Have you published a book, or are you getting ready to publish one in the future? If so, you need an author media kit.
This guide will discuss how to create an impressive author media kit.
What is an Author Media Kit?
An author media kit is a collection of promotional resources that help journalists, reporters, and bloggers learn more about you and your books. At its core, an author media kit is a public relations tool. You’ll use it as a marketing tool but won’t distribute it to the general public. Primarily, your press kit markets you to the media. Those in the media will then use the resources in your kit to spread the word to your potential audience.
Unlike a press release, your author media kit is not a one-page document. Instead, your media kit will contain multiple files that, together, paint a picture of who you are as an author. It will also share critical information about your book that will help media outlets understand how to frame it for their audiences.
Who Receives Your Author Media Kit?
You’ll create your author media kit for various groups, primarily journalists and media outlets. This list can include book bloggers, podcast hosts, and reviewers. Your author media kit is for anyone who may tell others about your book.
The Benefits of Building an Author Media Kit
Why should you take the time to create your own author media kit? Here are the top benefits of doing so:
Make a Positive First Impression
By offering an author media kit, you present a professional image. Journalists, reviewers, and interviewers will appreciate your effort in marketing yourself. And they’ll be more likely to want to work with you.
Control Your Narrative
Instead of relying on the media to tell your story, you can take control of your narrative. Use your author media kit to define yourself on your own terms.
Keep All Your Resources in a Central Location
Make it easier for interviewers and reviewers to find the resources to feature you and your book. By building an all-in-one media file, you eliminate the need to send attachments one by one via email. Collecting your promotional resources all in one place will save their time and yours.
How to Build an Author Media Kit
What goes into an author media kit?
Write a Winning Bio
One document in your author media kit is a simple author bio. Writing an auto-bio is probably not your favorite thing, but this may ease your mind: Your bio can (and should) be short and sweet. Try to stay within 200 words. Because you have a small word count, your bio should be laser-focused on yourself as an author.
Remember, your target audience is the media, not the general public. Your bio should focus on what qualifies you as an author or subject matter expert. Share any professional awards you’ve received and highlight any media coverage you or your books have had in the past.
Include a Set of Photos
Some of you are already cringing at sharing a photo of yourself in your author media kit, but I assure you, it’s non-negotiable. Sharing your photo isn’t too much to ask. Humans are contextual beings, and we prefer to put a face with the name. That’s because your look, even though you didn’t choose it, gives us a glimpse into the story of who you are. Don’t overthink it. A simple series of three to five portrait photos is all you need to include in your author media kit.
Why have more than one photo? Give them options on which image to include in their write-ups. You don’t want to see the same picture of yourself plastered across multiple sites, do you?
Add Images of Your Book(s)
In addition to your smiling face, journalists want access to high-quality images of your book(s). This way, they don’t end up downloading a low-resolution image of your book cover from Amazon. You can include multiple sizes of your book (small - less than 400 pixels, medium - less than 1000 pixels, and large - greater than 1000 pixels).
Share Your Contact Information
Even though a journalist or blogger may have visited your website to find your author media kit, you still need to include your contact information. This up-to-date file will keep all your information, including your name, email, physical mailing address (for business inquiries), and social media links. It should also include your representation’s name and contact information, including your literary agent, manager, and publicist/public relations team.
Add a Q&A Sheet
In a perfect world, everyone would read your book cover-to-cover before reaching out to interview you about it.
But in the real world, few journalists read your entire book. They may read only the first few pages and skim the rest. (Even some book bloggers are guilty of doing this.)
Don’t get hung up on this. It’s part of the game. Your goal isn’t necessarily to convert the journalist into a reader but to reach out to the journalist’s sphere of influence and get them to become readers. So, you’ll need to know the rules of the game.
One of those rules is to provide a question-and-answer cheat sheet that includes potential discussion points for the upcoming interview. This document helps the journalist or segment producer find the right angle for presenting you and your book. They may use this document to come up with other questions, too.
Including discussion topics will simplify the interviewer’s job and allow you to guide the conversation into the issues you prefer. Think of this document as an invaluable interview resource.
This document should include a list of around ten questions. What common questions do you think your readers would have about you or your book? Potential questions include: How did you develop the idea of this novel? What inspires you to write? What advice would you give to new writers?
Be sure to include answers to these questions. Keep the answers short (within one paragraph each).
Share Book Information
Include a separate, one-page document for each book in your catalog. This document is known as the book sell sheet. It should contain all pertinent information about the book, which should include the following:
- Full Title (and Title series, if applicable)
- Author Name
- Page Count
- Publication date
- Synopsis (One to three paragraphs with no spoilers)
- Available Formats
- Where Sold/Available (List of Retailers)
- Reviews (Cherry pick the best reviews)
- Other books in your catalog (Share other books that you've written)
In addition to the synopsis you include in your sell sheet, add a book excerpt to your media kit. While most authors choose the first chapter, your selected passage can come from anywhere in your book. An excerpt should do three things:
- Be able to stand alone without requiring the reader to know the rest of the story.
- Give the reader a glimpse into your writing style.
- Engage the reader and make them want to continue reading.
Create a Google Folder
This folder is the nitty-gritty of creating your author media kit. The link to your media kit will be on your website, but you’ll host the kit’s contents elsewhere. The most accessible place to host your media kit is Google Drive. Google will provide you with free storage space to host your media kit, and with its easy access, most people find it simple to use.
Setting up your Google Drive folder can be done in a few steps. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to set up a Google account. Next, you’ll need to go to Google Drive. From there, follow these steps:
- Create a new folder.
- Name the folder "[Your Name or Your Book Name] Media Kit."
- Open the folder.
- Upload your files to the folder. Note: You can also create PDF files using Google Docs. To do this from Google Docs, select File, Download, and choose PDF document from the list. Then upload the PDF file to your Media Kit folder.
- Change share settings. In the main folder view, right-click on the folder and select "Share."
- Change access from "Restrict" to "Anyone with the link."
- Click "Copy link."
- Click "Done."
- Add the link to your website. Choose a page on your website, such as your "Contact Me" or "About Me" page, to add your media kit link.
- Paste the URL to your page.
- Test it from an incognito page to ensure the link works properly.
Be sure to follow these practices when creating your author media kit:
Create an Author Website
Before building an author media kit, you must create an author website. From your website, you can link to your media kit. While it's also true that you can share a link to your media kit without having a website, there are better practices. Your website should be the central hub for your author brand, including your books and media kit. Plus, linking to your website is much more professional than directly to a Google Drive. Check out this guide to making your author website here.
Stay on Message
Remember to keep your author media kit strictly on message. Only include information relevant to yourself as an author or your catalog of books. Nobody cares about your other hobbies unless they directly pertain to what you've written.
Use the Right File Format
Excluding your images, all your documents should be in PDF format. PDF stands for portable document format. This file type maintains formatting, meaning your documents will always look the same regardless of which device they use to view them. You won't have to worry about specialty fonts or graphics displaying incorrectly.
Label Your Files
When adding PDFs and images to your Media Kit folder, assign proper, easy-to-understand names, such as BookSellSheet.PDF, BookExcerpt.PDF, or AuthorImage1.JPG.
Prepare Your Author Media Kit Ahead of Time
Last but not least, make sure to build your author media kit before you've published the book. Build it now and tweak it later if needed. Doing it now takes one task off your to-do list but ensures that your media kit is ready to go when it's time to market your book. Also, remember that your media kit is never 100% complete. It should be a living document subject to frequent revisions.
Creating an author media kit is one of the best ways to impress potential interviewers, but it also allows you to control your image and story. Use the above tips to develop a professional author media kit.