Have you ever known exactly the information you want to put out into the world, but then draw a blank as to how to do it properly? Would you believe that, strangely enough, that happens to authors a lot. Like a really lot. You’d think that those of us that fancy ourselves talented with words wouldn’t be faced with that issue, but alas, it happens.
That happened to me with this post. I’ve known for several weeks I was going to post this week about the importance of media and press kits. You see, I wrote a book on the subject last year and so I know quite a bit about it. The problem is, I just wrote a book on the subject. How do I give you the same information in a new way?
The irony is that this is the exact same issue many authors face when presented with the need for a media kit. All of the information one would put in a media or press kit is already out there in the world for anyone to find if they look for it, so do you really need to put together a specific kit?
The short answer is, yes, of course.
And the answer to my issue, the one about presenting the information to you in a different way, is that I’m not going to. Wait…what?
What I’m going to do is give you an excerpt of my book, Author Media Kit Essentials. This excerpt is the entire first section, in which I discuss the different types of kits you should have (yes, there are two), when you should prepare each, and why each is important.
Stick with me to the end, because there is a surprise waiting for you!
Author Media Kit Essentials
Welcome to Author Media Kit Essentials. My name is June and I will be your guide on this adventure. I’m a bestselling “hybrid” author, that means I’m both self & traditionally published. I’m also a branding & design specialist with Author Branding Essentials. The information contained in this book/post is based on my own experience, hours upon hours of research, and consultations with other authors, acquisition editors, and agents.
I’m confident that by the end of this, you will be armed with the information you need to build your own press and media kits.
What is a media kit and why do I need one?
The most basic definition of a media kit is a packet of information used for promotional and public relations purposes. That's all it is; information. What information is gathered and how it is packaged into the kit is what makes it a powerful tool
Media kits are used to facilitate public relations and promotional efforts of businesses and their products or services. Your instinctual response to that last sentence may have been "but I don't have a business." But that response is wrong. If you are a writer of any kind and are published, or your goal is to become published, you don't just have a business. You are a business; at least in a sense.
Let's break that down a little. Publishing is a business. The act of being a published writer or author is a business. Your author name is your company, your brand. Your books (and other writings) are your products. If you write nonfiction and give lectures or other talks to schools, groups, or businesses, then you also provide a service.
For the purposes of this book/post we are going to focus mainly on promotional tools for writers who have authored a book (or books) and are promoting their author brand and books.
The differences between a press kit and a media kit.
You may have heard the terms media kit and press kit used interchangeably. In general, that is okay. They are, essentially, the same thing. However, as an author, you need to very distinctive packages of information. They will contain some of the same information, but their purposes are very different.
For the purposes of this book/post, when we use the word "press kit" we are discussing a publicly available package of information you will use to connect with bloggers, press & media outlets, the public, book clubs, and more. From here on out our usage of "media kit" refers to a kit of information you will put together specifically targeted to promote you as an author and your pre-publication book to agents and editors.
To sum up: The basic uses for press and media
- Sell yourself and your book to agents and editors
- Accessible information for bloggers and other press
- Have readily available and easy to find information for book clubs, teachers, and students
I’m not going to self-publish, so I won’t need to do this.
One of the misconceptions new authors have is that if they are published by a traditional publisher they don't have to worry about the marketing side of things. This is very wrong thinking in today's market place and can result in low sales and authors being dropped by their publishers or agents. That is, if you can even get a publisher or agent without a media kit and solid author platform.
You can learn more about creating your author platform in Author Platform Essentials, and we'll go into more depth later in this book about how a media kit can be an essential tool to help you snag an agent and/or publishing deal.
But for now, know that, in today's ever changing publishing business, agents and publishing houses look more favorably on an author who proves, even before their foot is in the door, that they are dedicated to their own success and will put in the work it takes to ensure that success.
No matter what stage you are at in your career, whether you have several books published or are just putting the finishing touches on your first manuscript and are getting ready to shop it, you should have at least the beginnings of both a media kit and a press kit. If you don't, don't fret. By the end of this book you should have a good grasp on what you should gather together and how to present it.
Did that grab your interest? I hope so. I hope you will want to read more because I am offering Author Media Kit Essentials for FREE on Amazon for five days. (This is the surprise!) Author Media Kit Essentials will be FREE from February 6-February 10. So hop on over there right now and grab your copy!
What are your questions? Do you already have a media kit? Did you create it yourself, or hire it out? For those who have one, what feedback have you received when you use it?
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June Stevens Westerfield is author of romantic fiction. She has been in the publishing field one way or another for over decade. She has helped launch several small publishing houses, worked in acquisitions, editing, cover art, web design, as a blogger, radio host, and assisted many authors in their self-publishing journeys. Her particular expertise is in design and branding.
On a personal note, when not writing or working for ABE, she designs greeting cards. She has a wonderful husband, a brilliant stepson, 6 fur-children, purple hair, and a chronically filthy house.
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Author Branding Essentials is dedicated to offering comprehensive author centric branding and design services at competitive prices. As an Author, your name is your brand. Building your Author Brand is key to success. Many agents encourage authors to begin building that brand long before they are published. At Author Branding Essentials we understand the unique criteria it takes to build an author brand, versus another type of business. We can help you decide on the best options for your author brand and help you implement them.