Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Creating a Media Kit for Yourself

21 May 2014

Confession: I have been to more than my fair share of webinars of late. I’ve learned that “webinar” = “We will sell you something.”
That’s not always a bad thing, though.
So I attended (aka sat in my living room chair in my jammies) a webinar earlier today about creating media kits and press releases for indie authors. Except, as it turns out, not just indie authors.
In this webinar, I learned there are seven audiences for your media kit:

Seven Audiences for Your Kit/Book

  1. journalists, which includes freelancers
  2. bloggers
  3. book reviewers
  4. retailers
  5. individual buyers
  6. event planners
  7. anyone who wants to promote you or your book (editor, podcaster)

When they got to #6, I was sold. Remember those frustrations I’ve been uttering over the years, speaking as a programming head? About how someone wants to speak and how it can be hard to figure out who they are with minimal effort?

Your Number One Goal

  • make their job easy

Yes, please.
Rick has a saying that I try to keep in mind, “Make it easy for people to help you.”

Another Confession

I love media kits. Not just for people, but for hotels. Did you know the Burj al Arab has a media kit? And that you can download beautiful high-res pictures like this one in 3500×2533 size, perfect for any desktop background?
Yeah, I get that we’re probably not going to wind up as a desktop background for anyone. But that’s not the point. The point is: make it easy for people to get the information they need for writing about your work or contacting you.

But…My Publisher

Yes, if you’re a writer published by a larger house, your publisher probably has made a media kit for you and your book. Depending on how they work things, you may not be able to provide an electronic form of that on your website.
The catch is, your publisher’s interest only extends so far. Their goal is to promote their current catalog. Your interest is to promote you.
You can make your own media kit for you as a writer, though you shouldn’t work at cross purposes to the publicist at your publisher without a good reason. (A good reason can include: you’re also being published elsewhere, including indie publishing, or you’re about to branch out into a different genre, etc.)

Flipping the Table for a Minute

Speaking as a convention runner for a minute, I’d like to give you some ideas of what it’s like coming in to run programming for a convention.

  1. You’ll get a long list of people you mostly don’t know, or don’t know well. Sometimes that list is literally just name and email address. Sometimes you have a short bio, but that’s unusual in my experience. It’s also unusual to get the person’s website, so you have to look them up.
  2. Some people will write in to be on programming. Some of these people are wonderful, and others are people you shouldn’t consider for any reason. Naturally, it’s not obvious which is which. Note: if you are writing in to be on programming, please assume the person receiving your email has no idea who you are. Provide information about who you are and why you’d be interesting, but also please do not be overly familiar. Receiving something lewd intended for someone else is awkward at best.
  3. You’ll need to make a balanced schedule, including some from the first two lists, and some new names.
  4. You have to make a call based on really limited information, such as what’s on someone’s web site, about whether or not to have them as a speaker.
  5. A media kit is more than I need, typically, but it wouldn’t hurt.

Coming Back Around to the Webinar

The intro pricing on the media kit template, good through Monday May 26th, is incredibly competitive at $67. Here’s the link to purchase. (Note: not an affiliate or anything.)
If you don’t currently have any media kit or anyone doing public relations for you, then this package seems to be a great place to start. The author, Joan Stewart, has been a newspaper editor, and has therefore been on the other side of media and press kits over the years.
Another thing I don’t know if the kit mentions: please give photo credit to your photographer(s) and also specify photo rights. This is the standard in journalism, and too frequently I see zero credits given. Any media outlet is going to need to know that they have the right to reproduce a photo for editorial use, so please make the rights clear.
Also: please have black-and-white photos available, too, because that photo that looks great in color is going to look horrible if it’s converted without care. Many print publications are in black and white.

Most of the writer sites I’ve been to, including my own, don’t have a media kit link that I can find. The usual places you’ll find that linked are:

  1. From the “About” page, which is typically a top-level page. Example from Tiffany Reisz.
  2. From the links in the footer that include things like Privacy Policy and Copyright. Example from Apple. Note: if you have infinite scrolling turned on as a feature (which I hate), don’t put anything here.

Those are the two most likely places to look. If you have anything in the footer, the media kit link should also be here. The footer has the advantage of being one click from any page, where a media kit link off the About page is generally two clicks.

One More Tiny Plea

If you’re published by a small press, in your book blurb on your site, please make the publisher name be a live link to their site and, if possible, your book on their site. I know this sounds incredibly obvious, but you’d be surprised how infrequently it’s true.

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