Friday, January 17, 2014

Are you hiding from the press?

Visibility is the biggest factor in making your book a financial success. After all, readers can't buy your book if they don't know it exists. As an author, you promote your work in any way you can in the hopes that the right people will see it. But what happens when the right people do see you? What will they find when they visit your website?

Ideally, they will find a well laid out, easy to navigate site with a clearly identified place for press inquiries. The worst scenario would be a member of the press trying to track down more information about you for a story or potential interview and finding nothing. Talk about missed opportunities for exposure.

Adding a page to your site or blog for the press is easy. The question is, what should you put there. Here are a few items you want to make sure everyone can find.

1. Contact information
If nothing else, you need to have all your information. This includes your name, your email address, your phone number and social media links. I know putting up your phone number can sound like a bad idea, but it's not. I suggest getting a free Google Voice phone number that will automatically point to any number of your choosing. This way, you can protect your home phone or cell phone number.

In addition to your contact info, be sure to include contact information for your agent as well. You never know who is going to be looking.

2. Books
Keep this simple. You can have a separate book section on your site that is more geared towards readers. This should be a brief overview that the press can use to see all your books in a snapshot. For each book include:
Title, Cover, short Blurb or Tag line, ISBN number, Amazon order link, Publisher info

3. Bio & Pictures
You want to have a nice, high-res photo of you, preferably in color and black and white, that is set up for one-click download. Same thing for all of your covers. The idea is that a member of the press can visit one page and download all the images they need for a story all about you. If it's not easy to get a picture, they won't include one, which is sad. Also, include a short bio. Short is the key word here. This needs to fit easily into an article or be short enough that a radio or TV host can read it on air without putting anyone to sleep. The media doesn't want your life story. But they do want a story, so make sure your bio is more than the town you grew up in and a list of your cats' names.

4. Horn section
This is where you should blow your own horn. Quite frankly, no one else is going to do it for you. If you have some high profile reviews, especially any from professional publications, list them here with a link. Additionally, if you've done any interviews, include links to the article or video. This part of your press section shows reporters that you are news worthy and they'd be missing out by not doing a story on you.


5. Press Kit
A press kit should be a downloadable PDF that contains pretty much everything listed above. You'll want an intro page that has your picture, bio, contact information (for both you and your agent), a list of all your books (with publisher info & buy links), and relevant media links such as high profile reviews or interviews.  You should also include a separate page for each book, though it's okay to combine a series onto one page. Consider your press kit as a take away. A reporter should be able to download your press kit and leave your site with all the information they need to either write a story or reach out to you. The WordNerds just made a great video about press kits. You should go check it out.

Putting together a press page can seem daunting. The good news is you probably already have most of this information already spread out across your page or blog. A press page puts it all in one spot so the folks who can get you exposure can easily find what they need. Remember that they are writing a story, not an advertisement. If they can't find the story (or the info they need to write one), they'll skip it and move on to someone else. Don't let that happen to you.

Do you have a press page? If so, share the link in the comments so we can all learn from each other. 

5 comments:

  1. Great advice Sarah, I am going to go amend my website now with the information you suggested. I never thought of putting some of this on there. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. No problem. We tend to spend so much time focused on reader content (as we should) it can be easy to overlook that our website has to serve more than one purpose. Glad I could help!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Totally agree! My website has a press room with all of the above. I always tell authors make it easy for the press to do a feature on you by giving them everything they need to do it without searching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I love the idea of calling it the Press Room. I'm stealing this. ;)

      Delete
  4. I need to add a press kit to my site. I'm adding it to my To-do list. Thanks, Sarah.

    ReplyDelete

Share the love, man...