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Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Marketing: Your Online Press Kit

By Joel Friedlander
 
When you’re launching and marketing your book it can be essential to get attention from the media. It may be big media, niche market media, trade magazines, book reviewers, book bloggers, talent bookers or any number of other representatives of print, electronic, or broadcast media.

It’s your job to make their job easy.

There are many times you’ll want to send information to media contacts. It’s become common for authors to maintain their own media kit on their website, on the site for their book, or on their blog.

It makes sense. You can point inquiries to your Press or Media page, and make available lots of information to make it easy for busy reviewers, editors, reporters or researchers to get basic information on their own schedule.

I’ve been putting together a media kit for A Self-Publisher’s Companion, and studying some of the others I’ve found online.

1. For instance, Tim Ferris of The 4-Hour Workweek fame, has a full media kit with press release, book summary and sample interview questions. He also has a large assortment of photos of Tim Ferris to choose from.

2. My doctor Marty Rossman just published a book with Crown, a major trade publisher. I took a look at his site for his new book The Worry Solution. In addition to photos of the author and a bio, this page is heavily weighted toward interviews. It features extensive sample subjects for 8 different interviews, and a list of 15 possible interview questions.

3. Seth Godin’s new publishing venture, The Domino Project, has, as you might expect, a robust Press page with excerpts, Q&As, and press releases for the enterprise as a whole and each title. Their media kit is a bold and effective 9-page PDF that tells the story of Domino in a compelling style.

4. For a self-published author with a lot of experience I took a look at Susan Daffron’s Publishize Press Page. Note that well after publication Susan went back to add awards her book had won so the press page was kept up to date and effective as a tool to sell her book.

What to Include in your Online Press Kit

You can get creative with your press kit, but keep in mind that reviewers will expect certain elements. These include:

 A press release, usually the one you write for the book’s launch.

 Author bio, including previous publications and qualifications to write the book. Include author’s platform information.

 Author photo, and it’s smart to include high-resolution files for print and low-resolution for online use.

 Book photo, with the same resolutions as the author photo.

Many other items can and are added, but keep in mind that throwing more information at people is not always a good strategy to get them to pay attention to your message. Some great additions might be:

 Sample review. These can be very helpful to writers who are in a time crunch, and who isn’t?

 Sample chapter

 Interview questions

 Photos that can be used in a story about the book or its subject

 Reprints or transcripts of interviews about the book

 Testimonials from early readers with authority or celebrity

The easiest way to make your press kit available is to put all the documents into a PDF or a ZIP file and put a download link to the file on your book’s Press or Media page. This page works best when it’s in your navigation, or you provide a link on the home page of your site. The idea is to make it easy to find.

I was surprised to find that a number of writers with books out right now didn’t seem to have a press kit at all. Or it may have been that it was really, really hard to find.

Since we rely on publicity and spreading the word about our work through other people’s networks, it makes sense to me to make sure your press kit is obvious and easy to download.
Joel Friedlander is a self-published author, a book designer and blogs about book design, self-publishing and the indie publishing life at TheBookDesigner.com. He's also the proprietor of Marin Bookworks, where he helps publishers and authors who decide to publish get to market on time and on budget with books that are both properly constructed and beautiful to read.

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