In this post, we look at press kits for authors and why it’s important to have one.
Why Authors Really Need A Press Kit
The meaning of PRESS KIT is a collection of promotional materials for distribution to the press.
Writing about authors has become a nightmare. This is due to internationally conflicting copyright issues and a lack of reliable information from authors.
It is next to impossible to find press photos for authors or to find authentic biographical information from them.
This is a guide to authors and publishers that will not only help them better market themselves, but will also make the writing blog space better looking to everyone else.
But, let me start with why I am bringing this up.
Firstly, It’s Bad For Publications
- This makes it almost impossible to legally use photos of the authors.
- Most of the information about them is hearsay put through the broken telephone that is the internet.
Perhaps large magazines and online publications can afford both the time, money, and effort to buy headshots from photograph houses and to contact negligent publicists (If they can find an email address for one).
However, if you need an article tomorrow or the budget won’t permit spending hundreds of dollars on an image, then you are stuck with Wikipedia images or nothing at all.
It’s Bad For Authors & Publishers.
If you are an author or a publisher, you should take note.
If you don’t control the legal content available, what people use will be low quality.
Even worse it may be entirely wrong!
If you don’t have a good photo, people will use whatever is free on Wikipedia.
If you don’t have good copy on a ‘Bio Page’ then people will make things up, or worse, use incorrect information.
Publishers need to make these resources available for popular dead authors too.
There is a large gap in resources for recently dead authors. Particularly people who have died between 1980 and the present.
Older authors often have a number of public domain resources, so it is less of an issue.
I understand that it is difficult to justify spending time and money on minor authors.
But, if you are publishing their books and you don’t make the tools available for people to market them, then they will always be minor authors.
Regardless, below are the things you must make available as an author or a publicist.
Press Kits For Authors – What Authors And Publishers Need To Do
You must have your own website with a page for a press kit.
It must contain the following:
You need portrait photos for print as well as online use.
Therefore you need small headshot images around 400x400px but you also need large, high quality, and high resolution images for publications to use. 8k resolution is adequate at the high end.
A friendly or charismatic image of the author looking at the camera is best.
Small 400x400px and then a larger image.
This will just be for illustrative purposes, so it should be plain and with a neutral background.
A full length image with a neutral background is also useful for longer pieces.
Please go to Wikipedia and add a free to use image to the author’s page.
Give full consent for people to use it.
This ensures that there will always be a good picture to use freely.
Make sure to submit it in various sizes.
You must state people can use these images.
You must also state who is to be credited for the photo.
You must state what it can be used for.
Make it clear that these picture can be used for publication for the purpose of illustrating the author – in all markets.
2. Book Covers
Book covers are also subject to copyright in some markets. Put them into the author’s press kit. Make it clear which images can be used to market a book.
After all this is in your own interest.
You should control your own narrative!
If you are an author and you are letting other people write your biography, it’s frankly bizarre.
You should be the one who writes your Bio and who controls the narrative.
Sure, it’s fine to have your publisher make a rough draft but you must approve it and be happy with it.
This way you can project the image you want to the world.
And, no it’s not fine to just have it on the dust jacket of a book. The only person that helps is someone who has already bought your book and so is useless for advertising purposes.
You will need three sizes of biography for the media to use:
Just a brief snippet that catches your essence and that can be used for web publicity.
As part of an article/interview
A more detailed version that can be used in a full article.
300 words or about a page
All your public information as an author.
Your full biography. This can be longer if need be and is for people to use as a source not as an insert.
It should cover your works and achievements, as well as personal points of interest.
The Last Word
If you do these few easy things you will be well represented in the media.
Today, most advertising is done in this guerrilla fashion anyway, so it should be a high priority.
If you are a middling author trying to get your work out there remember your publicist is not doing this work unless you make them!
I know this. We are often met with deafening silence after we make requests for information from them.
You need your own website. This can be used as a base of operations to control your public image and to make sure the correct information is out there.
If you do these simple things, it will it help you. It will also help professionalise the publishing industry and make it fit for use in the modern world.
We need press kits for authors, so please don’t grumble. Let’s get this done!
By Christopher Luke Dean (File not found).
Christopher Luke Dean writes and facilitates for Writers Write. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisLukeDean
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