An author media kit is a must-have for any author who wants to make it.
Because no book is an island.
Yes, that’s a version of the popular saying that we’ve completely made up. But the thought still stands.
A book without an audience is just a diary. It has to reach people, some sort of audience, your potential readers… wherever they are.
Here you are with a book in hand that could potentially change yours— or somebody else’s life.
The problem here now is, how do you get it into people’s hands? Assuming that you’re a newbie writer who hasn’t got a published bestseller under your belt yet, how do you put a spotlight on your work and make people interested in it?
Your book shouldn’t be kept in a vacuum. It has to go out into the world and make an impact.
Table of Contents
What is an author media kit?
So, one way to promote your work is through an author media kit.
An author media kit is a collection of resources like photos, text, and videos that promote your book and your brand as an author. It is a public relations tool. A one-stop shop package of all the things that an author needs for promotion and marketing.
(Note: There’s been debate among some circles over whether a “media kit” and a “press kit” are the same or different things. But for the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to use the term “media kit” to refer to a collection of resources that is used to promote an author’s book.)
But it’s not just any old marketing tool.
A media kit isn’t something that you actually show to readers and the general public at large.
It’s something that is intended for the eyes of people who can get word about your book out. This means: bloggers, journalists, podcasters, media outlets, book reviewers, and bookstores.
Why do I need an author media kit?
Surely, most of the information about you and your book can be found through a Google search, right? Why can’t these media people just look you up online, then? Why even spend time and effort creating a media kit?
Well, here are some great reasons why you SHOULD have one:
Not having a media kit gives the impression that you are NOT READY for media appearances.
Here’s why: journalists who want to interview you, for an article or a podcast, would seek you out or your publicist.
When they visit your website, they’ll probably look for a press or media kit page to gather information for their interview. Something that they can use to get to know more about you and your work.
Just imagine what their reaction would be if they can’t find any material to work from!
Wrong assumptions would be made. And sadly, the assumption for you would be that you’re currently not available for media appearances. Or that maybe you’re just not prepared for media appearances at all.
A media kit gives you control over your image, brand, and story
Yes, you can garner media interest without a media kit. But without one, journalists, bloggers, and other media professionals might struggle to find the information that they need to cover your book effectively.
Something as simple as a featured post using an unflattering photo of you from years ago, obviously lifted from a social media account, can be an issue. Interviews may lead to awkward questions you may not be interested in answering. Articles can highlight personal aspects of your life that you’d rather keep private.
Having a media kit prevents all of this. You control the narrative. And you get to choose what the media has to say about you. You can tell your story, in your own terms.
A media kit saves time and effort
“Do you have a sample of your book we can read?”
“How can we contact you?”
“Where can the public buy copies of your book?”
Etcetera, etcetera. These types of questions will be asked ad infinitum over the course of your career.
A media kit will provide the answers to these common questions. Thus, saving yourself and the people who are covering your work a lot of time and effort.
What is included in an author media kit?
Okay, now that we know what an author media kit is for, it’s time to actually set one up for ourselves.
Here are some of the things that your media or press kit MUST have:
Brief author’s bio
You need a short version and a long version of your bio.
The short version should be around a paragraph long (75 – 100 words). Preferably written in third person. If you’re having trouble writing one, pretend that someone is reading this out loud to an audience as an introduction before an interview.
The longer version can be one page long. It should add more information about yourself, your background, and your work. This is probably the place you can elaborate on your writing journey and add any extra details that you might want to share.
Book excerpt (sample chapter/s)
Provide a PDF file of a couple of chapters that reviewers and journalists can peruse. Most authors usually use the first chapter as an excerpt. But the excerpt can come from anywhere.
The point of the excerpt is to:
- Make readers want to continue reading the rest of your work.
- Provide a glimpse into how you write and how you tell a story.
- Helps journalists get a better sense of your theme and gauge whether your book aligns with their own audience.
Some writers even put in a link to a page where reviewers can request a free review copy of their book. But this is just an optional thing though. Most of the people who would look through your media kit wouldn’t have time to read through the entirety of your book.
But for book reviewers, who might need a longer sample of your book, this can be extremely helpful.
Author Q & A
We’ve mentioned that your media kit isn’t tailored to readers, but rather to influencers, journalists, book reviewers, and other such personalities. As such, your media kit should be tailored to them. It should provide answers that these people commonly ask in interviews and media appearances.
Another great idea is to put in questions that YOU want these media professionals to ask of you. It’s a clever way to help direct the conversation on your own terms.
Photos of book and book cover
Of course, the public does have to know what your book looks like! Provide a few high quality photos of your book as well as its book cover. Make sure to provide them in different sizes and formats (i.e. jpg, png). Any promotional materials like social media pictures and posters should be included as well.
Photos of you (author’s photo)
The media also needs to know what you look like.
If you don’t provide a photo, interviewers may resort to using an outdated or unflattering image they find online, which can negatively impact your book’s image and branding.
A selfie just wouldn’t cut it. It’s always best to invest in a professional author’s photo.
We have a whole blog post that explains how you can take captivating author photos that you can use in your media kit.
Don’t forget— media professionals should be able to reach you. Dedicate a whole page in your media kit where you list out your contact information, including email, PO box, social network accounts, blogs, and website. You can use a service like Linktree to collate your contact info in just one location.
Other elements you can include in your author’s media kit
- Testimonials and reviews
- Previous media coverage (if any)
- Press releases
- Book trailers (video trailers)
- Upcoming media appearances and events (book launch, tours, future interviews)
Digital author media and press kits – yay or nay?
There was a time when author media kits came in the form of packages that journalists would receive in the mail.
But the days of the printed media kit are behind us. What we have now are digital author media kits, which can be accessed online.
Now, there are lots of ways in which you can go about this.
If you have a website, you can have a dedicated page that hosts your kit. This single page contains links to all of the kit material. And when someone asks for it, all you need to do is to send them the link.
For most first-time authors who don’t have a website yet, a simple Google Drive (or their cloud storage provider of their choice) folder would suffice.
Why you shouldn’t rely solely on Google Drive for your author media kit
Giving someone a link to a Google Drive folder is fine for the most part. But you have to admit that it certainly isn’t the most professional.
There’s a huge risk of people missing important information if your files aren’t labeled correctly. It’s also not user-friendly. Journalists and bloggers might have to click around several levels of folders just to find the file that they’re looking for.
It’s important to note that your media kit is not a static document. It’s constantly in flux, evolving as you go through the various stages of your book’s promotion and marketing processes.
Create an author media kit easily with Notion
Here comes Notion.
Notion isn’t actually a media kit creation software by any means.
It’s a hodgepodge of productivity tools (kanban, to-do list, note-taking, project tracking) all rolled into one.
It’s so versatile and flexible, that people have used it to create websites of their own (even though it’s not a website builder).
And as it turns out, Notion is also great for making press or media kits.
Notion makes it easy for authors to update and revise their promotional materials as needed. No need to worry about resending multiple versions and confusing journalists and journalists with outdated information.
Just update your Notion page with the new info, and you’re done.
Made a mistake? All changes made to the page are automatically recorded in the page history. It’s easy to revert back to previous versions if needed.
We will use Notion to organize our media kit, and give it a polished interface that is easier to click through.
So, here’s how to do it.
Create a Notion account
If you don’t have a Notion account yet, head on over to the Notion homepage and click on the “Get Notion Free” button.
It’s located on the upper right hand side of the page. Provide your email and follow the instructions to set up your account and password.
Getting the basics down
Once you’ve validated your account, you’ll be asked a few questions regarding how your Notion account will be used. You can skip the questions, if you like.
Congratulations on getting your Notion account up and running!
Read the Getting Started page first before doing anything else. This page will cover some of the basics you need to know like how to type the ‘/’ symbol to see the content blocks you can add, how to format text, and how to use templates.
From here, you can play around with some of the pre-made pages that Notion has set up for you. You can access them on the left hand side of the page.
Pro-tip: Don’t like the default light color scheme? You can enable dark mode through the keyboard shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + L.
Setting up our media kit template
Sure, you can spend time learning the intricacies of Notion and creating your own media kit page from scratch. But one of the best things about Notion is that it offers a wide range of free templates that you can use right away.
And as it stands, Notion has its own media kit template!
Access it from its official page here: Notion’s media kit. (Note: Make sure you’re logged into your account first).
Click on the Duplicate Template button to create a copy of the template in your account.
Filling out the template
All you need to do now is to change the template’s content to yours!
Click on text to edit it. To move block elements around, hover your mouse over the block that you want to reposition until you get a six-dot icon on the left side. Click on this icon and then drag the block element to your desired location.
To delete blocks, again, click on the six-dot icon. This will bring up a menu where you can choose Delete to remove it.
The links on the template only connect to sections within the page itself. If you want to link to another page with longer text, such as in the sections for the author’s bio and book excerpt, simply type the ‘/’ symbol and select ‘Text’ under ‘Basic blocks’. This will allow you to link to a new Notion page, or to external pages and documents.
But if you do want to link within the page, that’s easy to do too! Highlight the block that you want to link to, click on the six-dot icon, and choose “Copy link to block.”
Then go to the block or text that you want to link FROM, highlight it, wait for the context menu to pop up, and then click on “Link.” You can then paste in the link that we’ve copied earlier.
Sharing your media kit
To share your author media kit, there is a Share button on the upper right side of the page. You can share it directly to an email address. Or you can share it publicly by copying the link and giving it directly to the person who needed it.
Your message is important. It needs to be heard. That’s why you wrote a whole book about it! But now the writing is done and over with. It’s time to focus on getting your voice heard by as many people as possible.
This is where the author media kit comes into play.
You need to focus on creating a media kit that can grab the attention of people who are going to be instrumental in generating buzz about your book. It can be the key to unlocking the attention that it so greatly needs and deserves.