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The Essential Author Media Kit for Promotion in 2021

Written by

Sarah Rexford

https://selfpublishing.com/author/sarah-rexford/

Published on

2021-06-24

Your author media kit, or press kit, is a thought-out, tangible way to promote yourself and your book with the intention of landing some form of publicity.

When creating your media kit, it’s crucial to first consider your audience.

Just as your book proposal is not for your readers, neither is your media kit. This kit is for potential interviewers, book store owners, bloggers, or anyone who may be interested in featuring you or your book.

Think of it as a tangible elevator pitch: Your elevator pitch tells your entire story (ending included) so editors, marketers, etc., know what they’re working with. 

Your marketing kit should include material that gives potential marketers information about you. Not teaser material, but concrete examples of your credibility as a writer, and of course, an excerpt from your book.

free copy of published for authors and writers

As we go through these three points, keep this one question at the forefront of your mind: What makes me and my book unique?

author media kit cover image

This guide to creating your author media kit covers:

  1. What is an author media kit?
  2. What is typically in a media kit?
  3. Why does an author media kit matter?
  4. How to make an author media kit
  5. Next steps to take

What is an author media kit?

Your author media kit is your writing resume. Remember graduating high school or college and needing a resume to land that first job? Maybe you spent hours organizing your past experiences into perfect bullet point lists with engaging headers.

Today, you may put your work experiences online via LinkedIn or a page on your writer website.

In a resume you’d include your contact information, who you are, what you do, etc. The same is true for your author media kit. 

When creating your kit, start by going through this check-list. You may want to exclude one more of these points, or include other points, depending on who you send your media kit to (a TV station will need different content than a blogger). 

What is typically in a media kit?

To start, here is what should be in your author media kit:

  • Cover sheet (think of it as a title page for your kit)
  • Author name (if you write with a pen name, use it)
  • Contact information
  • Website link
  • Author biography
  • Author headshot
  • Business card
  • Endorsements or testimonials
  • Recent articles
  • Best press mentions (or if you’re just starting, your most recent will work as well)
  • Book excerpt  

Feel free to include details unique to you as an author or to your book. If you have merchandise for readers and it sells well, this may be beneficial to include. Perhaps you write a middle grade series set at a summer camp and you happened to be the head of camp activities for ten years.

This detail would reinforce why you are uniquely credible to author this series.

Why does an author media kit matter?

If you want to land a TV interview, it’s important to present yourself in a credible way. 

The above list may seem a bit overwhelming, or maybe you feel unsure about the time commitment necessary for creating a media kit, so remember why it matters.

As a writer, the majority of your time should be spent writing, but you also need to market yourself if you’re going to build a strong readership. 

Social media is one way to market yourself. However, if your social media is full of salesy posts, you’re likely to lose followers, and therefore, lose potential readers.

Landing author interviews, getting shelf space in your local bookstore, guest blogging, all of these are ways to build your following without going on social media simply to post links to buy your book.

But how do you gain those author interviews, shelf space, or blogging opportunities?

It starts with credibility.

Your local news station isn’t going to give that time slot to just anyone.

Creating a professional author media kit is a great way to boost your credibility for those who don’t yet know your name or your work.

It’s one thing to say, “I wrote a book and it’s on Amazon, will you interview me?”

It’s another to say, “Here is a kit of my work, endorsements, previous interviews, and an excerpt from my book. I think your viewers would connect with my book and I would love to share my story with them. My contact information is on page one. Thank you for your time!”

If you’re still unsure why you need an author media kit, think of it this way: You are a professional in your chosen field and need something to represent your work.

Actors have acting reels: A several minute highlight reel of their best acting from the different TV shows, films, or commercials they’ve been in. Models have portfolios of their headshots, photos from their varied work experience, or both. Photographers have online galleries of their past bookings.

In every instance, the professional’s work is condensed into an easy-to-see format that showcases the work experience and is presented in a credible and engaging way.

The same should be true for you.

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of creating a media kit and what to include, how do you do so?

How to make an author media kit

Just like writing a book, creating an author media kit starts with a blank page.

When writing a book, it’s often easiest to start with your front matter. You can easily complete several pages without even writing the first sentence of your book. For your author media kit, steal this format.

Start with your cover sheet.

List every main aspect that you’ll include (without page numbers yet) and then, depending on your personality, work from there.

If long to-do lists overwhelm you, complete the easiest aspects first (such as your recent articles and author bio). Or, if you’re a procrastinator, you might want to start with the more difficult aspects (such as your choosing which endorsements to use and selecting your best press mentions).

Wherever you start, make sure you don’t get too focused on the details. This is your first draft. It’s crucial to get everything down. You can edit later.

Here are a few tips as you begin creating your media kit:

  1. Cover sheet
    • List page numbers after you’re satisfied with every word and done drafting. This will save you time and ensure your page numbers are correct.
  2. Author name
    • Use the exact spelling you have on your book cover. If you use your middle name or initial, include this in your author name.  
  3. Contact information
    • Double check to make sure all your contact information is up to date, including the author email address.
  4. Website link
    • Briefly click through your website pages to ensure everything is in working order and that your author bio on your website correlates with the author bio in your media kit.
  5. Author biography
    • This can be written in first person or third. First will have a more personal touch, but if you do choose to go with first person, make sure it’s still professional.
  6. Author headshot
    • Your headshot should be taken by a professional photographer. They will help you with posing and with background. Usually a blank wall in soft natural light works well, or professional studio lighting. Make sure you dress in a way that best presents you and your author brand, and that your personality comes through in the shot. Include both a black and white and a full color headshot.
  7. Business card
    • You can create your own business cards quite easily. A simple online search will provide you with numerous options. If you feel uncomfortable with design, hiring a professional graphic designer may help you reach your desired outcome with less stress.
  8. Endorsements or testimonials
    • Don’t go overboard here, but also don’t be shy about including your best endorsements.
  9. Recent articles
    • A quick read through for any missed typos will go a long way in taking your media kit from good to great.
  10. Best press mentions
    • Again, don’t go overboard but don’t be shy. Your media kit needs to present a clear and accurate picture of both you and your book.

Next steps to take

Now that you have your author media kit completed, it’s time to send it out into the world! 

A great place to start is by creating a page on your author website. Simply create a new blank page, title it appropriately (something like example.com/media-kit works well) and reformat your media kit onto this page. 

You may also want to create a PDF form on your website. This allows for easy download access as well as printing if a particular company asks for a hard copy.

Now, when a TV station, blogger, or interviewer asks for your media kit, you can respond in a timely manner with zero stress. 

Creating your very own author media kit is no small feat. 

You took the time to do the appropriate research and create the best product you could. Celebrate your accomplishment. 

Then get out there and start interviewing.

It’s time to promote your book

free copy of published for authors and writers
Sarah Rexford