A press kit helps maintain order and discipline with respect to your professional book marketing materials. The idea is to keep everything related to your book readily available to handout to the media at a moment's notice. Doing so will keep you organized and ready at all times for an interview with a newspaper or other journalist to help promote your fiction book.
When you build your media kit, you must keep in mind that your published book is a professional product and that you do intend on selling it. It is a combination of all of your marketing materials for a particular book in one place for easy and ready distribution to a media source or marketing source.
A press kit can be in the form of a large envelope, folder, or portfolio case and will be a direct representative for you after it is given to someone. It should be professional, neat, and easy for someone to browse through to find the information they need.
This compilation of materials is made specifically to hand out to journalists, advertising specialists, or even a agents or publishers. It answers many of the questions they may have about you or your book before they even ask.
Keeping organized is the name of the game when it comes to marketing your fiction. You must always be ready to present any part of your press kit when asked.
Your media handouts are the easiest way to organize all of your marketing and media information in one place so it's easy to distribute to people who are interested in giving you an interview about you or your book. People will find that you are more professional and organized if you can easily produce your materials at any given time.
To get the news interested in your personal story or your book, you need to develop and submit a book press release to as many media outlets as possible. This will give you and your fiction story a exposure. Of course, a copy of this release should be included in your kit.
After your release, you may be approached from locally or nationally known journalists who want to cover your story. You want to be ready at all times so you don't have to go looking for your marketing materials, samples, and other crucial interview materials that will help you win a spot in their news outlet.
The elements of a press kit are the key items required in order to provide all of the useful information a marketing or media source will need to properly serve you with the best interview possible, whether in the form of an announcement, press release, or a marketing campaign. Your media handouts will grow as your book becomes more and more popular and you should always add to it as you get more viable information, such as new interviews or marketing pieces. You can safely call it your portfolio for writing.
Esure all of your information contained within your press kit is up to date before distributing it to a media source.
Here's what you should have in your kit:
1. A cover letter describing you, your book, and your anticipations for your book (best seller, first novel, first of a series...) should be the first item a media source sees when they open your press kit. A great cover letter can be a fiction query letter that is generally used to solicit the interest of a publisher, but can also work great with introducing your media package.
On this cover letter, you should include your goals as a fiction writer and your expectations in the fiction market place with your book. Also include all of your contact information. Your contact information is a very important part of that as it is how media sources may contact you when they are interested in covering your story.
2. A full and abbreviated author biography will be the next page. This is two separate biographies, one very short to add to articles and press releases and one extensive one of your life's story as applicable to your writing and your book(s). It should be very detailed and include why you wrote the particular book you are marketing.
3. Next, you should write a book press release and include it in your press materials. This is the official release you submitted to multiple news sources.
4. An up to date high quality photograph of yourself should be included. This should be a picture you wouldn't mind being published with an interview in the local Sunday newspaper.
5. Next you should have a copy of your fiction book brochure. Your author and book brochure is just a marketing piece, but is always good to include in your elements of a press kit to give the interviewer as much information as possible about you and your book with a direct sales point of view.
6. Include copies of writing reviews for your book from all sources or other books you have written. Don't hand them printed copies of emails. Type out the reviews neatly on an 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper in normal 12pt font. Do not use special fonts, just something easy to read. These should be actual quotes from people, not something you put together from people talking about your book.
7. If you have written a book synopsis to submit to a publisher or writing agent, you should add it to your kit. This is a great source of information for an interviewer that contains a detailed but brief rundown of your story.
8. Include any newspaper or other media excerpts about you or your writing. If you have had past articles or write-ups from other media sources, you should include these in your press kit. This helps a journalist avoid using a similar angle during their article.
9. You should have at least two copies of your personal author business card in your kit. You should have a professional looking business card that represents you as a fiction author. One copy is for them to keep and one can go on file at their office.
10. You should have a prearranged copy of your Question and Answer Sheet with your kit. The Q & A sheet is a mock interview that you creatively write to help the interviewing process. The interviewer may use these questions to formulate their story about you or may choose to ask their own questions.
When you are interviewed by someone, you should always receive a copy of the interview and include it in your future marketing kits.
11. Most importantly for the elements of a press kit is to include a copy of your fiction book (if published). This is the most costly part of your press kit, but quite essential if you want fair representation. This gives you an opportunity for the interviewer to read your book as well as provide you with a personal review when they release their article.
All of these elements are equally important, but the Question and Answer Sheet is something you must include to help the media understand why you wrote the book. This helps a lot with submitting your kit to media sources and may provide information the journalist hasn't thought of.
A Question and Answer sheet should include the following questions (this information was obtained from Lulu.com):
1. Why did you write this book?
2. How did you become interested in the topic?
3. What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your book?
4. Who is your intended readership?
5. When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
6. How did you research your book?
7. What surprised you about the process of writing your book?
8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
9. Are you working on another book?
As you can see, these questions and answers will help with the interview process if your press kit is picked up by a media source. This avoids the need for an immediate interview that can have you traveling halfway around the country.
As you receive more interviews, add questions and answers from them to your Q & A sheet to help it grow.
All of the parts of your media handouts are equally important and work hand-in-hand with your marketing and sales efforts. Don't take any of the elements for granted as they can help with the interview depending on the journalist's angle or approach.
So, who do you send your prepared package to? Like I said before, your press kit should be contained in an 9" x 12" manila envelop or large folder that can be easily mailed or handed to a media representative. You can also create an electronic copy of your material to email to potential marketing and media interests. It can also be uploaded to an author website for a media representatives to download freely (just don't include a copy of your book there - have them ask for it).
An electronic copy of your kit is much less expensive to put together, just be sure to use a common file type such as PDF for all of your files so the media personality can open all of the files easily.
You should send a copy of your media kit out to anyone you can think of in your network that deals with any kind of marketing. Start off local and work your way national. You should also send it to local newspapers, city or regional magazines, local radio and television stations for more coverage.