What Your Author Website is Likely Missing

BlogHi, SEers. Forgive me for being a hypocrite, but today’s post is going to be a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do post. Remember, I used to work in corporate communications, so I know marketing strategies. (That doesn’t mean I use them myself; it just means I know them.)

Okay… Unless you literally just decided to become an author today, you almost definitely have an author website. Hopefully you’ve included the basics:

  • landing page to advertise news and collect email addresses
  • blog to share content, generate interest, and remain fresh in the minds of your fans
  • book pages so your work is well-defined and easy to find
  • about page to introduce yourself to new visitors
  • social media links so people can find you elsewhere online
  • contact page so your readers can reach you
  • platform-wide cohesion and pleasing design

Many authors stop there. Okay, let’s be honest—many readers fall short in some/most/all of those categories.

  • Their landing pages don’t have clear calls to action (CTAs).
  • They don’t update their blog regularly.
  • They don’t have book pages or the pages are hard to find, messy, and missing information.
  • They skip the about the author section because of privacy concerns.
  • They forget to have social media links listed, or they neglect other social media platforms entirely.
  • They don’t provide readers with a way to get in touch.
  • They haven’t established a visual identity, and/or their web design is ugly or hard to navigate.

If you need to work on one or more of these areas, you can deal with them rather quickly (except maybe the last one, which could take considerable time and effort, particularly if you aren’t comfortable with graphic design).

But there’s one thing your site is probably missing, and that’s a great detriment to you.

A media kit.

Hypocritical Disclaimer:

For the record, I used to have media kits for each book on my site. I decided to make some changes to them, though, so I pulled them down. But I never found the time to revise them. Shame on me, because these are excellent tools to have available. I will show you one of my old kits when this series of posts is over. (Yep, sorry. This is a huge topic, so it’s going to require more than one post, and I don’t want you to get ahead of the conversation.)

The number one marketing tool at your disposal is your website. The number two tool is a media kit. Websites are where people go to learn about you, but once there, the media kit is what they really want or need.

If you are traditionally published or have the money to hire a publicist (try not to laugh too hard there), you may have had a kit put together for you. (Note the word may there. Publishers are doing less and less for authors these days, so you might be on your own, anyway.) If you haven’t had one prepared and uploaded already, you need to get it on your site. Self-published authors, you wear all the hats in the business, including that of marketer, so you’ll have to compile this information on your own.

You might be wondering why. After all, you’ve gone this long without one and haven’t noticed any negative effects.

Well, you can’t notice what isn’t there—in this case, public interest. If you want to generate awareness, then trust me; you want a kit.

NewsWhy? For starters, they help sell you to agents, editors, and news reporters. Even if you aren’t looking to go the traditional route, you will want publicity. A website is essential, but busy professionals aren’t going to navigate your three layers of menus and click on thirteen different links to find what they want—if they find it at all. No, your site is for fans who can explore at their leisure. Your kit is for the industry. The more you can expedite information retrieval, the more likely you are to get exposure.

Media kits are also useful for your fans. These are the people looking for all the information they can get about you. They’ll have looked over your site, but they may want even more. Perhaps discussion questions for book clubs or tweetables to make sharing their love of your work easier.

Finally, media kits give you an air of professionalism and credibility that will give you a leg up over other writers when you’re hoping to secure an interview or article with other organizations. Consider your website to be a resume and your media kit to be a portfolio. You apply for a job with a resume, and if it’s good enough to land you an interview, they’re going to want to see your portfolio. This correlates to media placements. Interested journalists or bloggers might assess your website to see what you and your work are about, but it’s the centralized collection of information in your kit that helps you seal the deal.

Reporters

Okay, I admit. It was one reporter, not the whole press corp. 🙂

I can personally attest to the fact that my media kit garnered the attention of a news reporter in my hometown when I released Type and Cross, so I speak from experience. Without the kit, the information would have been scattered online and the reporter likely wouldn’t have bothered to contact me because she probably wouldn’t have taken the time to read all the different pages on my site.

If you weren’t already convinced of the importance of media kits before, I hope you are now. But how do you go about creating a media kit? What goes in them?

Remember, this is your portfolio… the thing that proves your book is worth people’s time. There are certain elements that are crucial, others that are gravy. How exactly you assemble the kit is up to you, but getting this information in there in one way or another is vital to having a successful kit.

Elements of a Media Kit
  • news release
  • book one-sheet
  • author info
  • bio (yes, that’s a separate section)
    • published works
    • future works
    • awards
    • organizations
  • contact information
  • author Q&As
  • interview questions
  • book details and purchase information
    • synopsis
    • book FYIs
    • book excerpt
    • purchase links
    • reviews
    • book cover and blurb
    • teasers

I’m about out of time, so I’ll begin to cover the specifics the next time I post (if you’re interested).

In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Do you have a media kit on your site? Now that we touched on the basics, do you see the need? Let’s talk about it.

Staci Troilo

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99 thoughts on “What Your Author Website is Likely Missing

  1. Pingback: Author Media Kit, Part 4—Author and Book Information | Story Empire

  2. I heard of media kits when I self-published my book. Outskirts Press, who I don’t recommend, offered it for a chunk of money. Their other promotions didn’t pay off, so I didn’t look into it. I’m going to follow your recommendations. With my business and finance background, I should’ve created one already. I have all the components. I just have to figure out where to put it. How about as one of the links on the top of my WordPress page? I have a WIX website but I hate it and stopped using it. Another thing on my list to worry about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, you can definitely create one on your own. You don’t need to hire it out. They’re actually pretty easy. Perhaps a little time consuming, but easy. (And yes, a tab in your website menu would be just fine.)

      I have one or two more posts to make to complete the kit. (The number of remaining posts depends on how long the next post runs—can I do it in one or two? I want to be thorough.) You’ve got time to get your materials together.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Author Media Kits ~ Story Empire – Joan Hall

  4. Pingback: Friday Roundup – 31st March | Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

  5. Pingback: What Your Author Website is Likely Missing – donnalouisaz

  6. Om, my goodness! I will hide my head in the sand as an ostrich. I am guilt of many things mentioned here!
    Thanks for this excellent post, Staci. I bookmarked the page.
    Carmen

    Liked by 3 people

    • Don’t hide! It’s okay. Consider this a checklist to get you started, and work through the points one at a time until you’ve conquered all the items. You’ll get it all done.

      I’m glad you found the post useful. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Great post, Staci! And yes, please, more detail on each element of a media kit. Just went to a writers’ workshop given by a freelance publicist. Granted, she has contacts in the media world, but so much of the stuff an author could do on her own. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • All authors, but especially indie authors, need to take a good hard look at their abilities and their budgets and be honest with themselves. What can they do on their own, and what needs to be outsourced? I work part time as a freelance editor, yet I don’t edit my own work. (Well, I do, but I still send it out to an editor afterward.) Editing is one of those services that I firmly believe requires fresh eyes. And I don’t recommend people create their own covers unless they have design experience. But you’re right, there are things we can do on our own that would save us money, and I think a media kit is one of those things. I’ll go into more detail on my next post. But know this… you can do it!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. These are all great, Staci. I was shaking my head yes to all of them until you got to the Media Kit and I have to confess that I don’t have one. Deep sigh…added to my long list of things to keep doing to stay current. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, that one seems to be the one that trips up most of us. I see your deep sigh and raise you slumped shoulders. 🙂 (Man, if it was as easy as gambling, I think I’d just go all in and see where my chips took me. Maybe I’d win enough to hire someone to do these things for me!)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lyrical Press used to put together media kits for their authors when I first signed with them, so somewhere on my hard drive I have kits for my first two books (which need updating I’m sure). Since then I’ve been on my own to do handle this and it’s something I completely overlooked. This is a wonderful reminder, and I’m something I’m going to add to my to-do list.

    Excellent post and topic, Staci. Shared on my blog.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Mae. When I worked for Oghma Creative Media, I created media kits for the authors. I created some of my own, too. Now that I’m on my own, I need to update my kits and get them back on my site. (Like I said, do as I say, not as I do. LOL)

      Thanks for sharing on your site.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Are You Missing Out? | From the Pen of Mae Clair

  11. Pingback: What Your Author Website is Likely Missing, Pt. 1

  12. Absolutely. I’ve been meaning to put together a media kit for some time now. For my last signing I did send out press releases (per my pub’s urging), but it felt odd. Maybe if my last name was Patterson or King it’d feel more natural. 😀 Looking forward to this series, Staci. I’m determined to get a media kit on my site. Thank you!

    Liked by 5 people

    • It does feel kind of surreal the first time or two you write a news release, but remember, you’re probably not sending it to the New York Times like King or Patterson would. (Okay, let’s be honest. They aren’t sending anything anywhere. Their publicists or publishers are.) But a release to your local paper, or a paper where your story is set, can go a long way toward getting you media exposure… particularly if you have a media kit on your site for reporters and bloggers to pull from.

      I’m glad you found this post useful. Part two is coming!

      Liked by 3 people

  13. So much to learn. I’ve seen links on different author’s sites, but have never thought to do one of my own. So much to learn as an author this day and age. Thanks for another informative post.

    Shared this on my site.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Pingback: What Your Author Website is Likely Missing | Story Empire – Joan Hall

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