An Author Media Kit is an essential component in the toolbelt of all serious authors. It’s the one packet of information that stands between you and getting media attention for your latest book. And, with nearly 3,000 new books published daily in the US alone, you’re going to need all the help you can get. Therefore, knowing how to create a media kit that makes you stand out from a sea of sameness is crucial.
Fear not loyal reader. Today’s post is part 1 of a 2-part series, and I’m going to cover the essential components you need in your media kit. I’ll also include other elements you may want to add depending on your target audience. In part 2, I will show you how to take the information you have gathered and organize it into a professional media kit that will propel you to the top of the interview list and blow away your competition.
The fun part of building a media kit is that you probably already have most of what you need to get started. So, for anyone new to this term, let’s begin by defining what a media kit is and how it will be used. Then I’ll move into outlining the essential components and any other information you may wish to include.
What is an Author Media Kit and How is It Used?
Generally speaking, an author media kit (also known as a Press Kit) is a dynamic page on your author website that includes all the information someone would need to feature you in a piece they are working on or in an interview. It could be used by the news media, bloggers, TV personalities, or anyone else wishing to profile you. Having a professional media kit tells everyone you are a serious author and your book deserves their consideration.
In fact, taking the time to create a rich media kit that is expertly organized and formatted will put you in good standing with a potential interviewer by making their life easier. That is the key to getting to the top of the list! Moreover, because this information is on your website, you can easily send a link to anyone requesting it or to anyone you are soliciting an interview from. And, I can’t overstate how important it is to keep this information up to date!
Even though we now live in a mostly digital world, I highly recommend keeping your media kit in document form as well. These printed versions will come in handy at networking events, speaking engagements, and conferences you may attend. While the bulk of this post will focus on organizing and formatting an outstanding media kit, keep in mind the recommendations apply equally to the media page on your website as they do to a written document.
The Essential Components of an Author Media Kit:
I’ve seen media kits that are bare bones to ones that are novel length and everything in between. The key is to start with the essential information needed to describe you and your book. Then, add additional data that is relevant to the media outlet or interviewer you are trying to reach. Any elements beyond the essential ones should be carefully evaluated. The last thing you want is having a journalist trash your media kit because you gave her too much information to wade through!
Every media kit should contain the following essential elements:
You want to keep this section concise, but interesting. Pitch yourself in third person and include interesting tidbits about your personality and style. Your aim is to entice the reader to want to know more. Be sure to incorporate your credentials, awards, previous media attention, and any other qualifications that are relevant and interesting.
Don’t skimp here. Your picture should be professional, but don’t go overboard with the glamour shots. This need not be an expensive endeavor as most of today’s smartphones are more than capable of taking a great picture with the right lighting and setting. Not a shutterbug? Then hire a pro but shop around before agreeing to anything.
Be sure to include both high and low-resolution images in your media kit (300DPI is great for printed materials). This will make it that much easier for anyone creating content around you. Some outlets like black and white images, so have those handy just in case.
It should go without saying that any media kit would be incomplete without your contact info. Include your full name (and/or pen name), email address, website URL, and social media credentials (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Additionally, if you have an agent, manager, or publicist, this is the place to add their information as well.
Information about your book:
Think of this section as a resume for your book. Keep it to one page that really sells the book. Include a teaser description or synopsis, sample text, cover image, awards received or nominated for, and positive reviews or endorsements from recognizable names.
Additionally, you will want to list the genre, price, release date, and where available. I have also seen the ISBN listed for each version, although this may be irrelevant in some applications. Lastly, consider including any supplementary photos that can be used when referencing the book.
A press release is basically a shortened version of the overall media kit. Keep it to about one page and audience specific. This component is time sensitive and need only be included when you are releasing a new book. I plan to cover more information in a future post, but for now, your press release should have the following elements:
- A catchy headline;
- Image of the cover;
- Brief synopsis;
- Newsworthiness or feature angle;
- Contact details;
- Book details.
As a bonus, here’s 20+ sites compiled by Mashable to help you get your press release out for free: 20+ Free Press Release Distribution Sites. It’s a bit dated so take it for what it is.
Additional Elements of Your Media Kit:
Once you have compiled your essential elements from the above list, you may wish to consider adding other components as per their relevance. The following are items I have also seen included in media kits, when appropriate:
This can be anything from the first paragraph to the entire first chapter. The idea is to include just enough to give a taste and leave the audience wanting more.
Book trailers are becoming a hot book marketing technique as technology advances and price of entry drops. Learn more here: Book Trailers: Are They the Next Big Thing in Book Marketing?
Sample Q&A tip sheet:
Most interviewers usually have a general list of questions they like to ask. However, these “canned” questions don’t always get to the heart of your new release. Prepare 5-10 interesting questions that have unique answers relating directly to your books content, plot, genre, or focus. You may even throw in a few personal questions to share your personality or interesting information about you not included in your author bio. The main point here is providing your own questions will help your interview stand out from the others the interviewer is doing.
Books you have written previously:
This is self-explanatory but be sure books you include are relevant to the new release and/or your target audience. As an example, your past venture into erotica would be a conflict with your new venture into young adult adventure.
Target audience and/or demographics:
Who is your ideal reader for this new release? This can include: Age, gender, ethnicity, education level, specific interests, location, and income. Incorporate the relevant information in this section.
Story ideas for journalists:
This could be considered similar to the Q&A sheet from above. Do you have a unique spin on your book’s focus or topic? What is something distinctive that would make your book stand out from others in the same genre? Helping a journalist by giving them exclusive or insider information will make a compelling story that your audience will gravitate toward.
Information on why your book is relevant or important:
Is your book about a specific time in history? Does it feature a historical figure? Perhaps it is based on a true story. Anything that makes your work standout should be included in this section.
How you came up with the idea for the book:
Were you inspired by a dream or a real-life event? What spurs your creativity? If it’s interesting, be sure to add it here.
By now, you should be convinced of the importance of having a professional author media kit. You should also have all the tools needed to gather the essential elements for your kit.
In the second part of this series, I will show you how to take all of the information you have just gathered and assemble it into an outstanding media kit. I’ll include tips on creating your web page as well as a step-by-step guide on creating a PDF document that is professional and easy to navigate.
Is there anything you include in your own media kits that I missed? Please comment below. I would appreciate the feedback.