“A digital press kit is a central hub for all the pertinent details about your book. It’s an easy to navigate clickable link that’ll allow any member of the media to access the most needed information at the drop of a hat.”
“Do you feel your education and career path has help you become a successful author?”
I smiled knowing my answer before she even finished asking the question. Nodding along, I laughed as my interviewer leaned forward and scratched a mark on her notebook.
“I am without a doubt, quite lucky,” I answered. “I did my undergrad majoring in public relations and then went on to complete two master’s degrees… one in organizational communication and another in English studies. I didn’t know it at the time, but every path I took in some way contributed to the work I do today as an author.”
Grinning, she tilted her head, inviting me to elaborate.
And I did. For the next ten minutes of the interview, I talked her ear off, going on and on about how writing a book is just one small part of being an author. You also have to know how to market your book—and sell yourself as a brand. Lucky for me, my days spent in the classroom exploring the public relations practitioners’ toolbox have paid off.
Now I’m not saying that I’m a mastermind behind marketing, PR, or personal branding. I haven’t sold a billion copies of my books like Colleen Hoover (yet). But I have been recognized and complimented on many occasions about my efforts building a brand and marketing my novels to readers. Success (typically) doesn’t happen overnight; organic growth takes time. And to build a brand well, there are some foundational tools every author needs to have in place before taking the first step on their marketing journey.
Enter the digital press kit.
A digital press kit is a central hub for all the pertinent details about your book. It’s an easy to navigate clickable link that’ll allow any member of the media to access the most needed information at the drop of a hat.
PR Pro Tip: Do the work for the media. If a journalist has to hunt for information to write a story, you might find your pitch in the rubbish bin before the first word is even drafted.
Here are the top ten things you need to include in your digital press kit:
1. Author Bio: include two versions. The first version should introduce who you are in 2-3 sentences. It’s a snapshot, nothing more. The second version should be much lengthier and describe who you are in 200-300 words.
2. Book Blurb: your book blurb is what’s found on the back cover of your book. It’s what draws the reader in and convinces them to purchase your work. While there might be a standout version you use routinely, it’s okay to include more than one book blurb. Who knows? The runner-up version of your blurb may appeal more to the journalist writing the story.
3. Book Cover Graphics: add a .jpg or .png image of your book’s cover at minimum. But if you’re feeling adventurous, create several 3D mock-ups of your cover using either Book Brush or DIY Book Covers.
4. Book Excerpts: Select 3-4 passages from your book that tease a reader or exemplify your overarching theme of the story. Each excerpt should be no longer than 350 words. Choose scenes with witty dialogue or thought-provoking moments.
5. Book Reviews: Gather at least 5 positive reviews of your work. You can include them in a simple document or create compelling graphics using tools like Canva.
6. Buy Links: Include a list of all the direct links your book is available for purchase. If your book is available in multiple formats (hardcover, paperback, eBook, etc.), but sure to include links to each.
7. Professional Headshots: Keep in mind that readers are not just buying your books, they’re buying you as a brand. If you do not have professional headshots, invest in them. And then include 4-5 photos in your digital press kit.
8. Pull Quotes: Lift 5-10 smaller quotes from your manuscript and create simple graphics highlighting your words. Pull quotes are desirable for a journalist, so do the work for them and provide what they need for success.
9. Social Media Links: List and hyperlink every social media platform you have a presence on.
10. Webpage: Link directly to your author webpage.
The digital press kit is an incredibly useful tool that any representative from the media will appreciate. Keep things simple and create a folder in Google Drive (just be sure you have access set for ‘anyone with this link can view’). Link to your press kit in every pitch letter and press release you send out.
Voila! Congrats! You just build your first major tool in your PR toolbox!