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General Promotion Tips
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Creating an Author Press Kit
by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Return to Book Promotion Tips
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An author press kit is a package of information about
a particular writer. They vary somewhat in context, complexity,
and appearance, but most will include basic information about
the writer's services or recent projects, as well as contact
Not everyone needs a full-blown press kit. However, almost all writers are asked for basic bio information at
some point in their career, either in preparation for an interview,
by their publisher, or as part of promotion of a workshop or book
signing. Having the information in a Web site helps, but sometimes
it's nice to have something in hardcopy to give out at events. Some
people may not remember to check out your Web site when they get back
to work or home, or may simply prefer having your information on
paper to remind them. Having this information prepared ahead of time
can save you inconvenience and stress later on, and could also
impress an editor or potential client.
"The press kit is great when someone is already doing a story on
you and wants more info," says Amy Chavez, "Or if an agent/publisher
requests a look at your ms.
It just makes sense to have a showcase of your work ready to send out
or take with you when you think you'll be meeting important people in
the publishing industry. I've handed mine to TV people, agents,
Aterovis mainly uses his press kit to give to prospective
bookstores that he hopes will carry his book. He also sends them out
The cost of putting together a press kit can vary widely. Some
press kits might only consist of a photocopied page of information and
a self-printed business card. Other writers may opt for a
professionally printed package with a color cover and high
"Putting together a press kit is costly," says Chavez. "I've found
that the press kit only works to my advantage if it is requested or
if I can physically hand it to someone who is important to achieving
my objectives (people at conferences, agents, publishers, references,
etc.) I used to send a press kit out with magazine and ms.
submissions to try to impress publications with my qualifications,
but it never helped me get published, so I stopped doing it."
What should go into a press kit?
As mentioned earlier, contents of a press kit are determined by a
number of factors, including the intended purpose (are you promoting
a specific book? yourself in general? your services?), target
recipients, and your budget.
Some authors use presentation folders with pockets, customizing the
contents for whatever event they are planning to attend, sometimes
personalizing the cover with a printed sticker or other type of
label. Chavez, for example, uses this technique in her press kit. "I
usually put the query letter in the right side of the folder, with
clips in back and a list of publications, media appearances and
speaking engagements on the left side with a business card."
Put effort into tailoring your press kit to the person who will be
looking at it. Don't try to cram too much information into any one
page, or the kit itself, especially if you know the recipient is very
busy. Josh Aterovis
designed his press kit to be as compact as possible. "I was going on
the idea that someone will take the time to look over a brief
professional looking document quicker than they will look at a huge
amount of material."
Here are a list of some of the items that could go into your press kit:
- Basic Bio. Don't forget to include contact
- Author Photography. Preferably, this should be a
professional-looking headshot. Including a photo of yourself
isn't essential, but it does visual interest and add a level of
- Book Info. If you're promoting a recent title, have a
page of information about the book. Info should include the basic
info needed for a person to find the publication in a bookstore
or on Amazon.com, like the full title, your name, publisher, date
published, and ISBN. If possible, include a picture of the cover
to add visual interest, even if it's just a black and white
photocopy. Book information pages could also include reviews and
endorsements, press releases, and ordering information. Always
include contact information on every page.
- Other Publicity Information. If you're promoting your
general writing services rather than a specific book or books,
then you could include testimonials from satisfied clients, a
list of past clients, media appearances, a list of your pieces
and where they were published, perhaps even a few
- Bookmarks. "It's hard to determine the effectiveness
of flyers and bookmarks," says Peggy Tibbetts.
"You never really know, except it seems like a lot more people
know who I am when I go to conferences now. It's very hard though
to getmedia attention, unless you do something outrageous, or
have friends in high places. But I think they are effective in
- Postcards. The most typical type of promotional author
postcard will have a book cover on one side, brief information
abou the book on the other. Writers promoting themselves in
general (rather than a specific book) might want to include a
photo of themselves instead.
Find Out More...
- The Essential Components of the Media Kit - Ink Tree Ltd.
- Seven Steps to a Great Press Release - Elizabeth Hanes
- Turning Press Releases into Publishing Profits - Brian Jud
Copyright © 2002 Debbie Ridpath Ohi
- The Press
Kit, by Denise Clark
- This article focuses on what goes
into a press release about a book.
- Creative Purrsuits, by Lorna Tedder
This article may not be reprinted without the author's written permission.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi is a freelance writer living in Ontario. Visit her website at http://debbieohi.com/.
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Moira Allen, Editor