3 Ways to Use Your Book's Press Kit | Deep River BooksOne of the services we offer new authors is a full press kit, including a press release and media kit. Press kits are designed to make it as easy as possible for members of the media—be they journalists, bloggers, or radio hosts—to talk about you and your book. Press kits serve a secondary purpose as well: you can use them to present your book to bookstores, libraries, event coordinators, and anyone else who needs a professional summary of your message.

We provide a press release and media kit for every new title. Here are three ways you, as the author, can effectively leverage them:

1. Put Your Press Kit on Your Website.

The first thing you should do with your press kit is put it on your website, if you have one (and you should have one). This is an easy way to bump up your website’s SEO and provide readers with more information about your book.

You can copy and paste the press release into a blog post—which can then be easily shared on social media. If you don’t have a blog, try putting the press release on its own page and linking to it from your book’s description.

There are two online approaches to the media kit, and you may choose to do both. The first is to upload the kit as a PDF and link to it from your book’s description and/or a press page. We do this with your media kit on the DRB website. The second is to have all the content from your media kit on a website page. A website page is easier to update as your book receives new reviews or you update your bio. However, it’s helpful to have a printable PDF as well.

2. Share Your Press Kit with the Media.

The second thing to do with a press kit is share it with the media. But this one’s a little more involved. Some sources say it’s fine to send an unsolicited press release, so long as it’s appropriately tweaked for that particular media contact—and preceded by a short pitch customized to fit them. Others recommend you send only a short pitch at first, and perhaps let them know that you have a press release and media kit available if they’re interested in learning more.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you contact anyone in the media, with a press release or not:

  • Your goal: While press releases are written to be reprinted verbatim, the hope is that the journalist, editor, news anchor, or radio host you’re pitching to will find the press release interesting enough to feature you and your book more prominently.
  • The media’s goal: They want a good story to feature, one that will inform and entertain their audience. Your book might lead them to that story. 
  • Who you’re pitching: Don’t try to send your press release to people and media outlets who haven’t shown interest in these kinds of topics before. Make sure you do your research before you send that email. If you really think this media outlet—and their audience—might benefit from hearing more about your book, go ahead and reach out. Make sure you tailor both the press release and your initial pitch to this media outlet, and to the contact themselves!
  • Surrounding circumstances: Do you have a book signing coming up? A reading at the library? If you’re pitching to a local news source, they’ll want to know about this so they can inform the community.

A couple important email tips to remember:

  • Do not use all caps. This is like yelling.
  • Do not include any attachments. Emails with attachments of any sort are more likely to go straight to spam, without the person ever seeing it. Even if your email doesn’t get lost in the spam box, the receiver will likely be wary of opening attachments from an unfamiliar source, as they should be. Instead, paste your press release into the body of the email. If you want to send your media kit, simply include a link to it.

3. Give Your Press Kit to Book Buyers and Event Organizers.

Want to talk to your local bookstore about carrying your book—and maybe hosting a book signing? Take a copy of your book, along with the media kit and press release, into the bookstore and ask to talk to the manager. Ideally, you want to speak directly with whoever makes the buying and carrying decisions. Be prepared to tell them who is distributing the book, too. (At DRB, that’s Baker and Taylor Publisher Services, formerly Bookmasters.) The press kit gives them a way to learn about your book without reading it. If you have endorsements in your media kit, this tells them that others have found your book valuable.

You’ll also want the press kit available if you contact librarians about carrying your book or hosting a reading.

Remember, the press kit we give you isn’t meant to stand on its own, even after you’ve tailored it to your purposes or updated it with new reviews. Whether you’re pitching to a news source or to a bookstore, make sure you follow up after you initially pitch to them or give them your press release. See the links below for more tips on how.

Further Reading

Five Reasons You Absolutely Need a Press Kit” by communications advisor Joel Kessel

This is for those of you who know we’ve made you a press kit but haven’t asked us for it. Or have asked us for it, but then let it sit uselessly in your email. It includes a great, though brief, overview of when to use your press kit.

The Difference Between a Press Release and a Pitch (and Why You Need Both)” by Claire McKinney, a public relations and publishing expert 

In this article, McKinney discusses why press releases and pitches are important, what to keep in mind while crafting them, and, as an aside, who might want to see them.

Master the Art of Publicity Follow-up with These Simple Tips” by publicity expert Joan Stewart 

Didn’t get a response when you first contacted a potential book reviewer or someone in media? Don’t give up! Instead, follow up—but make sure you follow up the right way, not in a way that will waste both their time and yours. Stewart gives some great tips and an encouraging success story.

PR for Authors: How to Get Publicity for Your New Book” by the team at Easy Media List

While they do start hawking their services near the end of the article, the tips about sending out press releases are basic and great. It’s worth a read.