Authors sabotage their books in two very common ways, both of which are symptoms of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.
Monkey wrench #1
Not knowing how much work goes into producing a good book (therefore, failing to do the work)
Monkey wrench #2
Trying to generate publicity for a book without a press kit/media kit, even if it’s only one page
It’s easy to be irritated by or make fun of the authors who simply don’t know what they don’t know. Our annoyance comes from assuming they could know if they tried. In reality, some writers aren’t capable of recognizing that what they’re doing differs somehow from the efforts of successful authors. We can’t rescue the blissfully ignorant from failure. The best we can do is politely ignore them.
The upside, if you’re an author, is that you can remove monkey wrench #2 in one weekend with a reasonable amount of effort. If you’re super busy, you can hire someone to do it for you.
You can become much more attractive as an interviewee or event participant when your press kit can be downloaded by anyone who takes an interest. If it’s not available online, then at the very least, your press kit should be assembled and ready to send by courier whenever it’s requested by a reporter, producer, blogger, or book reviewer.
Make it easy for people who need to know more about you and your book. Show them you’re professional, and you’ll avoid being politely ignored.
Exhibit the Dunning-Kruger Effect by reading no further
If you recognize that being discoverable, approachable, and professional will help you draw more attention to your book and yourself, then continue reading.
Press kit primer
Be sure to have your press kit compiled before you need it.
Your press kit must be downloadable, or forwarded immediately upon request, so the person inquiring can read your book, learn something about you, and prepare interview questions or schedule an event.
Step 1: Assemble a press sheet
If you really like your publisher’s information sheet (sell-sheet) for your book, then ask permission to include it in your press kit. If you prefer, you can create your own press sheet using these guidelines:
Social Media News Release Template, Version 1.5
Todd Defren, Shift Communications
Advance Information Sheets (AIs)
Welsh Book Trade Info
A one-page press sheet includes brief biographical information about you, the author. You might be lucky enough to enjoy the assistance of a publicist when writing your bio, or you can refer to these tips:
How to Create an Engaging and Effective Bio Page
Georgiana Cohen, Work Awesome
Don’t forget to include on your one-page press sheet:
- Book cover image
- Book title
- Your name and city
- Page count
- URL for your book’s page on your publisher’s site
- URLs for your book’s page on your favorite bookseller sites
- Name of publisher, publication date, and territory
- Prizes/awards for this title (only if it was the grand-prize winner)
- Stupendous blurbs and/or awesome review excerpts
- Your bio and maybe your headshot
- Your blog or website URL
- When and how far you’ll travel for interviews, book club meetings, events
- Contact information (your publicist’s or yours)
Step 2: Assemble a press kit
Follow the links below to find out what else you’ll need or want to add to your press kit. There’s more, but you’ll need to leave this page to discover it.
What on Earth Do I Put in My Media Kit?
L. Diane Wolfe, Spunk on a Stick
Book Marketing: Your Online Press Kit
Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer
Is Your Author Website Ready to Meet the Press?
Chris Robley, BookBaby Blog
I like the idea of including a sheet of sample questions and answers. Writing them is an effective way to prepare yourself for an interview, regardless of whether the questions are ever used.
Step 3: Use your press kit
The individual to whom your press kit is being sent will choose the format: digital or hard copy. Ask which format the person prefers. Be prepared to send either version. Don’t just provide the URL, but do make a version of your press kit/media kit available to download from your website or blog.
A version of your press kit should be on your website, because not everyone will go to the trouble of contacting you for information. It’s simpler and faster to pay attention to authors whose websites are comprehensive. Reporters and producers with deadlines have no time to waste, and there’s never a shortage of authors seeking media attention.
After you’ve finished putting together an attractive press kit and you’ve posted a version on your website, then sit back and smile, knowing you’ve removed one of the biggest obstacles that might have prevented other people from helping you to promote your book.
If you’d like to share your press sheet or press kit as an example, feel free to post a link to it in the comments section of this post. You might have noticed people talking about this one a while ago.