A press kit is an essential component of your marketing and promotion efforts for your book, particularly when it comes to streamlining your communication with the media. The role of press kits goes beyond media and the press as well, as they can be sent to contacts with retailers, event-planners, editors, and anyone who wants to know more you as an author and your work. So if you’re planning to self-publish, and head up or even single handedly run your marketing and promotion efforts, you should learn everything you need to know about a press kit early in your process.
What’s in a Press Kit?
Basically, a press kit offers a way to put all of your materials together for any promotion or publicity activities you engage in. When you have a press kit put together ahead of time, it allows you to quickly and conveniently make contact and communicate what you and your book are really about and why readers should be interested. So what should it include?
A press kit should contain basic information about you, the author. For practical purposes, this will include your contact information such as full name, phone number, email, website, and links to social media. It should also include this information for your manager, agent, or publicist.
Consider including a professionally shot, high-resolution headshot.
Press Kit Necessities
Include product information for the book you are promoting. This will include your book cover, and title, author, publication date, ISBN, retail price, page count, genre/subgenre, and where it is available for purchase.
A press kit should also include a short bio, and this is where your promotional skills start to come in. This could be the same bio you might use for the back of your book or other purposes, but in any case, it should include your educational and writing background, as well as a brief but engaging glimpse into your personality. Along with all your other promotional efforts, the bio should encourage readers to want to go further and read your book.
One section should include promotional information, which will basically cover all of your promotional material so far. It could include book awards or glowing reviews from widely respected sources.
Often, press kits will include sample interview questions and answers. These might include questions you would expect from a basic interview, covering your personal background, your reasons and inspirations for writing your book, reasons for self-publishing, writers who inspire you, and plans for future writing. The more engaging and distinctive you can make these questions and answers, the more your book will stand out to the people you are trying to reach with your press kit.
One of the most essential components of a press kit is your press release. This is a brief statement presenting the release of your work and other notable information about your book or its author. It functions as a condensed, one-page version of your press kit.
Press kits can also include an excerpt from your book. Needless to say, an engaging and exciting portion of your book works well for this. Consider using your books first chapter, although if that doesn’t fit the bill don’t hesitate to use another portion.
Non-fiction authors should consider adding information and facts of interest related to the topic of your book. Part of your job is not only to sell people on your writing, but to drum up interest in your topic.
How to Use a Press Kit
Most often in the digital age, PDF files are the best way to distribute your press kit, via email or even just posted on blogs or your website. In this case, be sure to check every hyperlink to make sure they are working properly.
Print copies can be useful in some instances, such as for making contact with local brick and mortar retailers or your local library. But generally, you shouldn’t need a large quantity of press kits printed in advance, as you might have in past decades.
Purpose of a Press Kit
The main purpose of a press kit is to convey information to those who need it, and to use that information to get people excited about your book, your persona as an author, and your ideas. It’s primarily about content, so don’t get too elaborate when it comes to formatting, font, or other visual extras.
Make sure to start putting together your kit early on, and consider adding to it gradually as you accumulate material, reviews, and a better idea of how you want to represent your work. If you don’t, you may find yourself scrambling at the last minute to put together a press kit when someone asks for one.
The press kit is a relatively easy way to put together your pitch and information surrounding your book, in a concise and professional package. If you take some time and energy to think about your press kit, and to research how to put one together, your press kit can be as effective as any created by traditionally published authors. As with other marketing and promotion efforts, this is not the place to skimp on effort! A good press kit has the potential to greatly boost your book’s success in the long run.