The Press Kit. Probably one of the most important things that need to be created for your book to achieve success (besides the book itself). I will be going through the ins and outs of creating one in this post. But first, what is a Press Kit and why do you need one?
What is a Press Kit?
-> A press kit is a succinct and compact kit that provides media sources with all the details they would ever need to know about your up and coming bestseller. It will provide more information about you, your book, and the specifics of everything book wise.
Why do you need one?
-> In the age of increased competition for books, its essential to have one. Not having one will result in dismal sales and overall the flop of your book and most likely your ambition to write more. To show the validity of your novel and also it will serve as a great piece of marketing literature for anything you want to do later on in promoting your novel.
So, what is in a Media Press Kit?
-> A few things. (A) A Cover Letter, (B) Press Release, (C) Author Biography, (D) Photograph of yourself, (E) Spec Sheet, (F) Order Form, (G) Writing Reviews, (H) Business Cards, (I) Question and Answer Sheet), (J), Mock Book Review, (K) A COPY OF YOUR BOOK!!!
(A) The Cover Letter
-> Should be brief and enticing. In this, tell what the book is about, when the publication date is, and why it is of interest to each specific person’s audience you are sending it to. Explain any promotional and advertising plans. Do you have any special qualifications as an author? List them! Make sure you start off with a riveting opening line so that it hooks the attention. Like resume cover letters, there is a general template for creating this. Here is what I did. 1st paragraph = selling your story. 2nd paragraph = What are your goals in writing your piece? Who are you planning on attracting with your book? Hit those audience demographics. 3rd paragraph = When is publication? Where is book launch party? What are you doing for marketing with it? Do you have a book tour established? All these questions should be answered here. 4th paragraph = Prompt them to return the form you should have included with your kit. This will weed out the people who want the book and who don’t. Also, it should save money on shipping out books for them not to be read.
(B) Press Release
-> It should be no longer than 2 pages double-spaced. But, the shorter the better. You want to create a buzz about your fiction by creating an interest gathering headline, a little bit about you, and a little bit about your book. You may also want to tell a little story about how you came up with the idea for your story.
-> At top or bottom of page list the specs of the book (title of book, name of author, cost, amount of pages, ISBN, contact information including phone and email, website address) I did this in using a table in microsoft office word.
-> It may also be a good idea to include the back-cover blurb in this. Tell them why your book is essential for them to review and buy. You need to have a point of difference! What is your book’s PoD? There should be something here, how else can you separate yourself from the competition. Expand on this in here as well. End with a paragraph on how they can reach you and a link to your website so you can start driving traffic there.
(C) – (G) Fiction Author Brochure
-> Okay, so you can decide to do all of these things separately. However, I highly recommend you create a fiction author brochure and you include all of C-G (mentioned above) in it. Here’s how you do it. I did a tri-fold. So a tri-fold has 6 total pages. Let’s go through each one of them.
-> 1st page = cover of the book. Name of publishing company (if you created one). List your website address.
-> 2nd Page = Back cover blurb of the book. Also, depending on how much space you have left after this, I included my spec sheet again. So here is where I would talk about pricing, trim size, page count for softcover and hardcover if you know that all. Publication date. Publisher. Distributor.
-> 3rd Page = Author biography and below it your Author Profile Pic. That should take up the whole page. Now, what should you include in the biography? Well, whatever you plan on putting at the end of your book but somethings you could touch on is what kind of things you are involved in (are you involved in any writing circles?), have you done anything remarkable, also the last sentence should look something like this “To stay in touch with Michael and receive updates and exclusion content not featured elsewhere, signup at (website stuff in here). And don’t forget to follow him on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/michaelethies” This will help build up your twitter following, Facebook following, whatever social media you plan on putting at the end of the sentence. But, it’s a call of action. And it’s very powerful if done right.
-> 4th page (rightmost side of inside of brochure) = Order form. Put a check box here with a few options for the person to check off and return to you. Have check boxes next to each of these below.
* We expect to review this book in: ___________ on Approximately: ________________, 20___.
* We are considering the following subsidiary rights on this title: (leave space for them)
* We are considering stocking/adopting this title.
* Please send a photo of the book.
* Please send a photo of the author.
* Sorry, we didn’t find this book suitable for our needs.
After that include a place for them to write in their name, their occupation title, where they work, their email, and their complete address. Also, have at the bottom the address where you will be receiving all of your publication information so that you can keep in contact with them.
-> 5th page (leftmost backside page) = Leave blank. There is no point to have anything on this page because they will be ripping it off and sending it back to you. If you did want something to put in here when you get more book reviews that will fill up your last page (the back cover) then put in a variety of ways that someone can help you promote your book. Here is what I put!
“It would be a fantastic help if you could utilize some of these suggestions to help promote the book.
• Buy the book on amazon.com
• Post a five-star review on amazon.com
• Call your local bookstore and ask for my book
• Ask for the book when you’re at local bookstore
• Follow me on Twitter (search: michaelethies)
• Like on Facebook (search: Guardian of the Core)
• Connect with me on LinkedIn (search: Mike Thies)
• Blog about my book; be sure to include a link to http://www.guardianofthecore.com
• Interview me on your blog”
-> 6th page (last panel) = Writing reviews. Get some reviews from your friends, get reviews from teachers, anyone! This will start out small, but as soon as you get more you can keep updating this. So the very first things people will see when they get this brochure will be the Cover Photo and Reviews about your book. PERFECT!!!
(H) Business Cards
-> If you don’t have some made, make some up for yourself and your book. If you have a publishing company like me, then make some with your logo and publishing company info on it. Otherwise, if it’s just you and the book, provide the cover image of your book (if applicable) but definitely your contact info and try to make it look as professional as possible.
(I) Question and Answer Sheet
-> What do you need this for? So that they already have the answers to some of the questions they would need to ask you to publish anything about you. The people you are trying to reach are very busy. So, be courteous and have all of these questions already answered for them. They don’t have time to actually interview you. With that being said, here are the questions you should answer.
1) Why did you write this book?
2) How did you become interested in the topic?
3) What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your book?
4) Who is your intended readership?
5) When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
6) How did you research your book?
7) What surprised you about the process of writing your book?
8) What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
9) Are you working on another book?
(J), Mock Book Review
-> This is simply a book review that you write. Many reviews are too busy to read your book carefully. So a mock review helps them out. So they can simply just take some passages from it and use that.
(K) Copy of Your Book
-> Pretty self explanatory but yeah, just make sure you have a copy of your book along with it. What that order form is doing up above is making sure you get advanced notice of any reviews coming your way so that you can look for them. It is not an order form saying, “Oh I want to review this book” You can screen out and qualify people through the sending of PDF formatted Galley Copies and save the hard galley copies for the “important” reviewers, the ones with more reach than the others. This will cut down on expenses.
Alright, and there you have it. Your own media press kit. Good luck in creating it. Have fun with it to. It’s a blast and a nice project. If you have questions leave a comment and I will try to answer them as promptly as I can.