How To Put Together A Kick-Ass Press Kit

The following is an excerpt from Cinnamon McCann’s Self-Publishing in Stilettos.

In reading through my review copy, I felt that the step-by-step, how-to content was definitely valuable for anyone considering the self-publication route. But what I was most struck by was the section on press kits and press releases, as putting these together is something I feel many freelancers don’t know a lot about. And if you’re trying to promote an information product, a copywriting biz, or any other type of product or service, it can be an important skill to have.

The Press Kit:

  • press release
  • author bio
  • books spec sheet
  • author’s photo
  • book cover art file
  • interview with author

You can use the press kit to contact media in the virtual as well as in the real world. To save costs, and trees, post the elements of your press kit in downloadable form on its own page with your blog site or website. Rather than send out the actual press kit, you can send out letters through email or snail mail with bullet points of your press release and a link to your kit. This has become the standard form of distributing press releases to newspapers and magazines, both online and in print.

The press release is the most important element of your kit. Don’t make it a boring announcement that repeats your synopsis and gives the book’s release date and retail outlets where you can find it. Instead, find a “hook” or a newsworthy angle. There are a number of ways you can make your press release newsworthy.

– Use a quote from the book as a way of commenting on a current event or controversy.

– Tie your book into a seasonal or holiday event.

– Create an event, such as a seminar or speech, in which you are appearing as an expert and sprinkle in your book’s name.

– Don’t forget the old standard “five w’s,” or Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Make sure you answer each of these questions in your press release.

– Always write in an active voice.

– Vary the length of your sentences, but try not to use too many compound sentences, or ones that contain more than 15 words. Remember that someone is probably just going to scan your press release at first to see if they want to use it. If it is too hard to read, that means it will need editing. That’s work no one is going to want to do.

– Quotations are a must in the press release. Reporters like to pull out quotes to use in their articles.

– Write in third person.

To read more about press kits and press releases — or about self-publishing in general! — check out McCann’s book!

Related: 12 Ways To Market An Ebook


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