Creating a Media Kit, Press Release or Press Kit

Blog hosts, have you ever been frustrated with the way authors send their materials to you for a blog stop? Authors, have you ever wondered what to include for a promo blog stop?

Whatever you call it, a media kit (also known as press release and press kit), can be extremely helpful to bloggers receiving an author’s information for a blog stop.

I’ve hosted blogs for a few years now, and I can always tell the newbie authors from those who have been promoting for a while. The newbies often send incomplete information and often in several documents, which I have to piece together to make sure they post to my blog properly.

Here are some helpful suggestions on what to include in a Media Kit and the formats that should be used.

1.  Include a JPEG or PNG of the cover or covers being promoted. Approximate dimensions of 200 X 300 pixels or 300 X 500 pixels are good sizes. Smaller sizes are just too small to make an impression and larger sizes take longer to upload and can use up unnecessary space on the poster’s blog. I used to resize photos that were too big, but then I’d have to save them to my computer. The beauty I’ve discovered when I finally got rid of Internet Explorer for the much nicer and faster Google Chrome was I no longer needed to save photos to my hard drive. I could simply open the attachment and dump them into WordPress…. Much nicer, however big photos use up more space.

2.  If an author wants a photo of themselves included, he or she should attach a JPEG or PNG following the same guidelines as with book covers regarding sizing.

3.The Media Kit Document should always be saved a RTF file or as a Word 97-2003 document to ensure no problems with compatibility. And should include several things:

……a.  Title of the book(s)

……b. Author’s name

……c. Blurb

……d. Excerpt or Excerpts: I’ve noticed that some authors are including several excerpts. (This is a good idea if you write Erotica and are promoting on non-erotica author blogs. However, it is good to include a spicier excerpt for those erotica author blogs you may be on.) It is also good to include longer and shorter versions. That way if you are posting a guest article or interview, a shorter excerpt can be used to keep your post from getting too long. If you are promoting several books, as in a series, always keep the excerpts shorter.

……e. Author bio: I’ve learned a while back that bios should be written in third person and kept short.

……f. Website, Blog, and Social Media Links: It is good practice to include the entire link, not just a handle for social media, such as @your_twitter_name. A lot of bloggers don’t like to use full links on their blogs because full links makes things look untidy. They hyperlink the links to the appropriate places. There are two things you can do on your media document: hyperlink these things in the document or send the whole link and let the blogger decide if they want them hyperlinked or use the full link. It isn’t always a good idea for you to include the hyperlinks because they can be lost in the copy/paste process. Also remember, the less clicks a reader has to make to get to you, the better, which is why you should include the whole Twitter address and not just your handle.

……g. Buy Links: Basically the same as above. Always include the link to the book you are posting about. You can use your author page on the seller’s site. The idea is to get to the book directly, the more clicks you require an interested potential buyer to make, you may miss a sale.

……h. Reviews: It is fine to add a snippet of a 5 star review or two, but don’t get crazy and add every review you’ve ever gotten for the book.

……i. Genre, Publisher Information, Metadata Tags: These things are optional but a good idea to include. I personally use this information for tagging. The more tags that are included in the metadata (sometimes called Tags or Labels, and Alt Text [on photos]), the more searchable you are. Don’t expect the blogger to know what are good tags for you or your book. I personally always include the author’s name, genre if I know it (or can guess by the information given), and publisher if it’s obviously stated. However, these might not be the only tags you’d want to include. For example: I always tag my own contemporary western romances with these additional tags (Texas Romance, cowboy romance, and small town romance). But remember; don’t go too crazy with these, just as with adding reviews. The best tags are those that describe your book in a few words/phrases.

……j. Contest Information: Be specific with what’s being offered and any rules that should be included. If you are using a third party randomizer like Rafflecopter, always include both the code and a general link for your contest. Not all blogs allow JAVA Script code (such as WordPress.com), so if you only include the code, WordPress.com bloggers can’t post your contest.

4. If you are including a guest blog article, you can do two things:

……a. Attach it as a separate document.

……b. Include the article in your Media document. I personally do this when I’m promoting my books. I format the post how I’d like it to appear in the Word document. I always put the article before the book information.

5. If you are doing an interview and the questions were sent to you, always follow the blogger’s instructions. If no instructions are included, then you can follow the same protocol as with guest articles—either attach as a separate document or include in one attachment with the interview preceding the book information.

6. If you have any photos that you want to include other than your book cover(s) and author picture, attach them using the title of the photo or the numbered order they are to appear to identify them. Then in the post itself indicate where you want them by either the photo title or by the number that you’ve given it. The best way to do this is by using bold print, {photo info}, [photo info] or colored font, or a combination of these to alert the blogger. It is also a good idea to include any copyright information for the photo. I personally don’t like posting photos that have no data with them. If you’ve purchased the photos or they are your own pictures, that’s fine, just let the blog host know that you own the photos. If you’ve pulled them from a place like Freedigitalphotos.com, then you have to include the link for the copyright information as per the site’s Terms of Use Agreement that you would have to have checked before downloading.

These are just some helpful hits. I’m by far an expert, but as both an author who promotes by guest blogging and as a blogger posting guest blogs, these are some things that I’ve either learned to include in my information going out to bloggers or is what I like to receive for posting on my blog.

If you are a blogger and can add something to this, please leave it in the comments. It’s easy to forget we aren’t born with this knowledge already ingrained in our DNA. Just as we had to learn what the acronyms GMC and HEA meant when we started writing, many newly published writers striking out in the world of guest blogging have to be educated on how best get the needed information to bloggers willing to help them in their promotion.

Happy Blogging!

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Categories: Marketing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “Creating a Media Kit, Press Release or Press Kit

  1. Hi, This was amazing! I am trying to figure out wordpress alone and I feel overwhelmed. I love the way you have set up your web page. I will definitely take your advice as I am going to promote my book very soon (in the Fall).
    Thanks!
    Chrissy

  2. Sound advice Sara! I wish I’d read this six months ago! I learned most of
    this through trial and error and probably made more work for myself and my blog host. Thanks for sharing.

    Martha O’Sullivan

  3. I never thought about adding the tags to my Press Kit! Great idea! Thank you, Sara! I always learn so much from your blogs.

    • Jenn, I actually hadn’t thought of that either until I started hosting for Buy The Book Tours. She always adds what tags we hosts are supposed to use and I realized this is great advice to pass on.

  4. carmens007

    Thank you Sara for sharing this with us all!
    Very useful info. Best of luck with your writing!
    Carmen
    http://shadowspastmystery.blogspot.ro/

  5. Thanks for the clear explanation of what to include. I’ll be doing this for my books.

    • You’re welcome! I love to teach (was one in a former life and still teach BLS/CPR at the clinic I work at). And when I find something that would make a good teaching article, I have to write it….LOL

  6. carmens007

    Reblogged this on The Community Storyboard.

  7. Yes. I’ve been hosting authors for a long time and the one thing I’ve always have to do is resize their images. I’ll throw it in Photoshop myself if I have to but it would be nice if the author could take care of it themselves. (Paint is a good resizing alternative and there are sites like Image Magick Studio that you can use to resize, if nothing else.) I tend to find anything over 450 px in height too big for a blog post, however.

    • I always just used Microsoft Picture Manager to re-size or crop photos… It’s easy and you can then save to whatever folder you want. Thanks for popping in!

      • That would work too, Sara. It’s not that I mind doing it, mind you. I just know how easy it is that I think it’s a step others could do too. But I’m an art geek as well as a writer so I fiddle with images myself sometimes. 😉

  8. Most of your advice is sound. I’ve had guests who put their info, including pictures within their email which doubles my work. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to harvest those pictures from an email. I dedicate an hour to putting up a guest’s blog. I’m very picky with how things look on Vintage Vonnie and so I take great care. If I have to spend 2 or 3 hours, that eats into my writing time and I get frustrated. I’m likely not to have that author back. May I also suggest you NOT put permalinks or backlinks in your posts. I had one guest recently do that so that every time I hit the facebook button to promo a new guest’s post, the previous guest’s permalinks/backlinks showed up on my facebook post. It was as if she’d hi-jacked my blog. I finally had to go in and delete her post to get rid of the problem. Don’t be a rude guest and do this to someone. It’s damn sneaky. Can you tell she angered me? LOL Be a polite guest. Reply to all commenters. This is your chance to build relationships. And don’t expect a blog host to use all you send. She knows how long she wants her guest’s posts to be and how long the average visitor will spend scrolling through. The shorter, the better. Short and powerful.

    • Vonnie, that’s HORRIBLE! I would never do that (honestly, not sure I even would know how). Yes, personally, I prefer the links as whole and then I’ll hyperlink them in the post. That way I know they will work and that these sneaking things can’t happen.

    • That is terrible, Vonnie! I often (almost always) use embedded links when I send info to a host. Hyperlinks. Is that what you’re talking about? I use them and actually prefer when guests DO use hyperlinks. Not a clue how those differ from permalinks and don’t even know what a backlink is. I hope my links never cause you pain! I’ll remember not to do it if they do. Just let me know, please.

  9. Tags are a great idea. I know when I post guests posts I spend a lot of time setting it up so the more the guest can do to help the happier I am. I hate when I get three or more word docs attached that I have to combine into one. With not much time for blogging, I usually write the author and ask them to combine everything and then resend me just one doc. I save all images to my hard drive in a separate folder for future use, though I’m sure I could delete some of the older covers after a couple of years. lol

    Thanks for this.

  10. Reblogged this on Jennifer Garcia, Author and commented:
    Learn how to create your own Marketing Kit …

  11. Wow! I’m thrilled that so many of you found this useful… Thank you all for coming by and either taking something from this to use the next blog tour you do… Or added a bit of advice I hadn’t thought of in the comments.

  12. So detailed and helpful – thank you!

  13. Wonderful advice, Sara. I’m just about to release my third book in under a year. So much to learn and coming at me so quickly. I wish had read this last April. LOL. This is a real keeper. Thank you!

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