Do Press Releases Still Work?

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Fred and Jean
I like to make it obvious what my blog posts are about with my title. So, you won't be surprised to find out that in this post, I want to discuss press releases as a marketing tool for book authors. No, you haven't landed in a time machine and gone back to the past way of marketing books. I'm starting to become a believer in using the newspaper or ezines--and maybe even radio or TV!--to get the word out about books and authors, and here's why.

Editor-911 Books, my publishing company, has currently published one amazing author named Fred Olds. Fred is 91! Fred is a veteran of the U.S. Army. So when his daughter called The News-Gazette (Champaign-Urbana, IL newspaper) to let them know that they had a 91-year-old first-time published author living in their readership area, they were interested. Since it was close to Veteran's Day, they interviewed him, took photos of him and his books at his house, and put him on the front page of the paper. 

And guess what? It sold books. It's one of the most effective marketing tools we've tried so far! 

So then I got to thinking--maybe we should do some press releases because--This. Is. A. Story. There are not very many 91-year-old authors who are getting their children's books published for the first time in their lives. Plus, he is a dedicated husband--as the reporter wrote, "The father of four still stays busy, making daily trips to Tolono’s Arbor Rose nursing home to see his wife, Norma Jean, and focusing on his writing." 

He doesn't want the publicity, and I haven't told him my marvelous idea yet, but I am planning to investigate how to get press releases out into the universe and use them as a marketing tool. I will think about the story of Fred and his books, just like I do when I write my own books or even blog posts.

Fred's books have been so well-received--the Read-Aloud Stories With Fred Vol. 1 has almost thirty 5-star reviews on, and so he wrote a volume 2. He's a hard worker, great storyteller, and just a fantastic person, and I want the world to know about him. So I'll fill you in on how this press release idea goes. If you know anything about sending out these "old-school" marketing tools, please tell us in the comments below! Share the knowledge. Help us out.
Just don't tell Fred... yet. 

Margo L. Dill is a writer, publisher, editor, teacher, and writing coach, living in St. Louis, MO with her daughter and dog. To find out more, visit Margo's website here or her publishing website here. 


Angela Mackintosh said...

Wow, Margo! I didn't know Fred was 91, a veteran, and a debut author. I believe you have to share stories like this or else no one will ever know. And press releases do work. For our blog tour department, we create media releases for our authors and pitch them to radio stations/podcasts. We list topics the author could speak about and more. I think press releases have more opportunities now with all the online PR feeds/sites, so they're not so old school anymore. I'm thrilled Fred's books have been so well received, and you are doing a fantastic job with your publishing company! :)

Margo Dill said...

Thanks, Ang! I didn't realize Fred was 91 either--I mean I knew he was in his 80s because I knew him when I lived in Champaign and he was in my critique group. But I wrote to him and told him all along that I had him younger than he was! :) I am so happy the News Gazette was so good to him. That's the paper I used to work for up there, too. Anyway, I will definitely use press releases. Now to write it! :) Hugs!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--A 91-year old writer, who is just now enjoying some success? What a wonderful story. Fred sounds like an extraordinary man. And it sounds like you two are a great team.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Margo, such an inspiring story. Yes, the world definitely needs to know about Fred. Much success to him and your publishing company.

Renee Roberson said...

As a magazine editor, I can absolutely vouch for press releases! One of the publications I work for is a magazine geared to active seniors in my area and I've assigned articles after receiving press releases about local grandpas writing children's books! I also received a press release from a PR firm a few months ago about a new business owner who had been profiled on "Good Morning America" because she started up salon during the pandemic. I thought it was story worthy and we did our own profile with photos on her. I love getting press releases because I can forward them to my writers and it helps when they interview the subjects.

Now, have I written a press release about my own podcast and pitched it to newspaper and magazines in the Carolinas? Of course not. But it's on my list!

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