Are Press Releases Worth Doing?


Derek Murphy of Creative Indie has a pretty low opinion of press releases. They just don’t seem to have the same weight that they used to.

In his exact words over at his blog,, he says

“Press releases for book promotion almost never work… It doesn’t matter how catchy and well-written they are, which is why 99% of press release services book publicity gurus offer are BS.”

He talks about a predatory website geared to take advantage of authors. Rather than make well-crafted press releases they make up a boiler plate one and fill in the blanks and then submit it… using good SEO, keywords, and paid placing they get ahead of the results in web searches and look like a great option for starving Indies who are just looking for a way to be heard.

Murphy uses some comical examples to reiterate “publishing a book is not news. You need to DO SOMETHING that makes you newsworthy.” And when he says, “If you can’t think of any news besides ‘hey I wrote a book!’ then you’re better off paying for book advertising than wasting money on a press release,” I’m inclined to agree with him.

All of that said, sometimes they do work. I have some friends in my writers’ network who feel they’ve been very beneficial and seen some other promotional opportunities come out of them. what I found interesting is that one had said a few outlets had found his press release by also searching for keywords—the same basic premise the shady PR factory was using can also work for an author who can be smart about using his language in a press release (and isn’t that what we’re supposed to be capable of as writers?”

A good solution for the DIY or low-budget Indie Author is to work through a couple steps:

  1. Heed Murphy’s advice and find your story (releasing a book is purely a factoid and not, in itself, newsworthy—it has no value or story attached. Give people a reason to listen.) A good primer for this is at
  2. Do some research into how news outlets might discover your press release. Use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find the most effective terminology related to your book. (More on that at )
  3. Obey the accepted format for press releases. You can find some rules and guidelines on it (as well as a great story about how A Gronking to Remember became a hit sensation—an author made their bad book into a story) at this site:
  4. Use a discount service such as Fiverr to get your release into circulation for a reduced cost

Another template can be found here:


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