Sunday, March 28, 2010

Press Releases and Gorilla Marketing

No matter how much a book may write itself, I've come to realize that no book is going to sell itself. So, a couple of random tips on how to get your book (/product/whatever) noticed and (hopefully) selling.

First off, the press release. I didn't know this, but apparently, you need one. Any time a company launches a new product, or an author (or publishing house) launches a new book, someone writes a press release and sends it to every relevant media outlet they can think of. A lot of the people who receive it won't care, but some will, and it just might mean your name in a paper, in a blog entry or on the radio. Prefferably, you want to send your press release out just as your book (or whatever) is available. You might even want to send one out before it is available, telling them it is going to be available and offering a review copy, because many reviewers won't review a book that's already been released. I've sent the one for Aigaion Girl to our very own Jam to look over (Jam is the new Editor in Chief of The Muse - Congrats Jam!), and I don't know exactly how effective it will be, but from the tonne and a half of research I've done on it, this is how a press release (actually now called a Media release, because they're sent to everyone, not just papers) should look:

For Immediate Release:

(contact name)
(contact phone number)
(contact fax)
(contact email)


(City), (Province/State), (Date)

(First Paragraph)*

(Second Paragraph)**

### OR - End -

* The first paragraph should contain the basic info (who, what, where, why, why we care)

**The second paragraph should contain the more detailed info.

Always refer to yourself in the third person and try to write the press release as if you are an uninterested third party. I wish I had more info to share, but first we'll have to see if I've done mine properly.

As for the Gorilla Marketing, this is something I'm quickly learning about. The Internet has made marketing a million times easier, but in so doing, has made it a lot less relevant. There are a tonne of ads on almost every site you visit, so I'm not really rushing to add mine to the throng and hope it gets noticed somehow.

My theory is that the best way to get noticed is through search results. If someone types your (pen)name into Google, you want you to be the first person on the list. The same with your book/story/poem title. There are a couple of ways to achieve this. One, link everything. Link to your website from your other website, link your blogs together, include your website(s) in profile on every forum you belong to... and the second, which is kind of a pain in the ass, use your own links. When I have to get to my website, (see what I did there?), I don't just type in the url and hit enter. No, I search
"Athena McCormick" on google, then I click the link that pops up for my website. I have the unfair advantage of a really unusual name (there is another one in Colorado), but my site is now at the top of the list, where it wasn't before.

Spiders are the best thing ever for marketing, especially for us poor, starving artist types, because they're relatively easy (albeit time consuming) to use and manipulating them doesn't cost any money. Six days ago, when I approved Aigaion Girl for sale, I got a little automated message telling me I could expect to wait 15 business days (or three weeks) before it would be available on amazon. That seemed a little long, so ten or twenty times a day, I went to Amazon and typed "Aigaion Girl" into the search bar a whole bunch of times. When I got tired of that, I typed my name. Aigaion Girl showed up on Amazon yesterday. Go see for yourself (and boost my spiderness) here.

The one other thing (and the final one for the purposes of this article) I wanted to mention was email signatures. They don't have to be overly complex or witty; they just have to have some basic information and link to whatever you want linked - and once you've written them, they're always there an easy to use. I discovered today that not all mail clients will interpret the links correctly, however, so I suggest instead of saying "click here", you say something like, "visit my profile at" and link the url, so if the link goes dead, your recipient still has your url.

Okay, I think that's it for me. Hope this helps someone, somehow.


E said...

Extremely helpful, in fact. This is just the kind of info I was looking for and exactly the kind of info no one tells you in writing workshops.

I think it's 'guerilla marketing', however.
That said, I think I prefer Gorilla Marketing to Guerilla Marketing.

Hopefully I'll place an order for Aigaion Girl sometime int he near future. And if you ever feel like doing an article on how one goes about setting up a professional-looking website for oneself, that would not be unappreciated.

Athena said...

Yay - I'm glad this was helpful. I figure if I can save anyone else having to spend their day poking around for this kind of info, or discovering it through trial and error, then I should.

Oh man. I'm a terrible speller, so I put way more faith in spell-check than I should. My computer (which is set to UK English, though I'm not sure that would make a difference) told me Guerilla was incorrect, so I thought maybe I'd been wrong, and there only was one spelling (after all, big, hairy thing in the jungle....). I blame it on the fact that I'm blonde.

I will definitely post something about how to get a professional looking website, if I can figure it out. I got fed up with everything that was available, so I designed mine from scratch, then had my brother code it... but there must be a way to do it that doesn't involve piling heaps of time and money into a web designer, so I'm definitely going to look into that.

Rhiannon said...

Aye...I second the 'extremely helpful' remark! Things to think about once I've finally finished a story I can publish >:D