What’s in Your Media Kit?

by Tracy Ruckman

One of the first tasks authors should tackle when their first book is scheduled for release is build a media kit. This task applies to both traditionally published and self-published authors. Assembling the kit before the book is released will save hours and frustration later and having a media kit could provide you with more opportunities for outreach.

Purpose of a Media Kit

The main purpose of the media kit is convenience – you want to make it easy for anyone wanting to promote or interview you about your book to get information quickly. Before the internet, media kits were physical packets assembled and mailed out to publicists and editors of newspapers and magazines. Today, the media kit is usually a dedicated page on your website where publicists, editors, bloggers, media outlets, and others can grab your information instantly.

You can provide the information two ways (and providing it both ways is a huge plus): as individual elements that can be downloaded or copied/pasted by whoever needs it; and as a single downloadable pdf. The pdf would include all the elements listed below.

What to Include in Your Media Kit

  • Headshots – provide two to four different types of headshots, with various poses from casual to formal and in different color clothing. Use professional quality shots and provide them in high resolution formats, in jpeg format. The variety will allow each outlet to decide which image best fits for their readers and their format, and the high resolution will give them the best quality so they can make the photo any size they need. (If you provide a low resolution image, your picture will be grainy and pixelated, so it might not get used.)
  • Book cover image – provide the front cover image of your book, also with high resolution.
  • Back cover blurb
  • Your bios – Please provide two bios, one long and one short, and identify them as such. The short bio should be around 100 words, the long bio 200-250 words. Write them in 3rd person. Some markets may allow or want longer bios, while others can only use the short ones.
  • Press releases – Press releases are optional, but they’re handy to have on hand. If you don’t know how to write one, you’ll need to learn. Press releases follow a specific format and layout, so if you make them available in your media kit, you’ll need to do it correctly.
  • List of links to your website/blog, links to your book, links to your top social media pages
  • Media – If you are a speaker or teacher, or if you’ve already conducted some radio interviews or podcasts, include video and/or audio clips of some of those in your media kit. These samples will let media see and hear your personality to know how you’ll best fit their own programs.
  • List of Topics/Themes – Including a list of speaking topics and/or themes in your book serves different purposes. The list provides media with talking points, especially as they are relevant in today’s headlines, while also providing event organizers ideas for how to use you in their programs. The list also serves as keywords for SEO purposes, so your website/blog can be found under searches for those themes, which could bring you new readers or opportunities.
  • Events – If you already have experience as a speaker or workshop presenter, list those events with dates, locations, topics presented.

Safety

In today’s world, we must take safety precautions, and this includes within your media kit. Press releases must contain contact information but use caution in sharing your home address or phone number. I always recommend that my clients leave out both of those in their online kits, but be sure to provide other options, like a business e-mail address (or two) and social media contacts. If you have a dedicated phone line for your business that’s listed publicly, you may list it, but remember that the information in your media kit will now be accessible by anyone worldwide.

Media kits are great marketing tools. Review your media kit once or twice a year, adding updates and deleting older information. Remember to keep it professional and put your best self in the spotlight.


One of the best ways to learn is to look at what others are doing. Here are a few excellent media kits I found online:

Lori Roeleveld: https://loriroeleveld.com/press/
Elizabeth Noyes: http://elizabethnoyeswrites.com/media-kit/
Rachel Hauck: http://www.rachelhauck.com/media/
Edie Melson: http://ediemelson.com/media/
Matt Patterson: http://matt-patterson.com/mediakit

Writing Prompt: Choose one of the bulleted items above and create it as a promotional tool for your latest release.

Click to Tweet: A #media kit makes it easy for anyone wanting to #promote or interview you about your book to get information quickly. What’s in Your Media Kit @TracyRuckman @InspiredPrompt


Tracy Ruckman is an entrepreneur, writer, and photographer. As a book publisher, she’s published over 100 books, and is current publisher at TMP Books. She logs her journey as artist, writer, and screenwriter at The Thriving Artist on Patreon, and interviews artists and entrepreneurs on her Tracy Ruckman blog. Her artwork is available in her Zazzle store.

Julie B. Cosgrove’s The Bunco Biddies Keep Sleuthing

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By Shimer College (1942 yearbook of Shimer College) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever gathered around a group of elderly ladies who have known each other for years? My mother had a “crowd” who called themselves The Bridge Club. Back during WWII, they would gather to play cards once a week to help keep each other sane while the hubbies were off to battle. I was not born yet, but my siblings tell me that they gathered during the day while the older ones were in school and younger ones napped on the cool floor of the kitchen.

By the time I came along, the activities had grown to include barbecues and shared vacations at the beach with the husbands and kids. Yet, the ladies still played Bridge weekly…for decades! No one could pull any punches with the others. They knew each other way too well. It was a hoot to eavesdrop on some of their conversations. “Now, Mary, you always react that way…” “When did you ever like her, dear?” “Honey, you and I both know….” They were so different in social backgrounds, lifestyles and financial security, yet loved each other intensely, bound by years of companionship.

Although all are now deceased save one, growing up around these amazing women became the inspiration for my Bunco Biddies Mysteries, twelve active senior citizens living in a retirement community. They play Bunco every Thursday while sharing recipes and mild gossip. When crime begins to encroach their small town of Alamoville, Janie, the widow of a renown Austin detective, decides they can help the struggling police department solve crimes—much to the chagrin of her son-in-law, Blake, who has recently become Chief Detective.

Threes, Sixes, & Thieves is the third one in the series. It released last December and is actually based on an experience I had as a church secretary. We were on lockdown for six hours as swarms of police conducted a manhunt for a person who’d shot a patrol officer. Our church became their command center. Of course I had to write about it!

When thieves begin to burgle residences with only three and sixes in the address, Janie detects a pattern and enlists the Bunco Biddies to stake out the one she thinks may be next. They call it in, and after a scuffle of gunshots, one escapes. The manhunt begins. When no one can locate the arresting officer later, she suspects something dicey.

The first, Dumpster Dicing, won Best Cozy 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors, and is about the newest resident, a grouchy old man who didn’t get along with anyone, ending up dead in the community dumpster. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past?

The second, Baby Bunco, involves an abandoned newborn in a vacant condo’s bathtub. Since no one has heard from the Lord that they will have children in their old age like Sarai, the Biddies suspect this could be the birth of a new crime wave.

The fourth one, Til Dice Do Us Part, releases later this summer, if all goes well with the publishing house, Pelican Book Group.

I am also under contract with Write Integrity Press for a new mystery series called The Relatively Seeking Mysteries. Don’t you love that title? The Editor in Chief’s teenage daughter came up with it. The three books will revolve around three thirty year old friends who begin to delve into genealogies and discover a few skeletons others want kept in the ancestral closets. The first, One Leaf Too Many, is scheduled to launch in November, 2018.


Besides writing mysteries, I am also a digital missionary. That means I write, and mostly edit, devotional and inspirational articles for the internet branch of Campus Crusades. The two websites, TheLife.com (faith-based) and IssuesIFace.com, (more secularized because we believe Jesus meets us in the middle of our messes), generated over 14 million clicks in 2017 alone. Over 550,000 worldwide internet viewers were exposed to the Gospel. Many persecuted Christians use the sites as their main contact with other believers.  IIF is now being translated into Spanish, French, Hindi and Arabic, and our prayer is to add seven more languages in the next five years. Working with translators, we are also seeking mentors in those languages, as well as English, to communicate online with people who read our articles and want to find out more about the Christian life. My own blog, Where Did You Find God Today, has readership in over fifty countries.

Julie Cosgrove

When I am not editing or writing, I cozy up on my sofa with my two housecats and read, watch clean mysteries on TV, or play word games with friends. I also conduct women’s and writers’ workshops.

For more information on my books and my ministry, go to www.juliebcosgrove.com.

My books, including my romance novellas, suspense, and contemporary women’s novels are available on Amazon.  https://www.amazon.com/Julie-B-Cosgrove/e/B0078N9F80/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1523491464&sr=1-2-ent

 

Where Should I Spend My Book Marketing Dollars?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Hmm. That’s an interesting question. For the past 12 years, I’ve worked on perfecting the craft of writing, making connections, growing my blogs, and finishing my novel. The time for marketing is drawing near. My debut novel will release in June of 2019, so marketing is foremost on my mind at this time. (Besides my edits)

How should I invest money for the greatest return? Here’s a few of my ideas:

(1) Talk to my already-published author friends, especially those in my genre. People that have been there, done that, can share expertise to help me make decisions. Here’s what three authors have already told me . . .

Betty Thomason OwensOne way I will use to market a new release is through a paid blog tour. By paying for the service, the heavy work is already handled for you. The blogs will be scheduled and you’ll have help when the time comes for the tour.

  • What you get for your money: (1) A blog tour to generate publicity for your newly-released book. (2) Guaranteed reviews, though the reviews are honest, and not always positive.
  • What it requires from you: This is a 14-day tour, so it requires a lot of planning and work. You’ll need to supply books up front for the reviews, either Ebooks, or print, as specified by the bloggers. Total cost can run several hundred dollars, weighed against whatever sales are generated by the blog tours. For more information, contact: Celebratelit  
  • I also seek out venues like conferences, craft fairs, and other functions in the area. There is usually a cost to rent a table or booth, but the personal exposure is well worth the money. I almost always earn the cost back in sales. One thing to remember about these, always have takeaways, like business cards, postcards and/or bookmarks, and chocolate.

Suzy Parish-My favorite way to spend marketing dollars involves little to zero investment dollar-wise. Research charities to see if one has a mission that falls within the parameters of the theme of your novel. Develop a relationship with the CEOs of that charity, send them a cover letter explaining how your novel dovetails with their mission statement. Offer to promote their charity alongside your book, after sending them an ARC for their approval, of course! This can develop into a beautifully mutual relationship with Christ, the ultimate benefactor. Sales might benefit also!

Janie Winsell-There are wonderful marketing ideas for authors, but narrowing it down to my favorite is hard. I had to ponder this question and really look at all of my marketing research to come up with an answer, but I have finally come to the conclusion that giveaways are the best way to get attention for your book. You can give away a five-dollar Starbucks card or even a fifty-dollar Amazon card. You dictate how little or how much you spend, which is great. People respond better to marketing that gets them something for free.

Let’s say you want twenty people to like and share your post with the link to your new release, what better way to achieve your goal than by promising a giveaway of your book once you reach your target. Then, you have twenty people see your book, share your book, and twenty more of their friends do the same. Selling books is all about visibility. People have to see it to want to buy it!

(2) Read multiple blog posts and listen to podcasts. There are great sources of information out there. Here are three of my favorites:
(3) Make a plan. I’ll take the ideas I think I can work with, the ones that feel right and put together a strategy.  What do you think of these?
  • Local launch party
  • Blog tour
  • Book signings
  • Conferences
  • A social media blitz
  • Giveaways
  • Research charities
(4) Follow through. When the time comes, I’ll schedule my plan into my calendar and see what works. I’ll save all my information of how each marketing idea worked or didn’t so I’ll have it for my next book launch. It’s never too early to plan ahead.

Click to tweet: Where should I spend my book marketing dollars? Here’s a few ideas. #marketing #amwriting

Writing prompt: Please share (in the comment section) what your favorite way to spend marketing dollars, the one that works best for you.

3 Questions Wednesday ~ Sarah Van Diest

Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome Sarah Van Diest to Inspired Prompt. Sarah’s new book is God In the Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In. She wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. Letters can be an amazing gift when you are hurting. I’m eager to learn more about Sarah. How about you?

Sarah back cover pic

Good morning, Sarah.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Creative, compassionate and philosophical.

Someone who takes the time to write letters to hurting friends is definitely compassionate. 🙂

Philosophical: having a calm attitude toward a difficult or unpleasant situation. Next question . . .

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

A trip to Ireland would fill me. One of my favorite authors lived, worked and wrote there: John O’Donahue. I would love to see the places he wrote about in books like Conamara Blues and Beauty.

eilean-donan-castle-1650071_1920

Ireland is a beautiful place. Now for your last question.

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

“You Are My Hiding Place”

I fell in love with this song back in the 90s. It is still a great worship song. Readers, to hear “You Are My Hiding Place” click on the song title above.

Click to Tweet: Sarah Van Diest is with us today on Inspired Prompt @InspiredPrompt #interview #giveaway

Readers, Sarah is offering a print copy of God In The Dark to one commenter.

U. S. addresses only.


God In The Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In

GITD cover-1

When you are in the dark places of your life, Sarah Van Diest offers a companion for the path you are walking. You will find a voice of comfort and truth to call you back to the light, to help you see that you are never alone, never too far gone, and never unloved. This collection of 31 devotions doesn’t minimize the reality of your struggles, but rather points you to where God is—walking right alongside you. Receive this hope in the pain, God in the Dark.

To find out more about the book visit God In The Dark


Sarah back cover pic

Sarah Van Diest is a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three more, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. She’s done this for years for numerous friends and will continue to, Lord willing. It’s her gift to them. It’s hope written down.

 

5 Strategies to Grow Your Readership

 

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Marketing is important to any business

 

by Bonita Y. McCoy

When you think about word-of-mouth marketing, you might envision the office water cooler where everyone stands around catching up on the latest shows or current events. A place where someone might say, “Hey, have you read Ted Dekker’s book? It’s great.”

Though this is word of mouth, it’s not exactly what is meant by word-of-mouth marketing. At the water cooler, you don’t have any control over the topic. People might talk about your book, or they might talk about what’s for lunch in the cafeteria.

So, I’d like to take the ‘might’ out of the equation.

Here are five tactics that will help grow your readership and create your network of influencers to spread the word about your next book.

  • Direct Mailing: There is a lot to be said for the personal touch. Deb Haggerty in her workshop at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference pointed out the importance of thank you notes and nice to meet you notes, to people you connect with at networking events.

A mailed note to the person is best, but if all you have is their email, then send a message that way. The point is to keep the connection alive, and the door open for future contact. In doing this, you will add to your list of influencers, beta readers, and writing buddies.

Postcards with the book cover on the front are also an effective way to use direct mailing. These are great to announce to friends and family that your book is out.  A colorful card addressed to the individual will make a bigger impression than a post to no one in particular on Facebook.

With Direct Mailing, start with the those you know and build from there. It does take more time, but the personal touch will turn the fans on your mailing list into super fans.

IMG_loved your work

  • Reviews: Set aside a number of books to give to readers in return for an honest review. The key here is an honest review. Never pay for a review. If you’re just starting out, remember to get reviews from those outside your family circle. They will carry more weight.

In business terms, a review is a referral, so make it a habit to ask readers to write one. It will influence future customers who are trying to decide between your book and the one next to it.

  • Create an Author Partnership: The idea here is to gather a group of authors who write in your genre and pool your influence and readership.

Several writers have done this with blogs, but another way to use a group like this is to add excerpts from one writer’s novel in the back of another’s.

Traditional publishers use to do this all the time. They would market the author’s upcoming release in the back of the current work and then have an excerpt from a new or lesser known author there as well. By doing this, you’ve given another author a chance with your readership, and you’ve given your vote of confidence. My only warning: be familiar with the other author’s work.

Then when that author’s book comes out, it’s their turn to host your excerpt from an upcoming title.

  • Street Teams: This is a team of friends, family, and fans who are willing to read your book, share about it on social media once a week for a month or so, and give an honest review. Some authors hold book launches with their street teams. Others provide their teams with swag like bookmarks, postcards, or even tee-shirts with the book’s title and cover on it.

These teams can be set up locally or the author may choose to set several up in different cities to widen the sphere of influence.

Street teams are a great way to involve others in the behind the scenes activities of your writing life. They are extremely valuable, so treat them with respect and a great deal of generosity. The more you give; the more you get.

  • Share and Share Alike: Social Media runs on likes, shares, and comments. If you want social media to work for you, create real connections.

We have all seen the posts where the only time you hear from that friend is when he or she has something to sell you. In author circles, that something is their book. Don’t be that friend.

Share other people’s work, pictures, funny comments, and they will share yours. Like those shots of the pig in the tutu and pass them on. Make real connections with real people, and when you announce that your book is coming out, they will be the first to congratulate you and share it.

Word-of-mouth marketing is all about people. As professionals, we should treat others with respect and try to be others-oriented. It’s not about what others can do for us, but rather, what we can do for them. If you use these strategies with others in mind, you’ll not only find success; you’ll find satisfaction. And who knows maybe it’ll be your book being discussed at the water cooler.

Click to Tweet: In business terms, a review is a referral, so make it a habit to ask readers to write one. @InspiredPrompt #marketing #writetip

Writing Prompt: Make a list of potential Street Team members, then construct an upbeat email to send to them, or write three thank you notes to friends and family who support your writing.