In our last article, we outlined a basic list of what to include in a book press kit. This time, we’ll discuss the best approach to actually writing some of the elements that go into your book press kit.
While some of putting together a press kit involves collecting information you already have and bringing it together in the right format, parts of your book press kit also will need to be written from scratch. Writing elements such as the press release and your author bio offer a great chance to start practicing the skills needed to promote yourself as a self-publishing author.
Book Press Kit Author Bio
When writing your author bio, don’t hesitate to spend some time making it really shine. This isn’t just for your book press kit – you will use versions of your author bio for your website, proposals, other marketing material, and as a byline or for social media. Some of these will require different length versions of your bio, so while your press kit will use your longest (though still quite brief) version, keep this in mind as you write it. Later on, you may be deciding which parts to keep in a medium sized and short version.
When writing your bio, don’t hold back on advertising your greatest accomplishments that are relevant to your writing. You may not be used to bragging, but your author bio, like any promotional activity you engage in, calls for you to show off. So as long as it pertains to either your writing career or your expertise on the topic on which you are writing, don’t hold back. This can include education, publications, and any relevant career history.
You might start by establishing your credentials as a writer. If you have any prior publications, this is a great place to start. If you have many, consider listing a few of the most successful, or the most relevant to the work you are currently publishing. Italicize the titles, and list both your publisher and year the book was published in parentheses after each title.
List any awards that would be considered relevant to your writing. This can go beyond awards specifically for writing if it pertains to the subject matter of your work. The same goes for information about education in your author bio – if your degree is relevant to writing or to the content of your work, be sure to include it.
Write in the third person, and with the rest of the bio, give a glimpse into your personality. For inspiration and clarification, be sure to look at author bios for other books. Add all of your contact information at the end. Traditionally, press releases end with the word ENDS in capital letters.
Don’t forget to keep updating your bio throughout your career, just like a resume.
Your press release is like a bulletin to grab attention for your book and convey why it will interest readers. A press release should be brief, in the neighborhood of 400 words, but still engaging enough to convince others to take an interest in you and your new book.
Start with a headline, which will also act as your subject line for emails. Make it eye-catching, and targeted to the kind of audience you expect to read your book. This will also appeal to book buyers and others who have your audience in mind.
Summarize Your Storyline
The first 50 to 100 words of your press release should summarize your work, in a way that hooks in the kind of audience you expect for your book. If your book is fiction, summarize your storyline. Non-fiction authors should present the heart of their topic in a brief yet captivating way.
This is a chance for you to present the who, what, where, when, and why of your work. The next several paragraphs should elaborate on the substance of your work, focusing on any highlights and what sets your book apart from other similar work. Consider including a quote from a review or a reader, but make sure to focus on the content and avoid too much self-promotion in your press release.
At the very end, you can include a brief, 3 or 4 sentence version of your bio. This can include links to relevant previous work. Remember to date your press release, and include your city next to the date. Link to an image of your book cover, as well as a headshot of yourself if you haven’t included one elsewhere in your book press kit.
When emailing your press release, include it in the body of emails, rather than as a PDF or other attachment.
The author bio and press release are the two elements of your book press kit that most call for you to use your skills as author. This is where you get to use your abilities as an author to boost your marketing and promotion efforts for your book. Your book press kit could very well make the crucial difference when it comes to convincing book buyers, the press, reviewers, and others to take an interest in you and your work – so take your time, and do it right.