Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Writing Wednesday: Media Kits and Press Releases

So, you may have visited last week and seen that I HAVE MY NEW BOOK COVER! Let me revise that statement - I HAVE MY NEW BEAUTIFUL ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS BOOK COVER!!!

Did you miss it? Shall I post it here again? Oh, go ahead... ogle a bit...

So... now what? Now... on to the hard(er) work of promoting the book before it's released.

I'd like to think that once the book is released, word of mouth will have it flying off the shelves. But how to get those first few mouths to talk about my book?

I downloaded a simple guide to book promotion, telling me the pieces I need to have for a press kit, what to include in each piece, etc.

For those of you wondering, a simple book press kit should contain the following:

1. a cover page (a simple letter addressed to the recipient)
2. an author bio
3. an About the Book page
4. a fact sheet (info about the book that a bookseller uses to look up the book thru distribution channels)
5. book reviews (if available)
6. events calendar (if available)
7. a press release (if appropriate)

Some people put the actual book into the press kit. Or a link/code for the reader to get a copy of the ebook for free. (Especially if you're looking for reviews. Give them the book.)

I would add (and plan to add) that if you have color postcards of your book cover, or even book marks, you might want to include one of those. (My mother in law, a former PR guru, suggested printing the event listings onto book marks, and to change them as appropriate.)

Photos are also always good for local press coverage. Many local papers are itching to have more images to add interest to their pages, especially if you're a local author and are flexible with timing. Good human interest story for a slow news day.

Another caveat is that many places are all electronic now, even some local papers prefer to get everything via email so that it's easier to cut and paste. My girl scout troop had a lot of success getting their press releases and photos in the local papers when the girls emailed them. Made it so easy for the editor to drop them right onto the page.

But wait. I should know this stuff. I used to actually work in advertising. I did public relations as, you know, a real job for a while. So... Why is this different?

Trust me. It is. Not that it's hard to promote a good product - and I do think this book will be a great product - but the whole self-promotion thing gives me the willies.Tooting my own horn doesn't come naturally to me. So I'm trying to pretend it's a product. That this Katie O'Sullivan person is just a client. Otherwise, my mind goes blank and I hear crickets chirping in the recesses of my (empty) head.

Any advice? Words of wisdom? Sample press releases you wish to share?

What do you find to be the hardest part of promotion and marketing? And how did you do it? Or how do you plan to do it in the future?


  1. Thanks for the great advice, Katie. I'm with you about self promotion. It doesn't come easy to me, either.

    Love your cover!

  2. Good stuff, Katie! I think women especially are conditioned that self-promotion is bragging and vain. I have a hard time with it, especially in job interviews. But it's a necessary evil. Good luck with your book!

  3. I have no idea, so I'm going to do exactly what you're doing! :D


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