Q: I am with a small traditional publishing house and so don't get help with promotion.
I have sent press releases out the wazoo but can't seem to get any attention from them. Most disappointing, is I can't seem to get my own hometown paper interested. Any suggestions?
A: I must admit, news releases these days are hit or miss. The news business is shrinking. Newspapers barely have enough room for daily news stories – and enough staff to cover them. Book reviews are out, and unless you can sell yourself as a feature story, you might be out of luck.
Hometown newspapers – especially the small ones – are some of the most difficult to break into. So scratch that and broaden your distribution. Have you tried an eRelease service like BoStick Communications? This service specializes in book press release distribution – including those for religious distribution.
If that doesn't work – or fit your budget – consider adding releases only to your Web site and pursue different marketing venues.
You have excellent marketing campaign potential with your books. You have a Christian theme in all of them, which means that you should target a Christian niche. Give review samples to church book groups. Send copies of Son of My Soul, The Adoption of Christopher to adoption agencies, or ask members of an adoption forum to review it on Amazon or their personal blogs. A Very Special Child fits a children's market, so target your efforts to blogs and Web site for children and families. If these are available for sale through a site like Christianbook.com, ask someone to post a review on it. Search for children's book readers on Amazon, and ask them if they would like a complimentary copy to review.
To save money, you can always e-mail a password-protected PDF to review.
I recently posted a column on writing news releases for hardcopy and electronic submission. Check it out for tips.