Are You Missing an Essential Weapon in Your Book Promotion Arsenal?
Any self published author promoting a novel, self-help or non fiction title knows that, after the work of writing, the real work comes when you’re marketing your book. You are undoubtedly (or should be) contacting book blogs, professional reviewers, Amazon Top Reviewers and the traditional press in hopes of getting a mention or a review. Those bloggers are just as busy as you are, and if they have to hunt around for information about your book, they’re less likely to bother.
You Need to Create A Handy Press Kit That You Can Easily Send to Potential Contacts
Information about you and your book should be readily accessible so that any information a blogger, retailer, event planner or reporter needs is handy. Below are the 10 essential elements of any press kit (sometimes called media kit – they are the same thing.)
What should your press kit contain?
The following are the minimum that bloggers and reviewers will expect from a professional author (like you.)
1) Author Bio and Contact Information
If you don’t already have an author bio, start working on one. You’ll need it for your website, for guest posts and to give potential marketing outlets an idea of who you are. Your author bio should be about 300 words, and it should contain both mundane information like the books you’ve written and where you’re from, and more distinctive tidbits that make you sound interesting. Include:
- Your name
- Your contact information
- Your place of birth or where you currently live
- What you do (or used to do) for a living
- Anything you’ve written (including the current book you’re promoting)
- Your education (if that is relevant)
- Any quirky hobbies, interesting experiences or unusual aspects of you. Essentially, anything that will make you stand out.
2) Press Release
A press release highlights the unveiling of your new book. It should be brief (around 250 to 350 words). Include any newsworthy information that is newsworthy about you or your book (“news” can be as simple as the fact that you’re a first time author or a former veterinarian or that this is the 6th book in a series.) Make sure it has links to the sites the book is sold on and to your website. And make sure it repeats your contact information.
3) A Book Summary
For those who want to quickly understand your book or don’t want to write their own blurb, include a short (75 to 150 words) synopsis of your book. This doesn’t have to be a chapter-by-chapter rundown of the plot. It can give a few tantalizing facts that highlight some of the issues and characters in your book, but leave the reader wanting to know more. For example:
When Lucille arrived in New York as a young college student, she never imagined that the handsome history professor who gave her B’s would wind up changing her life. Ten years after graduation, Lucille is a happily married reporter for a popular news magazine, assigned to cover a story about a series of rapes on a local university campus. What she finds out about the crimes will lead her back into the past, and will change her future forever.
4) Points of Interest List
A bulleted list of 5 to 10 interesting facts about the book’s story. If you’re promoting a novel or other fiction, facts about where the story takes place, who the main characters are, genre. If your book is non-fiction, list the salient points and how they relate to a topic of general interest.
5) Sample Author Q&A
- What is your writing process?
- Do you have another author that is a major influence?
- Tell us more about your main character (for fiction)
- Is there a famous book you wish you had written? Why?
- How does (INSERT LIFE EXPERIENCE OR BACKGROUND FACT) influence your writing?
- Who do you expect will read this book? Did you have a specific type of reader in mind when you wrote it?
- What is one piece of advice you’d give a new author, just starting out?
- Does this book shed new light on (INSERT ISSUE OR GENRE HERE)?
6) Details About Your Book
- Your book’s ASIN number and publication date
- Links to your book on EVERY SITE where it is sold
- Links to your author website
- Your social media profiles, including your Amazon and Goodreads author pages
- Links to your book trailer (if you have one)
- Links to any reviews you’ve already gotten for the book
- Links to a free download of part of your book (if applicable)
Even though these will probably be available on your website, include high resolution images of the book’s cover and of you. ALSO include thumbnail size photos of both, so that a blogger or reviewer or reporter can easily find an image in the right size, without having to re-size images.
Book awards or awards in your industry.
9) Media References
Links to coverage you’ve already gotten in the press or on book blogs, with particularly flattering quotes highlighted.
10) Contact Information
Even though your social media profiles and website address are already included, make sure your direct email address and other contact information are prominently placed. You don’t want to make sure journalists can find you easily!
A Word About Placement and Formats
PDF files are generally preferred. You should have copies of each element of your press kit on your website, as well as a zip file that contains all of the elements that you can easily email.
Non-Fiction: Michael Hyatt’s press kit for his book, Platform
Fiction: Romance author Laurel O’Donnell has one page on her website where the media kits for all of her books can be found.
Creatspace has several pages devoted to press kits for authors, as well as how to write effective author bios and book descriptions.
Joel Friendlander’s The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide covers media kits as well as almost every other topic you need to know about if you’re self publishing. $7.99
Friedlander also sells press kit templates for $97.00.