Press kits are an essential element of book marketing. Oftentimes you must be ready to provide your kit at a moment’s notice to anyone who’s interested in your work. Press kit requests are typically made by journalists and bloggers as well as reviewers, editors and book clubs. It’s also a good idea to have press kits available to give out at book signing events, book launches, speaking engagements and book fairs.
What is a Press Kit?
When it comes to book marketing, you want to make sure that all of your pertinent information is available and easily accessible from a single location. That’s essentially what a press kit is – a packet of information about a particular author. Press kits can be maintained manually or digitally; your distribution objective will determine the type that you use (having both is ideal). Digital press kits are typically hosted on websites or blogs whose URLs can be shared through email or by posting on any social media platform. Though press kits vary in context and appearance, in general they include basic information about you, your contact information, recent projects, events and the like. When running a robust book marketing campaign, having a press kit on hand will help you maintain a professional image.
What Should Be Included in a Press Kit?
The right press kit must have everything a book blogger, editor, reporter, reviewer or interviewer of any sort might need to know about you and your literary career. Here’s a list of items that you should include in your kit:
- Biography and Contact Information
Your biography should be short, memorable and to the point. It should have all the points that make you interesting, unique and professional. It should include your name, place of birth, what you do (or used to do) for a living, books you’ve written, quirky hobbies, interesting experiences – basically anything that will make you stand out. Don’t forget to include your contact information (including social media accounts) and your agent, if applicable.
- Book Description
If you’re promoting a new book, your kit should contain a page of information about it. This includes basic information like the full title, publisher, date published, formats the book is available in and ISBN, to name a few. You can also include a picture of the cover of your book to add visual interest, as well as excerpts of your book. Some people refer to this page as the “sell sheet”.
- Press Release
Your press release should be written in the style of a news piece. Talk about your book and what makes it different from other books in your genre. But try to avoid including unnecessary marketing hype. It should be short and concise – one page should do. If you have upcoming events, it might be a good idea to omit them from your press kit press release. Doing so will keep you from having to continuously re-edit your kit to keep it timely.
- Sample Author Q & A
Make a list of interview questions (and responses) about you and your book. Sample questions can include:
- What made you decide to become an author?
- What inspired you to write the book?
- Why did you choose to self-publish?
- What is your writing style?
- What are your future projects?
Your sample Q & A is what reviewers and bloggers will refer to when writing about you and your book. Therefore make sure that the questions and responses are useful and relevant.
- Reviews and Awards Won
Your press kit should also include editorial reviews, testimonials, a list of any awards won and a list of past press mentions. If you don’t have any awards or honorable mentions under your belt, consider at least finding a few notable individuals to endorse your book. Second-party feedback is an excellent way to gain credibility for yourself and your work.
Including a photo of yourself isn’t essential, but having one creates a visual impact that adds a level of personalization. Preferably, your image should be a high-resolution, professional-looking headshot that people can print as well as a low-resolution photo for online purposes.
- Promotional Materials
Boost your book marketing efforts by adding promotional materials to your press kit. The most typical promotional materials are bookmarks and postcards. One side of the bookmark/postcard can contain the cover of your book and the other side is where you’ll include your book’s information.
To enhance your book marketing efforts, you should have at your disposal a press kit that contains everything you think the world might want to learn about you and the books you’ve written. The information in your kit can be maintained in a PDF document for easy printing, sharing or emailing. And don’t be shy about sending your media kit out. Make it available to as many people as you deem necessary for meeting your book marketing goals.