Earlier this year I was honored to be asked by one of the Small Business Trends experts to write a foreword for her upcoming book. Janet Meiners Thaeler's book, "I Need a Killer Press Release - Now What???" , is now on the shelves. When Janet, who is well-known in social media circles and is the blog evangelist for OrangeSoda, told me she was writing a book specifically with tips about press releases, I was intrigued. You see, I believe in the power of press releases, especially online press releases. Press releases are one of the great "levelers."\u00a0 They level the playing field for small businesses, allowing you to take control of getting your important news out to the world. You are no longer dependent on PR firms -- not that I am denigrating PR firms.\u00a0 Not at all.\u00a0 I very much respect PR professionals.\u00a0 But it's a fact of life that many small businesses cannot afford PR firms.\u00a0 With an online press release, as long as you are willing to take some time to educate yourself and do some legwork, you too can get access to effective PR. Here are 5 reasons to read I Need a Killer Press Release - Now What???: You get practical advice, not just theory. Anyone can tell you that online press releases are valuable -- and spout off generalities. What you need is practical "how to" advice. What steps do I take? Where do I go? What is the best way to ...?\u00a0 Those are the questions you wants answers for.\u00a0 This book gives them to you. You will learn how to optimize a press release for search engines. As Janet explains, writing for the Internet is different from writing for print. For one thing, sentences and paragraphs need to be shorter. Most important: you need to optimize an online press release for search engines. A well-distributed press release will give you more visibility and a wider audience, and the search engines are crucial to that visibility. Janet tells you which press release distribution sites are best. She also gives you a list of criteria with which to evaluate press release distribution sites. Examples of things to consider with press release sites:\u00a0 Do they allow clickable links? How fast will they distribute your release? Do they archive your press releases? And much more. You will learn how to make the most out of your news. You shouldn't just issue a press release and call it a day.\u00a0 If you are going to go to the trouble of writing a release, at least make sure you get the most mileage out of your news, by promoting it. The book explains how to amplify the impact of your news by reaching out to bloggers and using social media (among other techniques). You will learn how to be newsworthy. If you have little experience with press releases, your first problem may just be figuring out how to come up with something newsworthy to announce.\u00a0 Janet provides sources to look at for inspiration for news.\u00a0 For instance, one of her sources of inspiration is to look at holidays and elections.\u00a0 She also includes a very useful section on how to position news for maximum impact.\u00a0 To teach us, she dissects a release she wrote for online marketer Shoemoney, showing how it was originally written and how she re-wrote it for different emphasis. (If you'd like more reasons to get the book, read Janet's popular article she published here at Small Business Trends recently, called Five Killer Press Release Tips for Small Businesses.) I Need a Killer Press Release is not a long book.\u00a0 It gets right to the point.\u00a0 It's about 144 pages.\u00a0 Of those, about 30 pages are appendices including a list of press distribution sites, and a list of blogs where you can learn about online PR.\u00a0 The book comes in a printed soft-cover and also a downloadable PDF form -- so you can get it immediately.\u00a0 And at $16.96 (or $11.95 for the PDF) it's less than the cost of a week's worth of Starbucks lattes. This book is perfect for entrepreneurs and small business people who are looking to increase their online visibility in a cost effective way.\u00a0 If you have thought about press releases but your budget is too small to hire an outside PR firm -- and you're not sure where to start on your own -- this step-by-step book is for you.\u00a0 This book is also helpful for traditional marketers who need a crash course in today's online press releases. Please check out I Need a Killer Press Release - Now What???.