How to Create an Author Media Kit

As a writer, you know how to write a book, but marketing it is a whole different story (in another language). One part of your marketing plan should involve creating a media kit. Your media kit contains marketing content that you can distribute, post, publish, and have accessible on your website for members of the press, bloggers, and others to use to promote your book. Here’s what your media kit should contain and how to pull those pieces together


What is a Media Kit?

No matter how you format your media kit, as an author, you should have one.

No matter how you format your media kit, as an author, you should have one.

Your media kit’s purpose is to make you and your book available for promotion. It contains polished grab-and-go materials that you can share quickly and readily. Your media kit’s contents should be available on your website. You can do this a few ways:

  • Put the content in downloadable Word documents on your website
  • Have the content posted on your site for copy / paste use
  • Create a full media kit but only post limited information to your website (ex: your head shot and bio and the summary)

There’s no wrong way to do a media kit…other than to not have one. The better stocked your media kit is, the easier your book--your product-- will be to market.


Contact Information & Author Bio

So what does your media kit need? You need to tell people who you are and how they can reach you. Your contact information should include an e-mail address and links to your social platforms with handles. Ex:

Social media can be used to build an audience and to drive sales. When these links are included in press about your book, it can boost your following.

Social media can be used to build an audience and to drive sales. When these links are included in press about your book, it can boost your following.

You should also have a brief author bio. A good bio will include:

  • Where you reside·      
  • Past novels
  • Awards and honors

A little personal information –what do you enjoy? Do you reside with family? Have kids? Pets? Hobbies? Charities?– gives the bio texture. Let the bio humanize you. Note your bio should be short and sweet. Read other author bios for inspiration as to how to structure yours.


Press Release & Head Shot

Let a professional photographer who's experienced with taking head shots do yours.

Let a professional photographer who's experienced with taking head shots do yours.

A solid media kit also includes a press release and a headshot. The headshot should be a professional photo (sorry, no iPhone pics). Feel free to have more than one photo on the site. Consider any one of these popular formats:

  • One shoulder-up headshot
  • One three-quarters view shot
  • One black and white headshot

You can include a smiling or serious photo, one of you holding your book, one of you in an interesting place, etc. These are the photos you want bloggers and others to use if they write about you.

A good headshot can be in front of a solid background or a landscape of some kind. Do what fits the tone of your book and your author persona.

A good headshot can be in front of a solid background or a landscape of some kind. Do what fits the tone of your book and your author persona.

Meanwhile, your press release reveals the details of your new book or novel. Format this as a PDF or Word document that can be downloaded and easily sent via e-mail. The press release should include:

  • A header with the publisher (if you’re using a publisher)
  • The text FOR RELEASE with the date of the release and contact information (your agent if you have one; you if you do not) that includes an e-mail address and phone number
  • An image of the book jacket with sell or product information, which includes:
    • The ISBN & E-book number
    • Publisher (if not an indie manuscript)
    • Date of copyright
    • Date of publication
    • Price ($14.95) and format (ex: Trade Paper)
    • Print dimensions (ex: 6 x 9 / 175 pages)

The press release’s body text should reveal the following:

Not every source will publish your press release, but you can rest assured that  no  news source will publish your press release until you have one.

Not every source will publish your press release, but you can rest assured that no news source will publish your press release until you have one.

  • What the book is about
  •  The genre
  • What makes the book unique or interesting (if applicable)
  • Any review quotes that are particularly helpful
  • A brief about the author bio

Your press release sheet should be distributed to all news and radio outlets in your community as well as to places you frequently travel or might be visiting after your release. Keep an eye out for news related to your book and circulate your press release when and if your book's subject matter becomes topical. You can also send the release and parts of your media kit to bookstores and to other physical locales for book signings if your release isn’t completely electronic.

If your book is completely electronic, then you can use the release on blogs and other sites to promote Facebook and Twitter parties, for example.


A Real or Mock Interview about You & Your Writing

According to Thomas Woll in Publishing for Profit, there are two brand-related things that sell books. One of those things is in your control, and that’s author brand. Your author brand is one of your best resources for forging a meaningful connection with your audience. To facilitate that, have a real or mock interview as part of your media kit that gives readers insight into who you are; this should make them want to get to know you better. Start yours by answering this questionnaire.

  • Brief bio that includes current occupation, education, previous publications, and other earlier-mentioned bio content
  • What inspired you to write your book
  • What you enjoy doing
  • What you hope to do now that you’ve penned a book (write more? Save dolphins?)
The interview if your chance to let your audience get to know you...your inspiration...your persona.

The interview if your chance to let your audience get to know you...your inspiration...your persona.

Note it doesn’t hurt to include a sample first chapter or so of the book on your site's media page to encourage interested parties to want to read more and to promote you. Few people want to promote a product that they haven't experienced directly.


A Summary of Your Book

Your book summary is an important aspect of your media kit. The “what is this about” should be clear and prominent on your media page. Have a solid summary (like the kind that goes on the back of the dust jacket) published, so people can gain quickly understand your book’s genre, topic, themes, etc. I recommend having this one-minute summary in addition to a couple of others:

It never hurts to have a few ready-to-go synopses about your book.

It never hurts to have a few ready-to-go synopses about your book.

  • A slightly longer two-minute summary pitch
  • A short 30-second elevator pitch
  • A two-sentence summary

While it’s not essential to have all of these or to have them all posted on your site, you never know when you’ll be asked, “What’s your book about?” and if you’ll only have mere seconds to say, “Oh, it’s a good vs. evil-themed saga about a boy who has to save the world from an evil wizard.”


Get Inspiration from Other Authors

There's nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from the successful marketing techniques of other authors.

There's nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from the successful marketing techniques of other authors.

Keep in mind there's no wrong way to create a media kit. As you create your kit and comb through other authors’ media kits, you’ll find everyone’s is unique. Tailor your media kit to suit your needs. Your kit can be as full or as sparse as you'd like. The most important thing is that you have one and that you are accessible. You are an author; you are your brand. Your book is your product. Your media kit is your sales package, so take the time to make it as polished, presentable, and compelling as the book you want people to read.


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If lack of time, interest, or know-how are keeping you from creating a media kit, contact me, Vonnie York. I’m an editor with a decade of professional experience as well as a background in technical writing, journalism, and content marketing. I can help you put together a solid media kit for your book marketing strategy.