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Press releases are one of those mysterious things that every talks about, but never very specifically. So, I'd love to start a discussion about how they have worked for all of you. I'll start the discussion with my own burning questions!

Has anyone ever used one of the press release service John Kremer lists on www.bookmarket.com? If so, did it result in press? What do the services actually do: fax your release, e-mail it (and if so do reporters actually open those e-mails) or just post it somewhere on the internet?

Or, has anyone faxed or emailed out their own press releases? If so, who did you send them to? Did you get any press?

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences!

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I have used PRleap and PR web. I have received exposure through the search engines such as google. On PRweb I have had thousands of hits. Either way the press releases are a way to get exposure for whatever news item is current. The sites I have used distributed the releases to the organizations in their distribution. I think press releases are great. I have two recent ones that I submitted through PRleap and they have come up within the first 10 pages on google. This is a good method to get exposure for new items such as adding things to my web site and joining groups or organizations. All these are news items.
I've used press releases to get ranking on the search engines. When I first sent out a press release on my novel that was to be serialized I received a call from a photographer. He had a collection of photos like the charater in my novel. We marvelled at the dejavu aspect of things and became friends. Now that my book is under another press and he's self publishing his photo collection we are jointly marketing.

In the case of my short story collection and also with my novel I've sent press releases out to magazines that have published my stories.This has resulted in blurbs, requests for reviews and future publication of exerpts.

I've also had my various press releases linked to other sites on the Internet which I think in turn will lead to future traffic on my or my publisher's website. Whether this will result in orders I don't know.
Press releases are great, they get you exposure and allow you to build incoming links to your website(s). You can do a press release on anything, as long as it is "news." Thus, announcing your book, your blog, changes to your website, interviews, book signings, etc. You just have to make it "news worthy." Some press release sites are stricter than others in what they accept. I use PRleap, 1888pressrelease, i-newswire, free-press-release, and a couple of others. In some sense it is very similar to article marketing.

Has this paid off in exposure, sales? Good question and there is no real way to tell unless you have Google Analytics or some other program and you look at where traffic is coming from. I've gotten one of our newest books reviewed by the largest media organization in its field, which was very cool (they contacted us after they found the press release). Traffic has come from the press release to the page I pointed it to, so that was a bonus. I've had NOT paid for anyone to do it professionally or to put it on the paid sites, so I don't know if it is worth it.
I used PR Leap, PR Log, I-newswire, Open Press, PR Web when it was free and a couple of others.
I've sent press releases to newspapers in towns where I lived for any period of time with mixed results. These days it is hard to find a person on a newspaper staff who actually works with books and writers. Most sunday editions are just reprints of the New York Time book reviews or some other large newswire. I have had the best luck working with lifestyle editors, but that has only worked in places where I could claim a long time residency. I've moved around a lot so that works for me. Like "Former long time Juneau resident, bla bla, bla."

I sent out an online press release, Friday, about a review I recently received from Midwest Book Review. I used prweb.com and if their statistics mean anything 26,000 people looked at it the first day and my website visits increased by over 300 during the same period. They have a pretty nice feature if you have a website, the front page comes up under the press release so people can check it out at the same time as they read the release if they want to. PRWEB.COM has a variety of programs, I used the one that costs $80.00. Will it increase my sales or bring people knocking at my door? I'll let you know when I find out. If you want to look at it you can go to prweb.com and in the search box type my headline"Terrorist Novel Receives Five Star Review.

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