Take all your excuses and shove them under your bed with the dust bunnies, mismatched socks and the scale you bought for your last diet but never took out of the box.
Give me fifteen minutes of your time and we’ll knock out five essential pieces of your media kit.
Pre-Reading: Background info and quick tips.
If you’re unclear on what all should go in a media kit, what it is and where to get one, read Toni’s overview post. It also has a bevy (yeah that’s right, I said bevy) of helpful hints for the design of your media kit.
Quick Tip #1: Prepare a digital and a print version of your media kit. The digital version (preferably a PDF) is perfect for sending on the web (and is especially thrifty since you don’t have to pay to print it out). A printed version is still necessary, however, for some of your local bookstores and events. Keep a few printed copies in your car, purse, briefcase, etc. because you never know when you’ll run into someone and want to share!
Quick Tip #2: Remember who you’re writing to–it’s a different target audience! Unlike most of your marketing materials, your media kit is not geared to potential readers, but to potential interviewers and book retailers. You need to tell them why this book matters to them. Will it bring readers to a blogger in an interview or review? Will people flock to a store to pick up a copy or meet the author? Consider it more like a business presentation for potential investors than a push for new readers.
Let’s get down to business…
Now we’re going to focus on building five important elements of your media kit: Author Bio, Author Q&A, Press Release, Marketing Strategy and a super special secret ingredient (don’t you dare skip to the end to find out what it is!).
1) Author Bio
Writing your own bio sucks. At least, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. There’s a fine line between modesty and honesty, plus there’s the added bonus of having to make your life sound interesting (while keeping things PC!). Help your case by writing your bio in the third person, trying to answer the following questions:
- Where were you born?
- When did you start writing?
- What was your early inspiration?
- Do you have educational or professional experience in writing (outside of publishing your book)?
- What other books have you written (if any)?
- How has your life affected your writing voice?
2) Author Q&A
Prepare a list of commonly asked questions about your book (but know that you’ll probably still be asked a lot of the same questions in interviews!). Use this tool as a means for sharing additional info about yourself and your book that’s not already in your summary, excerpts or bio. Here are a few sample questions to get started:
- Where did you get the idea for this book?
- What traits and other tidbits do you share with your main character?
- Did any of your inspiration for this book originate in your real life experiences?
- What made you decide to self-publish?
- Are there any specific authors whose writing styles or subject matter inspired your book?
- Do you have another project in the works? If so, what is it?
3) Press Release
In an earlier post we discussed the Five Tips for Writing a Stellar Press Release which should give you some added guidance in the do’s and do not’s of press release writing. In general, a release for a media kit should focus on the unveiling of your new work. If you have upcoming events, it might be a good idea to omit them from your media kit press release to keep the article timely a month or two down the road. Above all else, make sure you answer these questions about your book:
- What’s your book about?
- What’s your writing background?
- Why should someone want to read your book in particular?
- Where can a person find a copy of your book?
- What do you have to say about your book/writing experience? (Always include quotes!)
- Where can a reader find more information about you, the author?
4) Marketing Strategy
If we haven’t hammered into your head the importance of a marketing strategy PRIOR to the launch of your book at this point, we might as well start using this blog to wax poetic about the prowess of our fantasy football teams. Just in case, I’ll give you a link to our entire Marketing category on the blog so you can refresh your memory. Once you have the marketing strategy, you want to make sure that your synopsis answers the following questions from the perspective of a potential interviewer or book retailer (can’t emphasize that enough):
- What kind of existing following do you have? (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, etc.)
- Who is your target market and do they overlap with my target market?
- Is there a specific region that’s relevant to your book?
- What do you want people to do — buy your book online, come to a meet and greet, etc.?
- Do you have a tagline or sticking point in all of your marketing pieces?
- Where can I direct people to find your book if they’re interested?
5) Why is your book relevant?
This is the MOST IMPORTANT question you need to answer in your media kit. Our friend @JohnBetcher shared his media kit with us, and he made the smart move of devoting a page of his media kit to this topic. The fact is, there are millions of books out there — what makes yours different? What specifically makes it relate to potential interviewers and book retailers? Here are some questions to ask yourself when writing about the relevancy of your book:
- Does your book take place in a specific region that would make people take an interest?
- Do you cover a topic/subject matter that a lot of people can easily relate to?
- Does your book shed light on a different perspective of a common issue?
- Do you have specific experience/expertise on a topic discussed in your book?
- Is there a certain aspect of your author experience that makes the book interesting?
- Do you, the author, have a unique background different from most authors?
If you sit down and answer each of the above questions, you should have no problems compiling five essential components of your media kit. Remember to keep things as short and to the point as possible (you’re not writing an online dating profile, just get the facts out there).
If you have any other suggestions or thoughts to share on media kits, feel free to jump in the conversation through our comments section below!