The wonderful book review bloggers at Book Bloggers’Collaborative (BBCOLL) gave me some very valuable insights into what is necessary for an author’s press kit. When writers submit books for review, we need to make certain that we make it as easy as possible for reviewers to access all the pertinent information in order to put up a decent review.
Not only do the book bloggers have to read our masterpieces and write a review, they also need to make certain that they have links to buy the book, author bios, book blurbs, etc. Many of them are also managing giveaways, contests, and blog tours as well.
I asked the group at BBCOLL what they look for in an author’s submission. Here is a list of what they require, and I’ll explain after the list how to present those items (again, with the help and input of the reviewers.)
Here is what every author should have in a press kit:
1. A high-res cover image
2. Short author bio
3. Author headshot
4. Book excerpt
5. Social media contact info (I put these in a word doc with shortened, custom links, which you can create on bit.ly)
6. Link to your site and / or blog
7. Link to youtube book trailer (as opposed to sending an actual video, which can be buggy or take up a lot of memory)
8. Links to where to buy the book
9. It’s very nice to include the option for a giveaway – Kindle copies of your book, for example, giftcards, or swag. That will get more traffic to the post about your book and attract more readers.
NOTE – It is better to have too much to choose from , instead of too little.
There are several ways to present a press kit. Of course, you can simply attach all of the above to an email.
You can also put these items in a zip file, ready to attach to an email. Again, this can be a bit buggy and require memory. To avoid that, Coral Russell at Alchemy of Scrawl gave me the great idea of hosting a web press kit on your site.
Create a blind page for your site that isn’t in the navigation buttons. You can send the url for this page for prospective reviewers and tell them that your info is readily accessible on that page.
Put the images (headshot, cover, etc.) on photobucket or another image hosting site and put up hot links to those images on the page (just make certain they are nice, high res images.)
Add the hotlinks with the URLs for your social media links, as well as your trailer youtube link, etc.
You can host excerpts or author bios on Google docs and give those URLs as well to the documents. Just make certain that when you create the Google documents you manage your permissions and allow anyone with the URL to be able to view them but not edit them.
Keep in mind that some reviewers will prefer separate attachments of all of the items for their review in an email. You can find this by reading their review policies. Be prepared to tailor your excerpt, bio, etc. to the reviewers' reqs. You might like to have a longer bio prepared, as well as several different sized excerpts (250 words, 500 words, etc.)
Please don't expect an email from the book reviewer giving you an update on where your book is in the queue - he or she is incredibly busy with To Be Read piles even more massive than yours. Be polite, considerate, and for goodness sake: READ THEIR REVIEW POLICIES!
And do check out the Book Bloggers' Collaborative. Not only do they repost reviews and give you groovy tips and insights, they are planning a lot of amazing host and index opportunities for authors.