As we’ve previously discussed, PR is an integral component to a comprehensive marketing strategy for an independent author. Developing a public relations strategy means taking a proactive approach to generating awareness for your name and brand as an author in the media. The basis of a good PR strategy is to have a press kit, or media kit, as it is sometimes called, organized, assembled, and easy to update. Maintaining current documents and keeping it all organized ensures that your information is ready for distribution when you need it. Your press kit can be a digital PDF file, or it can be a link that you send out that sends people to a page on your website that allows you to maintain and update all of your press information accordingly.
Press kits can be distributed to any number of media contacts such as independent bloggers, organizations, and associations, among others. A solid press kit for an independent author should include the following five elements:
An author bio – Invest time in creating a captivating author bio because this bio can be used for multiple different purposes. A bio is not an autobiography, so be sure to keep information concise, interesting, and relevant. Examples of quality information include how you arrived at your current status and any important influences that pertain to your writing. Although this is not part of your bio, it is also important to include contact information to be able to reach you or the appropriate liaison.
A high-resolution photo – Ideally the best option is to take the time and money to invest in a professional photographer to shoot even just a few photos of you. Having a professional image of yourself projects professionalism and that you want to be taken seriously. Nothing screams amateur more than grainy and blurry photos that have been cropped from another image whose original intention was not promotional in nature. Additionally, professional quality photos can be used as your profile picture on social channels as well.
Don’t have the money, you say? There are several creative ways of procuring professional quality photos without a huge monetary investment. Ways include asking friends to help you out, contacting a photography club, or reaching out to a photography class and inquiring if anyone is looking to build his or her portfolio.
Current Press Release – The current press release is the core reason for drawing attention to your press kit in the first place. Be certain that when you are sending out your press kit, you have something newsworthy to say. You don’t want to exhaust your media contacts and inundate them with trivial information. That could potentially be grounds for getting blacklisted from his or her inbox. If you aren’t sure what qualifies as newsworthy, take a look at this article on ways for self-publishing authors to use press releases.
Using services such as the iReach interface provided in the Kbuuk App Store increases the likelihood of being seen by the right eyes and opening you up to exposure among the right audience. Also you will have a professional press release to add to your press kit for future use.
Previous Press Releases & Media Coverage – Providing links to previous press releases and media coverage showcases what you’ve done in the past. If you don’t have any previous press releases or media coverage, don’t worry, you can use this opportunity to provide Q&A material that provides answers to questions you believe your audience may want to know about the particular work you are promoting, or spend extra time developing your marketing piece to make sure that it is especially captivating.
A Marketing Piece – The marketing piece is an opportunity to sell your work, while all of the other elements of the press kit are informational in nature, the marketing piece provides room for creativity and excitement. The marketing piece can be as simple as a flyer with cover art thumbnails and blurbs for previous works. If you don’t have any previous works this could become a showpiece for your current work, such as a book trailer.
Heather Wied is the Resident Writer and Marketing Director for the Kbuuk self-publishing platform. Follow @Kbuuk on Twitter.
Founded in 2011, Kbuuk’s mission is to empower independent authors to publish ebooks quickly and conveniently. Equipped with a suite of powerful and intuitive tools, authors can also engage readers and track sales to refine products and strategy. Anyone can create a Kbuuk account and access services once reserved for writers who could get past the gatekeepers of the publishing industry. Kbuuk is a privately held company headquartered in Houston, TX.