A few weeks ago, I suggested spending more time connecting with book readers and not just online with other authors. Readers hang out at libraries, bookstores, and book expos. They look for possible reading material from podcasts and articles in local newspapers. To make these connections it helps to have a press kit.
Why a press kit? It’s very simple – you look more professional, prepared, and organized. But it’s also easier for the recipient when key information is compiled in a single, accessible location. Instead of pitching your book, which is done when you are querying, you are pitching yourself, the author. You’re essentially asking platforms with a market, whether that be a blogger, podcaster, or even library, to work with you.
Let’s compile the components of your press kit.
I know I just said you are pitching yourself and not the book, but you still need to let people know what the book is about. So, that means a book blurb because everyone will want to know what your book is about. A blogger or podcast will use pass on information about your book to their audience using your book blurb. Remember, I said to make the process easier to the people you are pitching. It helps them talk about your book.
The good thing is that you already have a book blurb. It’s the back cover of your book. It’s also helpful to come up with a catchy tag line as the header of your book blurb. Some of these platforms will even use your tag line to in their promos. Here is an example of a tag line which I am using for my soon to be released novel, Deep Into The Weeds.
A lot can happen in the middle of nowhere!
Apply the same approach to your author bio. I like to go with two sizes. 1) a few lines to capture your professional identity, and 3) a few paragraphs to capture your career.
This gives a media outlet flexibility in designing their marketing material. Some may want to use a few lines about yourself on their homepage with a headshot and post your fuller bio in the space where you’re featured. Again, giving options helps the media outlet create the best promo. Here is my short and long bio as examples.
Willie Handler is a satirist as well as an author who is just released his third novel, a black comedy, Deep Into The Weeds.
Willie Handler is a satirist as well as an author. Hailing from Canada, where self-deprecating humor is part of the national character, he finds targets for his humor everywhere. His targets include friends, family, co-workers, politicians, farmers, subway passengers, bureaucrats, telemarketers, Martians and his barber, Vince. His first book, The Road Ahead is a biting political satire. Book two, Loved Mars Hated The Food is a hilarious space adventure populated with aliens and bots. With his most recent work, Deep Into The Weeds, he has crossed over to the world of black comedy. Follow Willie on Twitter @WillieHandler for his humorous observations on life, marriage and his obsession with coffee.
Let’s move on now to your author’s photo. It should be a headshot that is a well-lit, high-resolution images because this allows a media outlet to resize your photo to meet their needs without risking quality. If you can’t decide what headshot you like best, it’s okay to include more than one. Try different shots like one with you holding your book.
A word of advice; how your label your photo files are important. It is a challenge for a media outlet to know what files are what when they are all labeled “author pic”. For everything you make, whether your author headshot or doc files, be sure you name the file with 1) your name 2) what the file is 3) size/color/purpose. Example of mine would be “Willie Handler, colour author headshot” or “Willie Handler, podcast press kit”.
Bloggers tend to break up longer interviews with lots of images. Also, include book images – your own graphic images of your book are far nicer than the blogger copying a jpg file off Amazon.
So, you have a blurb, your bio, pictures. If you’re sending your kit to a library or bookstore or any other book seller, you can include your publication details, such as ISBN and available formats to help them find your book if it’s not already in their stock.
If sending your press kit to podcasters, consider adding a list of topics you feel confident talking about on their show. If sending to a blogger, consider adding a list of fun facts to help them interview you.
You can compile these pieces in a doc or pdf file. You can also put the images in a cloud, like Dropbox, and share it with leads so they can download them as needed.
You can also put the same info on your website to give leads another place to find essential info about you. Make it easy to find, easy to read.
Good luck pitching yourself and your books!