by Allison Pottern Hoch
WHETHER YOU’RE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR or planning to be, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the day when someone wants to feature you: at an event, on a blog, in a newspaper, etc. That’s where a press kit comes in.
A press kit is a collection of documents and images that contain promotional material about you and your projects. It is used in conjunction with a promotional pitch to media and event outlets. You can have these documents collected in a folder on your hard drive or have them downloadable on your website. Having a well-organized press kit is a double win: it makes your life easier and shows that you’re professional and invested in your own self-promotion.
As an event coordinator, when an author queried me about hosting an event I would ask for the following information:
- Book details (ISBN, publisher and/or distribution channels, pub date)
- A press release OR brief description of the book/project *
- A brief bio (<100 words)
- An author photo (high and low resolution)
- A cover image of your book (high and low resolution) **
- Contact information (for author and/or publicist)
This information would help me make a prompt decision about whether or not the book/event was right for our store. Having the press kit would also allow me to begin prepping the materials for our own marketing purposes as soon as we scheduled the event.
Beyond the basics, it’s also helpful to have at hand:
- Upcoming events
- Praise for you/your new book or project
- Links to social media for you and your book
- Any useful collateral materials (excerpts, educator resources, book trailers, websites, etc.)
- Backlist titles and publication details ***
A press kit also allows you to control (the best you can) the language that is used to market you, your book/projects, and any events you do. Make sure your bio is up-to-date and concise, your publication date current, etc. so that when a media outlet is looking to attribute something to you, they have accurate information. Having all the information in one place makes it easy to access these documents so an outlet or venue can use whatever information they need.
*Press release: a promotional document, usually a single page, concisely describing an upcoming book, event, or project. Often contains relevant images, blurbs, and bio(s).
**High resolution v. low resolution image: Resolution is the amount of data contained in an image, i.e. the dots-per-inch (dpi). A high resolution image is usually 300 dpi and used for printed documents. A low resolution image is usually 72 dpi and is used on the web.
***Frontlist v. backlist: Frontlist titles are the latest book(s) released by an author or publisher. Backlist titles are any books released prior to the current one(s).
Allison has happily made books her life’s work. She spent four years marketing and publicizing academic titles at The MIT Press before she went to work for Wellesley Books as a children’s bookseller and event coordinator. She organized, hosted, and promoted over 150 events during her tenure, ranging in size from intimate workshops and lunches to multi-media events with over 700 attendees. She is now living her dream: putting her B.A. in Creative Writing to good use as a novelist and book event coach. She enjoys science fiction, cupcakes, and a hot cup of tea. http://events.pottern.com. To learn more about engaging with your community bookstore or develop your own successful event and marketing plan, check out the talks and workshops Allison is leading this fall.