Getting media coverage is all about developing relationships. This is why when sending out press releases or news releases it is usually best to start with your local media. You will have a much better chance of making a connection. To get started, make a list of all the top TV stations, news radio stations and newspapers in your city. You can use newslink.org to find a state and national listing of US newspapers, radio and TV.
Once you have targeted a media website to send a release, look for a link such as “Contact us,” “News tips,” or “Submit press release.” If you can’t find a link or an email, call the news department and ask who you can email or fax a press release to directly. Many news sites have forms that you can paste your press release into and and submit it. Once you have a basic release written, tweak it for each site to make it as relevant and personal as possible.
The media is always looking for news. If your story is newsworthy, they will be glad to run it. The paper wants people to send them press releases, this is how they get new information! Make sure you include a local angle to the story, naming real people and places. If your book does not take place in that geographic area, include personal information on how you came to write it, where you are having a book signing, etc.
Although there are press release services that send to hundreds of news outlets (see list below), it is hard to get results from mass submissions. It’s much better to target each media organization individually and send a release with a small 2-3-sentence personal note to the editor or producer.
Follow up is important and you can only do follow up if you have sent out an individual release with a personal message. Most professional publicity firms know that it often takes seven or more tries to get a story printed, but even one news story can do a lot for your book! Not only will you get the immediate coverage, you can use that publicity over and over again with a link from your website, in future sales letters and even as a referral for getting media coverage on a national level.
There are times when using a press release service is a good choice. Depending how important your release is you may decide to use a paid service. A good rule of thumb is to use the free services for smaller releases and use a paid service for major stories about your book.
Here are some occasions when you might send a widespread release.
Your story covers headline international issues
You have a firsthand experience or eyewitness account of demonstrations or progressive actions.
Your story involves a major celebrity or newsworthy event beyond the local level
The following sources will help you to get started. Be sure to read the submission guidelines for each service.
Free Press Release services (links point to the register/get started pages)
1. 1888 press release
Paid Press Release services