As an author, do you really need a press kit?
It's great to have a website and to utilize the social media networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, but what happens once you draw the press to your website? Sure, they'll read all about you in your bio and maybe see some photos of you on your website. They'll read about your books and reviews and various writing accomplishments, but how will this assist them in writing up a glowing feature article on you?
It won't help them and it might even frustrate the press and cause them to move on to another author who has a striking press kit that captivates their attention and forces them to want to find out more details on you and your work.
Now, it's great to have a press kit that you can hand deliver, send out through snail mail or fax and even email. However, wouldn't it also be just as great to have an online press kit? You bet it would. When the media visits your website, for example after they read your catchy press release about your book just being released, don't you want to make it really easy for them so they find your attention to detail delightful and will want to publish that feature article about you and your work?
There are so many authors out there and many of us, me included, are mid-list or even newbies. What does the press care about us? We are not NY Times Bestsellers...yet! You need to make them want to care about you and your work. How do you do that? You create a professional press kit and in this technologically advanced age we live in, you make it readily available in an embedded PDF file on your website. It's great to post your press kit information on a page on your site, but when you have an embedded file that they can download, it makes it even better for them. And the easier you make it for the media, the more they'll like you and want to write about you and your work. Also, a PDF file is not editable by them.
So, what do you include in this press kit and how long should it be? My press kit is 7 pages and it will most likely expand as time goes on, but I will also then edit and cut the current content because you don't want your press kit to be too long. I have my photo and contact info as the header on a nice letterhead that speaks to the theme of my writing style and current works. But, make sure to not go over the top here with a theme and always keep it professional in its design.
Number each page and include your contact info (name, tagline, like mystery & romance author, email, website addy, and ph and fax numbers) on every page. You should start out with a short bio that fits on the first page, with a statement at the end that you welcome interviews and that they should contact you for more info. You want to set the stage that you are friendly and want them to contact you.
You should list some reviews for your books and then give a short listing of each book, the ISBN and where they can readily get a copy of each book, and you can include photos of the books. Be sure to also include info on your upcoming releases, even though you don't have an ISBN yet etc.
At the end, you should write up an author interview. Play the part of a journalist and list questions he or she would want to ask you as an author and then answer those questions. Now, the media can have a readily available interview to be posted online in blogs and other print media, if so desired. However, it's also a jumping off point for them to quickly learn about you, your books and your writing style and they'll not only have some quotes they can print from your interview, but you've done a lot of the legwork for them already. They'll be more eager to dig deeper and then ask you questions of their own.
I hope this helps. I know my press kit is not the best I'd like it to be, but it's a start and is a work in progress, but at least it's something for the media right now. Feel free to visit my homepage and check it out.