This series has about run its course. In part one, we learned the elements of a media kit. Part two dealt with the news release. Part three covered one-sheets and author bios. We’ll finish the kit today with part four, author and book information.
So, we’ve already included a biography (actually, four biographies, plus a fun-fact sheet). What could possibly be left?
The Contact Sheet
You need a contact sheet. Here you should list your mailing address, phone number, email address, website and blog addresses, and all relevant social media links. Please be sure to use your name as often as possible in your links; remember, you are your brand. If you create, say, a Twitter account that’s the name of your book or one of your characters, you’ll need to do that for every new release. It might sound like a good idea for marketing, but by the time you get to your third book, or your fifth, or your tenth, you’ll be maintaining too many Twitter accounts. (And now consider that you’ll also probably want Facebook and Google Plus accounts, maybe even Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Multiply that first number times three or four or five—that’s way too many accounts to manage.)
So please, use your name and market yourself. You are your brand.
Also, it should go without saying, but none of these platforms should be social, or cutesy, names. “CatLover1995” might be cute, might even be more than accurate to define yourself, but it’s not professional—not as an email identity, not as a website title, not as a social media handle. You are more than a writer; you’re a business. IBM doesn’t have an Instagram account with the handle “PCsROCK”. Appropriate for them? Sure. Professional? Of course not. So please keep that in mind when you choose your names. If you’ve already got fun, casual names, create business accounts for yourself.
Don’t forget your voicemail recording. My cellphone greeting is fairly casual, but I wanted a professional-sounding one for business. There was no way I was purchasing a business line, though. So I registered for a free Google phone number. I was able to choose the area code I wanted (I chose a western Pennsylvania number because that’s my hometown and that’s where many of my works are set. It doesn’t matter in the slightest where I chose to “locate” my number, but if any western PA news writers decide to spotlight me or my work, I wanted the appearance of being tied to the area.) and I recorded my greeting as a professional author would. The best part is that the number will ring directly to my cellphone, so I don’t have to actually purchase additional equipment to have a second (professional) phone line.
Many reporters want more than your bio and book title when they write a spotlight on you. If you prepare a sheet of questions and answers about you and your book, they will be able to sprinkle relevant and interesting information into their article about you without waiting for your answers to their questions.
Preparing this information in advance means a lot of the leg work is done for the reporter, and anything you can do to make their job easier gives you a greater chance at getting quality coverage.
In addition to print coverage, sometimes you might be lucky enough to land a spot on a radio or television talk show. We all know hosts of these shows don’t have a lot of time and aren’t likely to read your work in advance of the interview. Even their assistants and producers probably won’t. You could leave the interview up to chance and answer the generic questions they ask everyone, or you could prepare your own questions so you can tailor the interview to your liking.
Doing so will give you a more interesting and thorough interview than other authors get, and the host and crew will appreciate having these questions to refer to. Don’t forget to have your answers prepared and practiced so you sound relaxed and avoid filler-sounds (um, uh, etc.).
In addition to the extra author information, you should include extra book information. The one-sheet will give interested parties a great starting point, but if you can provide more, you should. (Remember, the more information at a reporter’s or blogger’s disposal, the more likely you are to get coverage—especially targeted, relevant coverage.)
I include in my kits:
- Back Cover Copy
- Four Synopses
- Short—around 50 words
- Medium—around 100 words
- Long—up to 500 words
- Points of Interest about the Book’s Content or Storyline
- An Excerpt
- Graphic Teasers
- Bonus Content (this is optional and can be anything you think would be of interest to the audience and didn’t have a “place” anywhere else)
I would have included examples of the above content, but when I began this series, I promised you I’d provide a sample media kit for your review. All of the above content, as well as content from the other posts, can be found in this media kit sample. (Note that some of the information is old, because the news release and kit were developed in 2015 and I’ve not updated most of it, nor have I added it back to my site yet. Sorry! But remember, do as I say, not as I do. 😉 )
Once you’ve created your kit (or a kit for each work), the steps for including it/them are simple.
- Develop your kit in Word or Pages or PowerPoint… anything that will let you convert to a .PDF. (You want to save your media kit as a .PDF so no one can edit your content without your permission.)
- Create a “Media Kit” page on your site.
- Write an intro (if you’re so inclined, but the content is probably evident by the title of the page).
- Type the name of your book on the page.
- Upload your .PDF media kit file and copy the URL.
- Hyperlink your kit file to the name you just typed on your new page. (Repeat steps 4-6 for each work/kit you have.)
- Save and publish your page. (Be sure to include relevant tags/categories for SEO.)
- Add the page title to your site menu.
That’s all there is to it. Easy-peasy. Now you have a kit or kits added to your site. The hardest part of all of it is taking the time to assemble it all.
I hope you found this series of posts helpful. If you have any questions, just let me know.