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Must-have online press room elements for authors and books

It’s hard to find the time to do everything you “should” to promote your books, but one of the easiest (and most over-looked) tasks is creating your online press room.

I use the word “easiest” because you probably have the press kit elements you need already. If you don’t, you certainly have the information you need to create them – you just need to do some editing and tweaking to put that material into the right format.

Not familiar with the concept? An online press room is a home for information the press and bloggers need to write about you and your book.

Here’s why you need one and what you need to include.

4 reasons to have a press room

Whether you label your press materials on your toolbar as “press room,” “for the press,” or “media materials,” your online press kit serves several purposes. They include:

  • It gives journalists everything they need to report on or reference your book, often without needing to contacting you.
  • It leads journalists to you when they’re looking for interview sources.
  • It boosts your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), that process that helps your site show up when people search for terms related to your book.
  • It provides readers with information that could help them decide that your book is exactly what they need.

Must-have and nice-to-have elements

Here are eight elements you’ll want to include in your online press kit.

1. Author bio

Is this on your book’s jacket flap or back cover already? Just copy and paste.

A two- to three-paragraph biography is enough. Journalists don’t need your life story. (Be careful not to make these four author bio mistakes, though.)

2. Book announcement press release

This versatile tool helps people understand your book’s value. When writing yours, include an objective description, information on why people will benefit from reading it, your author credentials, and how to purchase it.

Haven’t written one before, or you’ve written one but it isn’t working hard enough for you? I’ve got detailed, step-by-step instructions in Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book.

3. Author photo

Provide a professional, current author photo in a JPG format that journalists and bloggers can save and use. Offer it in both high- and low-resolution versions.

This needs to be a high-quality image, not a selfie you took with your phone. Get tips on how to get an affordable head shot in “Get a better author photo without spending a fortune.”

4. Book cover image

Media outlets and bloggers will want to use your book cover as an illustration, so make it possible for them to do so without contacting you for the image.

As with your author photo, offer it in both high- and low-resolution versions.

5. Author Q&A

The question-and-answer list is particularly popular with radio talk show hosts. These busy people don’t have time to read guest books, so they rely on publicity materials you provide.

Include answers with your questions. Doing so gives all interviewers, whether they’re from a radio station, popular blog, or magazine, a sense of your viewpoint and depth of knowledge.

6. Optional fact sheet

If you find yourself continually referring to specific details during conversations about your book (with the media or others), summarize them in a fact sheet. It will save you – and them – time, and will contribute to your SEO.

List the facts with bullets.

7. Optional tip sheet

A tip sheet is a type of news release that offers tips or advice in a bulleted or numbered format. It’s used by both fiction and nonfiction authors to get widespread media and blog exposure.

Get a sense of how to write them, and how they get used, in the article “4 tips to show seniors you care during the coronavirus” on the USA Today site.

8. Optional quiz

Could you create a quiz or two related to your book’s topic?

Magazines, newspapers, bloggers, and radio talk show hosts like them, so give them what they want. They’re fun to create, too.

How you present your online press kit

Present your written information in a format that can be copied and pasted. That’s not necessarily PDF files. When copied and pasted, some PDF text loses its formatting, which makes it useless.

Either make it available as text — just like the text on your other website pages — or as a Word file.

Author Candy Harrington’s press room for her book, 22 Accessible Road Trips: Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers, is an excellent example of how you want to do this. At that link, select “press release,” then click on each option.

If you need help creating these materials, check out my popular author workbook, Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates. This time-saving resource that includes instructions for creating these elements and many other publicity tools used by authors features fill-in-the blanks forms and samples for everything.

What’s in your author press room? Please share a link to it, too!   


(Editor’s note: This article was first published in August 2012. It has been updated and expanded.)

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12 Comments

    1. Thank you, Billie! I always try to add links to examples or further information/instructions because I know it helps to have examples. Sometimes it’s possible…sometimes not so much. Thanks for stopping by!

      Sandy

  1. What is your advice for authors who have a backlog of books? I have written a 5 book YA series, a prequel to the series, and a children’s picture book. Next month, I’m coming out with a coloring book based on my series. Do you advise including every book cover in my press kit, or a graphic that includes all book covers?

    1. You’ll want separate press kits for the series, children’s book, and coloring book. A press kit is designed to give the media newsworthy material they can copy and paste or to use as a starting point for an interview.

      Sandy

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