Self-Publishing: The Press Kit
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Press kits are essential for publicizing your book and they can be fun to create. The minimum information it should contain is author bio and contact information, a one page press release that includes newsworthy information, a sample author Q & A, and specific information on your book.
It used to be a hard and fast rule that press kits were printed and mailed. I still subscribe to that version for sending to boutique bookstores, targets that don’t readily make their email available. (Yes, some people still use snail mail), or places you would like to send bookmarks, business card or other novelties. When I ran a bookstore I was a complete sap for stuff people sent me. (For future reference, I prefer pens with a logo or post-it pads.)
To the rest, a press kit may be sent via email or even message if available to you. Of course, this means no pens, no pads. And no bookmarks or signs, the target isn’t going to print out your marketing materials for their counter. If they are interested, you can send them later.
Let’s break the press kit down. First, there is the author bio (about 200 words). You should already have one by this point but it might need a little freshening up. Your own little who, what, when, where, and how to reach. I like the idea of contact information being in a box at the upper right hand of the page. Remember you can use portrait or landscape orientation on the press kit.
A sample Question and Answer section gives the recipient information they might ask if interviewing you. Between the bio and the Q/A, they could work up quite the article for their publication or blog. Of course it would be nice if they let you know ahead of completion so you can take a look.
Oh, and pictures. The front cover is an absolute MUST! If you want to and there is space, you may add your own picture.
If there is specific information about your book, a testimonial from a respected writing source, a particular audience if might appeal to, statistics on sales already, then include them as bullet points to grab the recipient’s attention.
There is a mixed bag of opinions about whether to include past and future works. I know I would want them to see books I have published as well as a nod to my next masterpiece. But then, that’s me. You might decide differently.
Your personal style will determine the finished product. Be sure to check Pinterest and articles on press kits to see different formats and even templates.
Press kits will garner you attention in the writing world. They will expand your potential sales and make others aware that you are out there pounding the keys. And don’t forget to keep pounding the keys.
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