Amazon author pages!

What’s the deal with Goodreads?

No list of author-friendly social media websites would be complete without mention of Goodreads. All users can create profiles, log the books they’ve read or are reading or want to read, rating them out of five stars and posting book reviews as they go. You can find your friends by interlinking your Goodreads account with Facebook or Twitter or Amazon, or by using their email addresses. Goodreads was purchased after its stratospheric rise by Amazon, so a lot of its features, like reviews and “buy from these retailers” links, are already well-integrated into that other behemoth of the book industry. Authors get even a little more love, in that you can create a specialized “Author Page” that lists your books (including pictures of their book covers), link to blog posts, and create and manage book giveaways.

The Goodreads Author Page is critical. Much like your Amazon Author Page, which we’ll get to a minute, your Goodreads Author Page drives a great deal of web traffic and will automatically be indexed by search engines like Google and Bing, making it a veritable treasure-trove for potential future readers. Once you have your Goodreads Author Page set up, you can announce the impending publication of your next book and create book listings which make note of the exact date.

Your Amazon Presence as Platform

There are two elements to your digital footprint on Amazon: the Author Page, and the book listing, and both of these elements can be crucial components of your marketing strategy once your book is published. But you don’t have to wait for your book to be published to set up your Amazon pages!

Your book listing page is what readers see when they conduct a search for your book by title, and it includes the cover image, summary description, publisher information, and reviews. The author page is what readers see when they conduct a search for you by name, and click the search option to display all books you’ve published. Your author page includes a headshot, brief biography, and a visually pleasing display of all of your book cover images, each of which is clickable. Book listings tend to be a more popular point of access, but the author page ought not to be overlooked, as it provides crucial cross-referencing information. You can mine the biographical information from your press release and include that information on your author page, and you can mine it for content specific to your book’s plot and genre and include that information on your book listing.

Amazon also allows for pre-orders, if you yourself decide to make pre-orders an option for your future readers. Whether or not you do, your Amazon pages are, like your author website, blog, and social media presence, critical components of driving interest in and web traffic to your upcoming book. The sooner you set these pages up, the sooner you can start generating “buzz” about your book’s upcoming release!

There are many ways to effectively build your personal brand and web presence on Amazon, some of which we’ve covered in detail on the Self Publishing News blog, and all of which boil down to intentionality. If you put in a dedicated effort to flesh out the information presented on your book listing page and your author page, and if you make an intentional effort to utilize the other tools Amazon has made available (hosting an Amazon giveaway and offering a limited-time discount are two fantastic examples), Amazon will almost certainly become the bedrock of your future sales and distribution systems.

Bringing It All Together Now.

When we first started this series, we posed the question: What is your platform and why is it important, even before you publish your first book? We hope that, over the course of this series, you have become convinced of the importance of crafting a healthy and rigorous personal brand and web presence, far in advance of actually publishing your next book. Self-publishing authors are most often building their platform from scratch, a daunting prospect for even the most silicon-savvy, and we likewise hope that you have found in this series a number of ways forward toward doing so. And in the meantime, we’re here to help you get started and to answer your pressing questions about the process. Please don’t hesitate to visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com to chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to find out how to finish your manuscript and get it … and you … ready for publication!

Click here for Part One and click here for Part Two if you missed it!

 

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