A professionally assembled
press kit is one of the most important tools an author can have while waiting
for your next big novel to go viral on the internet.
Let me preface the article
with a disclaimer. This is only the opinion of this new author, based on the
experiences of the following practices named in the article since October 2011.
First of all, the several
writers groups, crit groups, seminars, workshops, and online classes I have
been privileged to be a member of have allowed me to pick up tricks of the
trade, and have a head start when my first novel was published. Without them, I
would be floundering around trying to figure out what to do. Oh, I continue to
learn, research, and try to find the next big marketing secret, and will
continue to do so. However today, I want to share a success story with you that
came about quite by accident. Keep in mind, I had a website set up, a blog,
joined all the social sites necessary, etc. With all that in place, I felt
pretty confident I had covered all the bases. Not so.
At several different writing
groups, programs were presented about the importance of a press kit. You would
take these kits and approach the newspapers, TV, radio, and so on. VERY important,
yes indeed. Different speakers suggested different materials to be assembled in
this press kit. If you do not have a press kit assembled think about preparing
one. It sure comes in handy.
One of my troupe and I
decided we needed to find more venues to have book signings. Another troupe
member invited us to a festival to share a booth and that invitation set us off
on a whirlwind ride. We bonded, and included another member.
The newspapers sometimes run
your press release, and sometimes they don’t, but when a business approaches the
newspaper for a promotion the papers seem to listen. So press kit in hand, we
dressed in our business suits, kits tucked away in a nice portfolio, along with
our book, ready to shake hands with the proprietors of the towns. To our pleasant
surprise, these proprietors took notice that we arrived dressed professionally,
well spoken, with portfolio in hand. One venue even served us tea and crumpets
while we discussed the possibility of the event. When she asked us what our
books were about, where we were from, etc., we each pulled out our preassembled
press releases with every possible piece of information. Bios, blurbs about our
book, head shots, even the book itself. She was impressed and signed us right
away. The well thought out press kit sold her. She had all the information to
help us promote the signing and had nothing more to do. The promo was in a
couple of newspapers in our area, there was an ad run on the local radio
stations, and when we arrived for the actual event, our head shots, one pages,
book covers were set up nicely on a bulletin board right by the door. That was
one of the most successful signings we’ve had. (We have since returned to that
venue, and will continue to do so; they were so taken by the group.)
It isn’t always easy to
appear personally at a venue to set up a signing, and I have set up a
professional email which includes most of the elements necessary to convey what
they need to know about me and my next best seller. I have had wonderful
response from that, in fact, that is how I acquired two television appearances
in a town almost two hours from me. Set up a professional looking email and
include every piece of information they might need in a neat, concise package.
What has our success rate
been? Well, we have not had an open weekend since January of this year, and we
are booked through the summer and beyond. Are we selling books? Yes!
In this highly competitive
field, people online are overwhelmed with authors trying to sell their books.
It’s wonderful to see so much talent out there! But, if you are looking to make
a little money while you wait for the royalties to come in, don’t discount a good
old–fashioned book signing.
What is in a press kit? This
is only a partial list; feel free to tweak your kit to fit your needs. I’d love
to hear what you put in yours!
1.A short bio, a
medium bio, a longer bio. If you have all three, you will be prepared to
present what the vendor requires on the spot. Be efficient.
headshot. If you cannot afford a professional picture present the best photo
you have for your press kit.
3. A One Page….this
is a page designed anyway you like on your document that gives a description of
you, along with headshot, and a description of your book with a picture of your
book cover. This way, if they need corporate permission, they can scan this One
Page to the corporate office. Be sure and include your email and website on
this page. I have used this often. All the information on one page. Neat and
invoice. Think positive, you will sell
the corporate office. Have an invoice with a picture of you on the header,
email, website, AND the price of the book already to go. All you have to do is
fill in the name of the corporation and the date and voila, they can fax it
5. Business cards
with your email and/or website.
6.Book marks. These
are great giveaways even to the vendors. It will keep you in their mind after
7. A list of
questions. I have a list of 5 most important questions I would want someone to
ask, say for a radio or television interview. I also have a list of 10
questions for blogging interviews, and being the optimist I am, a list of 20
questions for a more intense interview. If you provide the questions, the
vendor is less likely to have to scratch his head wondering what he will ask
you. Plus, if you hone your answers, you will be prepared to answer impromptu
questions, such as I had to do on my two television appearances.
Think about forming a troupe. The best
case scenario...people who live in separate towns close enough to travel to
and fro. Advertise those people on your flyers. Don’t discount passing out
flyers in the town you will be appearing in. It works.
These are all I am going to share at this
time. I’d love feedback on what you provide in your press kit and how you use
When you present a professional look, when
you are prepared, the doors open.
A few days ago, I posted to Facebook and Twitter about a new feature I discovered. It might not be new to you, but it was to me.
It's called Kindlegraph. You can now sign up on www.kindlegraph.com and upload your book. This allows anyone who purchases your book on Kindle to go to the site and request your signature. You receive a notice through email, click on the link provided, and you are able to write a personal message, and sign your name.
It is uploaded to their Kindle the minute you hit the send button. I love this! I have made up some plain business cards on my computer, printed them out on stiff linen paper, and created a Kindlegraph card. At my book signings, when someone who is interested in my book says, "Oh, I have a Kindle." I hand them this card along with my regular business card. I explain to them I would be happy for them to download to Kindle and more than happy to autograph it for them. I've put all the information on the card in business card form, so it is easy for them to follow.
This is just one more way to make it convenient for our readers and keep up with the modern trend of ebooks. To all those fellow authors who have passed along tips to me, I wanted to share this with you if you haven't seen this already.
So, bottom line is, you can STILL autograph books, even if they use their Kindle exclusively. How much fun is that? I am not aware if Nook or any of the rest of the ereaders have this feature. If they do, and you know about it, I hope you will contact me, and share that information.
I love to give encouraging quotes on my Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis for writers who face the daily, daunting task of marketing in this ever changing world of publishing. Today, I am going to post this information instead of a quote. I hope it helps someone out there to find a new twist to their book signings, and for those that are ebook authors only, what a great added feature for you!