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Friday, March 23, 2007

Brief Anatomy of a Press Release

A Press Release can be anything from a simple ad for your website, company, product or service. Basically, in writer's terms, it's a short newsworthy blurb of a couple paragraphs or more. Like a flash fiction contest, you're going to have to trim the filler to get to the main course -- a scrumptious, bite-sized piece that's easy to digest. So, let's examine the ingredients:

Headline (Title):
A short, snappy, relevant headline that grabs the reader's attention.

A brief paragraph, or blurb that tells a story at a glance and makes the reader want to dive in.

This is the content of your press release -- the main course. The points you want your reader to digest, eat up, and have an appetite for more! The sole purpose of the content is to attract an editor's attention (much like a query). Keep it succinct. Don't ramble. Your goal is to garner a feature article, story, or simply get an editor to publish your material. (Note: most press releases -- even web -- have the city and state listed first, then the date of the release.)

Contact Info:
How should an editor contact you if they wish to acquire additional information? That's what you need to include here. Don't forget your name, email, and website address! (Note: This information can be placed before the headline, or afterward)


Here's an example of a Press Release that Beryl wrote for our current issue:


Beryl Hall Bray and Angela Miyuki Mackintosh
Editors, WOW! Women On Writing

An Extraordinary Find for the Literate

Summary: Enjoy and explore the wonderful world of publishing, access rare, important interviews with Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, Ann Moore/Time Inc., Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins and other informative articles.

Anaheim, CA -- March 5, 2007 -- Everyone from NY publishers, through editors, agents, and authors on to readers will unearth something of interest in the latest issue of WOW! Women On Writing? Why? Because The Big House issue has rare interviews with three of the top women in the publishing world, giving us insights into the empire affecting the very books on booksellers’ shelves--that feed our hearts and minds.

These articles afford us an unexpected glimpse into remarkable, professional, successful women who garner the cream of the crop in the literary world: Ann Moore/Time Inc., Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, and Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins.

But, there is more. The feature Deconstructing the Big House was meticulously researched--clearly laying out how the big six publishing entities are set up. It makes it easy to identify the niches, the specialties, of various publishers, within the hierarchies.

This article describes the big houses, Who they are, What they own, Where they are located, When they merged, and Why they do what they do. The Big Six List contains tons of useful links for aspiring authors and readers who wish to discover different publishers to locate more of their favorite genre.

WOW! has been consistent in interviewing award-winning notables from the world of writing, while becoming a showcase for up and coming new talent. The three interviews, the overview of the Big House, other articles and columns make this an excellent resource for learning more about your literary world.



  • Include a compelling, but relevant headline
  • Keep it brief
  • Don't make any wild claims or exaggerations
  • Don't send out a press release just because you want to create traffic -- make sure that you have interesting material to submit to the press
  • Keep it under 500 words
  • Proof read
  • For web -- include links back to your website within the press release body if appropriate, and of course, in your contact details.
Including your link within your press release body and contact details will help you get picked up by search engines when submitting to press release distribution services. This is a handy way of creating internet buzz!

For your reference, here are some free press release sites:
(Note: some require a sign-up)

**We do not endorse these sites, but provide them for informational purposes only. Please read all of their guidelines and terms before submitting.

These sites provide great general press release distribution, but for specific content, such as advertising your book, new writer's website, or writing service, we suggest that you submit directly to publications that you wish to garner interviews, buzz, or articles with. Targeting your PR is much more effective. Just be sure to make your press release enticing, as you would a query, and you'll be sure to get some well-earned buzz. Good luck!