You Shouldn’t Fear Writing a Press Release

All our press releases

Image by Christopher S. Penn via Flickr

Taken from Writerstopia Magazine, Dec. 2011 – with permission

The word “Press Release” seems to scare most people to death. On top of that not many people take the time to even think of writing their own Press Release. We hope this brief article will help clear up some of the mysteries surrounding this simple form of marketing.

The first thing you have to remember is that a Press Release is a “news” item. It needs to “inform” people, NOT sell them something. For example, you are reading this report because you want to learn something that will BENEFIT YOU. You aren’t reading it just so you can buy something else. If money is the driving force in your business – you won’t go too far. Your main goals should be in pleasing customers, providing them with a high-quality product and more than their money’s worth. The trick is to do all this while still making money. People don’t care what mountains you had to climb, what seas you had to cross or what tribe of people you had to learn the ways of just to find a secret formula. Instead – they want to know WHAT the secret formula is.

The sales circulars you print and mail sell your product. A Press Release informs others about your product. Instead of your main objective being to sell the product and have the customer send in an order immediately, a Press Release informs the customer exactly how your product will benefit their lives. This must be conveyed in the form of a “newsworthy” Press Release. If you have a sales circular to sell a product, you can easily turn it into a Press Release without much difficulty. It’s just a new marketing angle of presenting your product to the public.

The following is an example of a typical Press Release for a publishing service:

So many people are entering the mail order market these days, but so many of them are getting ripped-off by a bunch of hype. People are promised untold riches in a short period of time. The hype ads play with their emotions by making them believe it’s so easy to make money through the mail. It’s sad.

However, a new book has just been released to help solve these problems for the average person. For the first time in history – a REAL directory has been compiled listing the ACTUAL name and addresses of 179 honest and trustworthy mail order folks. People can write DIRECTLY to these people and receive FREE information to get them started in their own business now!

It’s unbelievable. Without trying to sell you anything else, you can get this book for only $4.95 – a price anyone can afford. Meet the real mail order dealers who care about their products and want to help you get started doing what they are doing.

Only available from Graphico Publishing, PO Box 488, Bluff City TN 37618.

As you can see, this is a short but sweet Press Release – however, you should be able to see the “newsworthiness” in it. Its main focus is on the fact that most people get ripped-off when they start their first mail order business. The solution to this problem is a new directory that is available for the first time in history. The “sale” is slowly led into because the reader will naturally want to get their hands on this one. It doesn’t ask for money it only tells the reader how to get a copy if they want one.

Here’s a great test for a real press release. Since your final sales pitch is included in the last paragraph – read the Press Release aloud. Would it still be worth reading WITHOUT your sales pitch? If so, it’s probably a Press Release.

Press Releases come in many forms due to the product you are writing about.

However, the basic rule of thumb still applies. If you’ve never wrote one before – it may be a little difficult. Don’t despair. Grab the latest daily newspaper and read some of their informational articles. Notice how each article is written and pattern yours after the same format. After you do a few of them – you’ll be able to “get the picture.”

When your Press Release is written to your satisfaction, the proper way to submit it to a publisher is: Be sure and type it on a typewriter or computer.  Standard format is double-spaced and not longer than two 8 1/2×11 pages. Be sure and put your name, address and page number at the top of each page.

Write the note: “For Immediate Release” at the top. If you are only sending the press release to one publication – tell them it’s a “first run.”

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

A Copywriter’s How To: Five Easy Tips to Write A Perfect, Selling Ad

Hi everybody, headline goes here please

Image by reinvented via Flickr

Yes, I’m extemporizing . I’m a writer, it’s a habit.

But seriously, a perfect, selling ad? I lied. There’s no such animal as the perfect, works-every-time, selling ad. But I got you to read this far, didn’t I? That was the title’s purpose — see Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline.

However, I didn’t lie about these tips, though. They’re easy and fun to use.

Tip One: who’s the reader? (Or viewer, or listener if you’re writing for broadcast.)

Although you’re writing for a crowd, it’s easiest to write if you imagine you’re talking to one particular person.

You can even start writing your first draft with a salutation, as if you were writing a letter: Start with “Dear Elli”, and keep writing.

Who is this person? Is she old, young, married? Where does she live? What’s her life like? What does she want most? What’s she scared of? Why would she be interested in your product? What difference would it make in her life?

Professional copywriters spend a lot of time in this phase of the writing process. You can’t motivate someone if you don’t know who they are.

Tip Two: Write an attention-grabbing headline

Your headline is vital. No one is looking for your ad. You’ve got to wave and yell at them to get their attention. If you don’t get their attention, no sale.

Write a trial headline to get yourself started. This probably won’t be the headline you’ll use. However, with a trial headline, you’ve got a corral for your copy. You’re writing to that headline.

When you’ve written a draft of the ad, force yourself, with a timer, to write another twenty headlines in five minutes. (Read the rest of the tips and write the benefits and the response before you write a draft.)

Don’t try too hard. Who cares if they’re all junk? You’re writing lots of headlines to get your subconscious mind to take you seriously, and throw up the PERFECT headline. You’ll never achieve this perfect headline with conscious thought. It’s a gift from your subconscious, but you have to goose it into cooperating.

You may find a headline you like more than your initial headline. Just substitute it, if it fits. If it doesn’t you can write another version of the ad to fit that headline’s concept.

Tip Three: Write the features first, then work out what the benefits are

Nobody buys a product (or a service) for its own sake. They buy because it benefits them in some way. The benefits are what you’re selling.

  • You’re not selling a German shepherd puppy; you’re selling an intelligent, loyal companion and family protector.
  • You’re not selling a car; you’re selling travelling comfort, prestige, and a sure-fire babe-magnet.
  • You’re not selling a book; you’re selling the adventure of a lifetime, love, romance, and sex.

To get a handle on this, take a sheet of paper and briefly list the features of your product or service on the left.

Then beside the feature, write the corresponding benefit that each feature provides.

Remember — use the benefits in your ad.

Tip Four: Don’t forget the response!

I’ve lost count of the number of ads I’ve seen everywhere from the Yellow Pages to full display ads costing thousands in magazines, where the copywriter and everyone else forgot the response.

You must tell the reader what you want him to do. You must ask for the sale. Ask the reader to do something: call a number, come into the store, or go to a Web site.

This is so important that when I’m writing an ad I always write the required response on a sticky note and tape it to a corner of my monitor. I tape it onto the screen itself, so I can’t miss it. (Yes, I have been guilty of forgetting the response. And very embarrassing it was too.)

Tip Five: Read it out loud

You’ve finished the final draft of your ad. Before you show it to anyone else, read it aloud.

You’ll pick up redundancies, awkward sentence construction and other gremlins when you read the copy aloud.

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

So How Do You Write a Book Proposal Anyway?

Okay, this is one of the few times you’ll get information from me and a shameless plug for something I’m promoting in the same location, that being the space for this posting.

The simplest way to answer the above question is that you write a proposal step by step. It’s like most things, you break it down into steps and before you know it, you’ve got a finished product. This helps to keep up confidence because the steps are the goals and they mark you achievements.

For my classes, I’ve broken writing book proposals down into 10 key steps. They are pretty cut and dry on the surface and the steps are easy to follow:

  • Step One: Getting an idea for your book.
  • Step Two: Develop the idea and expanding on it.
  • Step Three: Assessing the market.
    • Who needs this book? What’s the competition for the book?
  • Step Four: Outlining your book.
  • Step Five: Researching your book proposal, and fleshing out your outline.
  • Step Six: Writing the proposal query letter.
  • Step Seven: Sending your query letters to agents and publishers.
    • You send the queries while you’re working on the proposal. This helps you to gauge reaction to your work.
  • Step Eight: Writing the proposal.
  • Step Nine: Writing the sample chapter.
  • Step Ten: Revising your proposal

See simple right? Well here’s that shameless plug I promised you, I can give you the steps but it’s the visuals that help you understand just what is expected; so I offer a couple of ways to get my “visuals”.

The first is that you can attend my class on How to Write a Book in 30 Hours where I go over all 10 steps in depth as well as help you flesh out your book. As a bonus I will also tell you the easiest way to write a best-seller and help you create a proposal. This is a webcast so all are welcome. If you cannot join the original webcast session as long as you register you will have access to the full broadcast to download.

Well that’s part of the shameless plug portion of this posting, hope you will attend the class or at least visit Writerstopia.com, the publication for self-publishing and independent authors, click on the “Writer’s Radio” tab and click on the free download link, and you’ll receive a courtesy copy of “Dr. Ande’s How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Days.”

That’s the end of the shameless plugs for today. Thanks for reading the blog. Good luck with your writing.

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan

Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours

Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Sell Your Book the Easy Way

If you’ve dreamed of writing a book but weren’t sure of where to start or even if you were good enough to write a book; there’s great way to find out if you’ve got the “write stuff”. Okay all puns aside, writing a book is the easy part, the hard part is trying to sell you book. But the best part of book writing is that you don’t need to write your book before you get some money! That’s right you didn’t misread.

You can honestly get paid to write a book before it’s even written. It’s easily possible to make a fast $20,000, or more. There have been instances when authors have made seven figures — over a million dollars for only twenty pages of text.  It sounds incredible, but a fast seven figures is certainly possible if you have a HOT, hot idea or have had an experience that hundreds of thousands of people want to read about.

The magic money in question is called an advance. It’s the money a publisher will give you prior to you writing the book.

The next thing that should have come into your mind is “how do you get a publisher to do that; pay you the advance?” Well, the answer is, you write a book proposal.

This is why before you write your book (especially non-fiction books) you write a proposal.  A book proposal is the business plan for book writers. Okay that’s the simplified way to think of one, granted most business owners don’t like writing business plans but without one, you will fail in business. The same is said of book proposals. They focus you on your topic, help you formulate the most important things that a publisher wants to see – your marketing strategy and the bottom-line of how you plan to recoup the money the published is spending on you and to whom you are selling the book to.

Writing a proposal is the smart way to write a book. It’s the way professional writers sell non-fiction. Selling a book on a proposal is much easier than selling a book that you’ve already written. A book proposal is a complete description of your book. It contains the title, an explanation of what the books about, an outline of chapters, a market and competition survey, and a sample chapter. A publisher will read your proposal, assess its feasibility, cost it, and if it looks as if the publisher will make money, the publisher will pay you to write the book. When you’ve sold your proposed book to a publisher, your role doesn’t end with writing your book. You’re in partnership with your publisher to ensure the book’s success. If you do your part, both you and your publisher will make money

A book proposal functions in the same way as any business proposal does: you’re making an offer to someone you hope to do business with. It will be treated by publishers in the same way that any business investor or financial institution treats a business plan or business proposal.  The proposal is the roadmap that helps you to not only sell your book; it helps you write your book. So before you sit down and pen one thing, sit down and create your book proposal.

If you’ve never written a book proposal for, visit Writerstopia.com, the publication for self-publishing and independent authors, click on the “Writer’s Radio” tab and click on the free download link, and you’ll receive a courtesy copy of “Dr. Ande’s How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Days.”

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Creating Booklets Let’s You Make Money Writing “How To” Guides

If you want to make money, exercise creativity and help others, then you should invest some time in writing the basic “How To” guide.  It’s something anyone can produce, and with all the proper ingredients at the right time, you can make a proper living with.  The hard part, of course, is getting all the proper ingredients at the right time.

Your basic “ How to Guide” is usually two pages in length, sells for $3, and outlines instructions, details, or a “How-To Method” for solving a problem:  making more money, saving money, attaining greater happiness, or fulfilling an ambition or desire. These are called folios. Folios is another word for booklets, pamphlets etc.

The main difference to remember when creating one is the size and the composition you choose. Folios are generally four pages of content folded in half and have a paper cover. Booklets etc. are longer and their covers are usually card stock and can be bound in a variety of manners such as spiral, combed, saddle stitch or perfect binding. The price also varies, depending on the content and the number of pages. Booklets at minimum at around $5 but can go up to $10. If you are savvy you’ll create electronic versions of the materials which can sell as “eBooks” and they start off at $.99 for a “folio” size and go up to $44 for larger more in depth topics.

Any man, woman or child can write a saleable report on any subject – providing he or she has knowledge of that subject through personal experience, research, or both.  A lot of women write successful money-making reports based upon better ways of solving household problems.  And a lot of men write successful money-making reports on how to get greater pleasure from leisure time activities such as fishing, woodworking or other hobbies.  The list of subjects one can write about is endless, and reports on how to make more money easier and faster are no more limited to male authors than expertise in cooking is limited to female authors.

Writing your report is easy and quite simple.  However, it does take longer, and requires more sweat, blood and anguish for some people to produce a “finished” product than it does others, even if they are equally intelligent and knowledgeable.

The best advice anyone can give you on how to write a “how to” guide is to advise you to write as though you were talking to someone – as though you were instructing your next door neighbor via the telephone on the subject at hand.  I use the word telephone here to point out that regardless of how much you wave your arms, point your finger, or even draw pictures, you aren’t getting the message across, and your neighbor won’t “see” what you’re talking about until you tell him in the kind of language he can understand.

Until next time,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Dr. Ande’s Tips on Article Publishing

Welcome to a new year.

Let’s start with some tips for successful article writing. Back in the day I started out as the writer and editor of my school newspapers going all the way back to elementary school (the parent’s circular). So I have decided to give you some tips on how to create your articles if you plan to write for publications or online blogs.

  1. Test Your Idea:

To lead to a sale, your query must convince the editor that you have a clear idea of what you plan to cover in the article, and what approach you ‘re going to take.

So before writing the letter, think your article idea through carefully, and picture yourself describing the article to a friend.

  1. Find Your Angle:

Finding your angle is often a matter of narrowing your topic.  A topic like “Sports” is far too general, narrow it to say, “Table Tennis” is better.  Often, reducing the story to a single dimension e.g., focus on a key person, place, or event – gives a salable angle.

When your subject is popular, you must give the editor a fresh approach.  One way is to take an idea like “Overcoming Failure” and give it a twist to something like “Failure Can Be Good for You.”  It needn’t be exotic to sell, something as mundane as “New and Improved” has worked by adding a new ingredient to the usual.

  1. Research Helps:

While many queries can be written entirely from your own knowledge, a little research can pay big dividends by seducing the editor.  Facts sell editors on an idea.  Editors look for queries with many specifics:  Don’t just write that “Last year millions of people suffered from yeast infections.”  Tell how many millions – and why!

Research both the topic and the markets you’re aiming it at. A common reason for rejection is because of inadequate knowledge of the magazine.

  1. Shaping Your Raw Material:

After you have the basics:

    1. the idea
    2. the slant/facts, and
    3. the market

Then you’re ready to write your query.   A good query starts strong, and never lets up until the editor is sold.  Follow the two newspaper dictums; the five W’s (who, what, where, when, why) which explains the story immediately, and “the inverted pyramid” which emphasized putting the most interesting information first.  You’ll lose the editor’s interest if you save the best for last, and always remember EDITOR’S CUT FROM THE BOTTOM UP!

  1. 3 Main Sections to a Query:
    1. The Lead Paragraph
    2. The Summary
    3. The Author’s Bio.

Each has a specific purpose: first, tell the editor what the story is, then why she/he should buy it, and finally who is going to write it.

The Lead – is aimed to hook the editor and make them want to continue reading.

Once you’ve aroused the editor’s attention, move directly to a summary of the article.

Summary – This section should convince the editor that you know where you want to go with the article; it should outline the points you plan to cover or provide factual information about your topic – giving only enough to prove that your story is real.  Here you can mention your sources.  Tell the editor who’ll you’ll be talking to, and if experts are they on the cutting edge of today’s technology.  Also include here a working title for the article.  Don’t spend a lot of time trying to get a provocative headline, because titles are often changed by the editor before publication.

Author’s Bio – is where you sell yourself as a writer to the editor now that you’ve sold him/her on the idea.  Don’t be bashful; editors expect a bit of sell in the bio.  There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m highly qualified to write this article because…” if a convincing reason follows.  Start your bio with your publishing credits, and include magazines similar to the one you’re pitching if you can.


Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Happy New Year from Dr. Ande!!!

May 2012 be filled with lots of creativity, interviews, book sales, and publishing for you all!

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Create Your Own Market For Independent Books

There’s an estimated 3 million Independent authors worldwide. If these writers join forces the potential impact is staggering.

As of right now, the print-on-demand companies estimate that over 90% of their authors sell less than 30 books per year. The question is: how do you expand the position and exposure in the bookselling market and offer Independent authors an opportunity to sell more books?

The traditional brick and mortar marketplace has an established base of approximately 10,000 retail locations large enough to warrant the attention of major New York publishers. Unit sales of individual titles are in decline and some experts suggest readers are tired of the same old thing – the market lacks new authors and new titles.

Total book sales in all markets (excluding schools and textbooks) is estimated at around $20 billion dollars. One percent equals $200 million dollars. All that is required for Independent titles to capture this one percent in sales is to form an online market, a central location, totally independent from any established publishing entity. That new creation would allow the Independently published book to be shopped by readers from around the world. The potential increase in sales is dramatic. The key is the development of this community, a destination for readers interested in purchasing the finest Independently written and published books from around the world: A place where the potential for Independent writers would open up to the world.

The concept is to open the market for Independently written books and offer readers the opportunity to shop for new titles, never before seen by the public at large. One community, bringing voices never heard and stories never told to the world.

The biggest problem with selling more Independent books is that an individual cannot imitate what the bigger publishers do in a market they control. The best opportunity to sell more Independently published books is to create your own market. Big publishing houses don’t use the Internet to sell their books. Exploit their weaknesses, and help establish your own online destination for selling book(s).

It is not economically feasible to establish a brick and mortar presence for Independently published books. The hurdles to even the smallest market share is cost prohibitive. The best strategy is through the use of technology, the Internet, to create a combined web presence, a community, where writers can market themselves and their book(s).

The strength of the Independent writer and author is the combined size of the group. When we create the community and develop a following, the old adage “build it and they will come,” will ring true. Major New York publishers relish in the fact the market for Independent books is fragmented and floundering. The last thing they want to see is a joining of forces into one location where readers can shop for books. The creation of a single community of Independent authors would send shock waves throughout the business! Let’s create our own market and stop trying to break into theirs.

It’s free, and the first step toward total independence in the marketplace for bookselling.

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio

How to Find Web Writing Jobs

If you’ve decided that working as a WAHM writer is the best work at home job opportunity for you, then you’ll need to figure out how to get writing assignments. Fortunately, when you work as a web writer there is no shortage of job opportunities. It all depends on where you look and how much research you are willing to do.

Web writing can break down into several different categories. Before you begin looking for work, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to get credit for your writing. If you insist on byline, you may have difficulty finding a lot of paying jobs. Byline jobs are out there if you look. However, the most money to be made is from working as a web ghostwriter.

Many WAHMs find success with ghostwriting. When you work as a freelance ghostwriter you provide writing services for clients who will then use the work as their own. Ghostwriting as a WAHM is a lucrative opportunity, especially when you focus on web writing. For the most part, the Internet is a text and image based platform. Companies and individuals who run websites constantly need text to make their websites attractive to visitors. Since writing is something that a lot of people would rather not do, this leaves plenty of opportunities for people who love to write.

Web writing WAHM need only an Internet connection, e-mail address and word processing program to get started. Your own website is not necessary, but it adds a touch of professionalism to your writing business. However, when you are first starting out you can get plenty of work without having a website.

There are several different categories of web writing. When you see the term “content writing” you will normally be providing text for an existing or new website. Your writing will have to be engaging and clear for website visitors. Article writers concentrate on providing articles for websites, newsletters and blogs. Generally, articles for the web are between 400 and 800 words each. Any more than that is difficult for readers to sit through while looking at a computer screen. Copywriters are challenged with putting readers in the mood to buy. They write copy for Internet sales letters and marketing sites. Ebook ghostwriters provide clients with full-length books on a variety of topics.

WAHMs who write need to be professional in their online presence. This means spell-checking all writing, including e-mails to clients. It is also a good idea to get an e-mail address that is specifically used for your writing. A personal e-mail address with a goofy handle will make you seem unprofessional. Your first and last name or a combination thereof is a good choice for your web writing e-mail address.

Writing for the Internet has a few differences from writing essays in school or writing for print magazines. Readers online have short attention spans, and you’ll need to keep your sentences short and your paragraphs clear.

The other difference is the use of “keywords” in certain writing assignments. Keywords are words that have been selected by your client to be used in the article. These words have been selected because they are Internet search terms and your client wants their website to show up for those search terms. Keyword articles will need you to use the word or phrase a specific number of times in the article. Sometimes it can be difficult to use the words without making it sound forced. Experienced web writers have developed ways to make the keywords flow naturally into their articles.

Once you’ve gotten a few web writing assignments under your belt, you can decide what type of web writing suits you best. You can find work on writing message boards, freelance writing job sites and classified ad sites like Craigslist. Whenever you apply for a job, make sure to include your contact information and a few well-selected writing samples.

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio