Press Kits

I'm about to self-publish a book and an author friend suggested I put together a press kit. (And when I say suggested, I mean strongly insisted that I had to have one.) So what exactly is a press kit? How do I make one? Where do I send it? Do I post it on my website? Help!

A press kit is simply a collection of information about you and your book that provides everything newspapers and other media (TV, radio interviewers. bloggers. etc.) need to do a story on you. And for those of you who think you don't need to know this because you're going traditional publishing—guess again. Many publishers will ask you to send them the meat for the press kit.

It doesn't have to be super fancy or elaborate—although, if you want to go that route, have at it. But seriously, unless you're hitting the national market big time, a simple kit is the best way to go.

Okay. Here's what I need to include in a press kit:
  • Cover letter—the content of this is similar to what you'd put in your query letter, but instead of asking them to publish you, you're asking them to write an article about you. Include a list of everything included in your kit at the bottom of the letter.
  • Author biography—Limit yourself to one page.
  • Press Release—one page. Write an article about yourself and your book. Some papers will publish this verbatim, under their own byline. That's okay. Don't get chapped over it
  • Book Bio—Usually the liner notes.
  • Personal Photo—current. I usually send the one used on/in the book. Black and white, and color (depending on where you're sending it). Suitable for printing; that means 5x7, color, 300 dpi.
  • Book cover art—suitable for printing; that means 6x9, color, 300 dpi.
  • Postcard &/or brochure—whatever marketing piece you've created for your book.
  • Business Card.
  • Endorsements—this would be author endorsements that are on your book cover, excerpts from other reviews.
  • Question & Answer Sheet—one page.
  • Book—if it's for a review.
Now, you may be thinking, Holy Overkill, Batman! But it's really not. I usually put in a printed copy of the cover letter and the press release, then burn the rest on a CD. This makes it really easy for them to cut & paste whatever information they want to use. (Use Microsoft Word for your documents because almost everyone has that.)

Print in large, clear type on your CD label: Title, author, contact information. For example:
Jane's Best Seller Media Kit
Jane Doe, Author
LDSP Publishing
(123) 456-7890

You can see more information on this HERE and HERE.

Many authors and/or publishers include this information on their website. For example, Shadow Mountain has online info on a lot of their titles, like The 13th Reality, Vol. 1: Journal of Curious Letters.

I googled "Author Media Kits" and found a good one: Karen Rose (I know nothing about this author, other than I found her site and it's a great example of what to include.)

Authors, if you have an online media kit that you'd like to share, please post the link in the comments section.


Jordan McCollum said...

I was going to ask about the question and answer sheet, but the first "HERE" link explains what that is (it's about the author and why s/he wrote the book).

So I'll ask about this: I've seen some book websites (and sometimes published books) with kits for book clubs—everything from discussion questions to activities to refreshment ideas. What makes for a "good" book club kit?

Haley Hatch Freeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Haley Hatch Freeman said...

I have actually been working on my media kit and I'm about finished. It was great to go down your check list to see what I can add.
Thanks for this post!