Each month, award-winning author Joan R. Neubauer will answer questions from you, her readers. She will answer questions about writing, promotion, publishing, and any other aspect of the publishing industry you can think of. Send your questions to her emailbox at email@example.com SUBJECT Neubauer Nuggets and maybe yours will be the question she answers next month.
Press Kit Power
Q: Dear Joan,
I'm about to publish my first book and I know I'm going to need a press kit, but I don't know what to put in it. Could you please advise?
Winterville, NC, USA
A: Dear Jim,
Great question, and one that every author needs to know the answer to because without the proper promotion, the best book in the world will fail to sell. Now, proper doesn't necessarily mean that you have to take the most expensive option. You can do this on your own fairly inexpensively.
First, buy some high quality, two-pocket folders in a color that compliments your book cover.
Second, from the soft copy of your book cover, produce a side-by-side lay-out with two on an 8 1/2x11 inch page. Print copies on shiny photo paper with adhesive backing. Cut the copies apart and carefully center one on the front of your folder.
Third, open the folder. From the same book cover file, print copies of your cover on shiny photo paper without adhesive backing. Include one in the right hand pocket, so that it's the first thing someone sees when they open the folder.
Fourth, behind that picture of the book cover, place copies of reviews, blurbs, an overview of the book, and copies of newspaper or magazine articles written about the book.
Fifth, in the left pocket, place a full color picture of your smiling face, either a 5x7 or 8x10 works. You can also print these from your printer on good quality photo paper. Make sure you print your name and contact information below each photo.
Sixth, behind your photo, place your bio (no more than one page), your Speaksheet (see the next question), your availability for presentations and signings, and places you've already appeared (if you indeed have already made presentations elsewhere), as well as copies of articles about you from newspapers and magazines.
Seventh, in the little business card slot, slide in your business card with basic contact information and the name, ISBN, and price of your book. Do not use the words "author"? or "write"? anywhere on the card. That marks you as an amateur.
All of your information sheets should include contact information such as PO Box address, phone number, email address, and URL (Every author should have a website). And yes, you should have a PO Box address as opposed to using your home address for security reasons.
That should be enough to get you started. Add and delete as your career grows and changes. But this will provide a great foundation for you to build upon.
Talkin' The TalkQ: Dear Joan,
As an author, I'd really like to make more presentations to writers groups and conferences, but I don't know how to tell people what I can talk about. Any suggestions for getting the word out?
MariaA: Dear Maria,
Philadelphia, PA, USA
You have a great point. You can't make presentations unless you let people know about it and then tell them what you can talk about. As I see it, you need to first make a presentation to the event organizer, and you need to do that with your Speaksheet.
Develop your Speaksheet by listing all the presentations you can give. Give a brief two to three sentence description of each. Then add a picture, a bio, how much you charge, and what your needs are as a speaker (overhead projector, sound system, handouts, etc.).
For each of the presentations you list, give a more detailed description on a separate sheet, so that if an event chairman chooses a particular talk, you can provide more information. This should also include the time period necessary to deliver the session, as well as your needs and how you'd like the room set up.
Put this all together with your press kit (see previous question) and present it to the appropriate event organizers. You will impress them with your professionalism.
Whenever you make a presentation anywhere and give any sort of handout, make sure the handout contains your contact information on it somewhere as well. You never know how many event organizers are sitting in your audience.Joan
Good luck in the future. Keep writing and keep selling!
Joan R. Neubauer is an author and works as a publisher at WordWright.biz. Joan invites you to visit her website at WordWright.biz or to drop her an email at JoanNeubauer@WordWright.biz You can sign up for WordWright's monthly email newsletter at the site as well.