How to Impress with an Online Author Press Kit
Now that we’ve tackled everything your readers need from your website, it’s time to turn our attention to your peers and the press. Whereas readers will land on your site without a particular objective in mind, the pros will know exactly what they’re looking for.
To grok what they want for yourself, step into the shoes of an agent, a book blogger, or an author in your genre. You’re busy, and you’re looking for the first excuse to get back to more important work. How do you know if Newbie Quillman is worth your time?
First, professionalism. Does Newbie have a strong brand? Does her reader-targeted home page suggest she’s a go-getter with a clear vision for their future?
Second, social proof. Where’s her press kit? You can forgive a short history. Everybody starts somewhere. But given what Newbie includes in her press kit today, does she seem focused, cooperative, and willing to participate in the infinite game of publishing?
Finally, relevance. Is Newbie writing with a unique perspective of interest to your audience? This is where Newbie’s author statement and press releases come in, because regardless of her history, what you care about is ultimately, can I work with her now?
Just as it was important to keep your readers in mind when designing other aspects of your site, keep the pros in mind when reading this post.
Author Statement & Contact Info
First thing the media or blogger wants to know is: Why should I care? Begin your press kits with a short, sharp statement about what makes you worth paying attention to.
- Write and revise a 200-word author statement that succinctly describes your unique artistic perspective and career trajectory. Refer to the links below for advice.
- Conclude your author statement with all of your contact info, your mailing list signup info, your profile on book retailers and Goodreads, as well as your active social media links.
- SiteArcade - Finding Your Professional Edge: Turning Manure into Roses [8m read]
- StoryWorks - Author Statement - Your North Star [60m video]
- The Creative Independent - How to Write an Artist Statement [10m read]
Do the work for the journalist when crafting each press release. Pick an angle that will resonate with the audience of the media you’re trying to reach. Come up with a click-worthy headline. Then write a few paragraphs exactly as you would expect to read them in the press.
Since you can write multiple press releases, your focus should be narrow. If you write memoir, target one press release to the region your book takes place, with another press release focusing on your particular demographic. Then send each to the appropriate outlets (without overlap).
Some journalists will use the release as-is. Many will lift phrases liberally. The vast majority will completely ignore you, and that’s fine. It just means you need to figure out a new angle to reach them in your next push.
- Draft a press release for the most newsworthy aspect of your author career. Make sure your headline is click-worthy, and that the body is both informative and written in the journalistic style.
- Draft additional press releases for your most-recent and upcoming books, awards, and notable appearances. Whereas the primary release is for incoming traffic, you’ll want to use the others for specific outreach.
- Position your primary press release just after your author statement in your press kit. Follow it with links to additional and previous press releases to convey the scope of your career at a glance.
- Duplicate your press kit with different press releases in the primary position. Link directly to these versions when emailing reviewers and the press about specific projects.
- Fit Small Business - How to Write a Book Press Release in 7 Steps [9m read]
- TCK Publishing - How to Distribute a Press Release Like a Media Expert [35m podcast]
Laurels, Press, & Appearances
What awards have you won? Where have you appeared before? Who’s reviewed you before? These details signal your relevance and professional status.
- Provide a comprehensive list of your published work, organized by series and chronology. Include links and metadata such as publication date, ISBNs, ASINs, and available formats.
- After your published books, provide a list of short work published in anthologies, periodicals, and magazines.
- Next, list any awards you’ve won or been nominated for in chronological order.
- Curate a list of reviews and coverage with links, dates, and where possible, the specific work discussed. You may also wish to pull a particularly good quote from each one.
- Create a complete list of your media appearances, including interviews, podcasts, news media, and so on.
- Finally, curate a list of speaking topics for future interviews. Match your positioning in the industry, but include any subjects that your readers and the press will find irresistible to ask about.
- SiteArcade - The Key to a Swell Author Interview [10m read]
- SiteArcade - How to Use Media Hooks to Snag the Right Kinds of Attention [6m read]
- The Authors Guild - The Do’s and Don’t's of Self-Promotion [7m read]
- Iasmina Adina - How to Ask for Book Reviews [16m video]
Assets & Metadata
For the journalist with a deadline, make their job easy by providing your bio, headshot, logo, brand assets, and additional visual media in many sizes and accessible formats.
- Provide the press with your headshot and bio in multiple sizes and formats in a well-organized manner. Make it easy for them to write an article about you.
- Similarly, provide your design elements including your color hex codes, your fonts, your favicon, and your logo in multiple sizes.
- Include additional photos and videos of you doing authorly things like signing a book, interacting with fans, receiving awards, and smiling.
- Lastly, include industry metadata, such as the names and contact info of your agents and publishers, as well as which rights you have and haven’t licensed.
- SiteArcade - How to Create A Smashing Online Press Kit [17m read]
- Reedsy - How to Build a Rocking Author Media Kit: A 7-Step Template [10m read]
Many author often neglect their press kits, never use them, or worse, never make one. Don’t be that gal. Bake your press kit into your website, neat and ready to go, use it! This single detail can make all the difference in the world when dealing with journalists, agents, and publishers. Sometimes even with pro authors.
Let the industry know you’re worth their time, and the rest will be history!
Next step: How to Handle on Your Author Website’s Technical Details.
See you there!