Create an Effective Media Kit

A professional, informative media kit will open doors. Whether you need to position yourself with news outlets, pitch yourself as a conference speaker, or pursue signings with major booksellers, this kit should offer up a wealth of information about you and your work.

There are two ways to present information, a press kit and an online media kit.

A press kit is a nice folder filled with hardcopies of your information. These will be the most expensive option, but you have to have them. To keep costs in check, only send hardcopies to major media outlets in cities where you have scheduled signings at major bookstores, or to conference chairs where you are making a hard push for a speaking engagement. (Be sure to include a copy of your latest book or a sample chapter!)

Here’s a checklist of what to include:

  • Fast facts sheet (Bullet points only; first item they see;)
  • One page biography
  • One page of quotes about your work
  • Q&A or potential interview questions
  • A published Web or publication column written by you
  • Up to five recent news releases. (Do not make these more than one page.)
  • A mini book with the first chapter of your novel.
  •  Upcoming book signings
  • Contact sheet (include yourself, your publisher and publicist)
  • Features stories about yourself or your work
  • A CD with high resolution and low resolution artwork, including your photograph and cover art.
  • A hardcopy of photographs included on the art disc.
  • One each bookmarks, postcards, pens and other swag items
  • An individual introduction letter as to why you are sending this folder.

All of these elements will be part of your online media kit. On your Web site, you should have a tab or prominent link titled Media Center, Press Room, or, simply, Media or Press. Take the elements above and categorize them so they are easy to find. Any documents you have – Word documents like bios, credentials and fact sheets – should be copied and pasted verbatim into a Web page. Each item should also be offered in PDF form. For articles written by or about you, you can either create one Web page with the titles and publication dates, along with direct links to the news Web sites, or separate them into individual Web pages.

Your press area should also include a media-specific blog and an RSS feed so readers can be immediately updated when something new is posted. Have one tab for your portrait shots and one for cover art. Be sure to include different sizes of cover art (high resolution for magazines, low resolution for Web reproduction) and make them easily accessible through downloading.

Did you do a radio interview or have you taped yourself speaking at a conference and posted it on YouTube? These are excellent elements to include in an audio/video tab in your media area.

Your online press area should be the one-stop shop on all things you. You should have links to this site everywhere on the Web, including your Web site, blogs, social networks and forums where appropriate. It should be prominent in all news releases and e-mail correspondence.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t. You can do this. Chances are, you have much of this information already, it just may be scattered. Pull it together and concentrate on your hardcopy press kit first. Once you have those elements camera-ready, transfer them to the Web. Blogs are a great way to share and organize this information, especially inexpensive services like TypePad, which allows you to blog, host images and documents, and create Web pages.

If you are a member of a critique group, schedule one of your sessions around media kits. Bring what you have, get feedback and borrow ideas from your peers. Don’t hesitate to ask professionals in groups like PRSA to evaluate your kit, and, if you can, find out from someone you know in the media what works for them. This will help you create a kit that is versatile and appealing to a wide audience.

Copyright 2008 Angela Wilson