In promoting my latest book release, Spook Lights, I was asked by a blogger to send my press kit along with an advance reading copy (ARC) of the book. I said, “Of course.”
And then I panicked.
I didn’t have a press kit, sometimes called a media kit. I had a bio that I had written years ago, when I sent in my first few stories for publication, and re-written with each story submission. I’d polished it up a few times, but it was essentially the same bio.
So I went to work using the power of the Internet to find out what a press kit included. In my research into press kits, specifically ones for independent authors, I found I didn’t need anyone to write one for me, I could do it myself. But it would take a bit of work on the outset. Believe me, you don’t want to have to start this from scratch more than once.
Maybe every other indie author out there has a press kit, but I didn’t. But I had one by the end of the day. Don’t wait until your work comes out to get your press kit together—do it before you start marketing your book because it can be an enormous amount of information to compile. Even for someone like me, who didn’t think I had anything to put in a press kit as Spook Lights is my first short story collection.
I also found it’s a great way to recap your work. I’d thought I wasn’t getting much done with my writing over the past year or so as I hadn’t completed my novel in the timeframe I’d set for myself. But in putting this press kit together, I found I’d been more active than I’d realized on social media: doing interviews, reviewing books, guesting on podcasts, and the like.
A basic press kit for a writer contains:
- A one-pager on you as an author. This is your bio on steroids. Make it as interesting as you can, but remain professional. Also include the basics on the book you’re promoting: title, cover image, genre, page count, synopsis.
- Press Release: One page on your release and what makes it special
- Synopsis of and praise for your book: This is where to add those blurbs from readers on how your book impacted them.
- Sample Q&A: This can be in the form of links to interviews you’ve done online or in a document you’ve created.
I’m certainly not an expert on press kits from the research I’ve done. But I want to stress the importance of having a press kit before you need one. Maybe you keep all of your interviews, guest posts, articles, book reviews, and other evidence of your work in one place, but I hadn’t until now. Read below for links to some of the sites I used to get my press kit ready.
Be sure to keep your press kit updated and have it ready to send to bloggers and editors–whoever contacts you for it. (There is a way to contact you on your site, right? Surprisingly, many websites and blogs don’t have one.)
Authors: Do you have a press kit for your work? What do you have in it?