What’s in your online author press kit and how is it presented?
If you’re looking for book publicity — free media exposure — you have to:
- Have an author press kit on your website
- Include the right elements with the right information
- Present it in a format that’s easy for all journalists to use
Are you making any of these common author press kit mistakes that are interfering with your ability to effectively promote your book? Don’t worry if you are — all of these can be fixed easily:
1. You don’t have an online press room with an author press kit.
Get out! No press room? No press kit? No media information? You need to read “Must-have online press room elements for authors and books” before you go any further.
Actually, most authors don’t have one, which means those who do are light years ahead of their competition when it comes to priceless book publicity.
When I’m looking for an expert author to interview for a magazine article assignment and have two choices, which one do you think I’ll contact — the one with a press kit or the one without? When I see an online press kit, I think, “This person wants to be interviewed. I won’t have to talk him into it.”
Unless you’re trying to hide from the press, you need one. It’s expected; it’s useful.
2. Your press materials are only in PDF format.
Here’s the problem with PDFs: You want journalists to copy and paste your press releases, fact sheets, bios, etc. In many cases, when someone copies text from a PDF and drops it into Word or another program, all formatting is lost. The journalist has to manually insert paragraph returns and so on.
That’s a problem.
So you want your press materials available in a format that lets people copy and paste easily. That’s plain text in the same way that the text on your “about” page is plain text.
Ditch the PDFs, even though you see publishers and publicists using them. They create problems.
Candy Harrington’s press rooms for each of her books are great examples of how to do it the right way. You’ll see how easy it is to copy and paste the text.
3. There’s no date on your press releases.
When your book announcement press release doesn’t have a date, I don’t know if the book is new or three years old.
Perhaps you’ve got a press release listing your bookstore appearances, but you haven’t included the year. A journalist compiling a local calendar of events won’t be able to use the information without taking extra steps to confirm that it’s current. As soon as you force reporters to take unnecessary steps, you lose them.
4. You don’t provide contact information.
This is incredibly common, probably because it doesn’t occur to you that someone might want to contact you for an interview or to ask a few questions.
Picture this*: A local network TV affiliate is searching online for local romance authors for a new twist on the usual Valentine’s Day segment.
The reporter finds your site, is thrilled to see that you have a press room, but can’t find your contact information on that section of your site, in your press releases, or on your site at all, for that matter (another common problem).
That will probably cost you that publicity opportunity.
5. There are no images.
Not that you need a lot of them, but you do need your book cover and an author head shot.
Make them available in both high-resolution (“high res” is 300 dpi or greater) and low-resolution (“low res” is less than 300 dpi) versions. Publications need high-res images; bloggers and websites like low-res.
6. You haven’t clearly identified the press room where you house your author press kit.
Label it clearly on your toolbar.
Title options include:
- Press Room
- Press Kit
- For the Media
- For the Press
Many authors, experts, and others have a section identified as “Media,” which tricks journalists into thinking that they’ll find press kit elements there. What they find instead are reprints or links to articles or segments that include an interview with the author. That’s good — reporters like knowing that their interview won’t be your first — but it’s misleading.
If you have a “media” page that showcases your publicity success but doesn’t have press materials, add them so you’re both serving and attracting journalists.
Make sure you create an online press kit and house it in on your website so that you not only support your publicity efforts, but so that you improve your site’s search engine optimization — SEO — too.
Avoid mistakes by using templates
Need help creating your online press kit? “Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates” has a template and sample for every author press kit element, from your book announcement press release to your bio and sample question and answer sheet.
Learn more at http://buildbookbuzz.com/publicity-forms-and-templates/.
What do you call your online press room? Tell us in a comment.
*Channeling my inner Sophia Petrillo
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