What Is In a Press Kit?

How to Rock Your Press Kit and Stand Out in The Crowd

How do you look professional when you pitch a newspaper or radio station? Or look like you know what you are doing when you approach an independent bookstore to stock your books? The answer is with your press kit.

By the time my clients have finished their promotion coaching with me, they have a complete, professional looking package to present to the media or a potential business partner. Here is a sample of what it might look like:

press kit photo

Impressive, right? Looks professional, yes?


Here are some of the items that I coach my clients to include in their press kits: This will set you apart from almost any other self published author.

  1. Slick folder. I always recommend that my author/clients start by buying a glossy folder in a color that complements their brand. This is a much better presentation than a stack of papers stapled together or shoved into a manilla envelope.
  2. Include your business card. One that has been printed by a printer–not one that you printed on your deskjet and folded and then ripped apart at the perforations. The professionally printed business card casts the message that you are serious enough about what you are doing to invest in yourself.
  3. This press kit includes a book-sized postcard of the cover. This is a great idea! It gives the recipient an idea of the book’s size and gives them a taste of your book. Remember, the cover is the piece of your book that makes the first impression.
  4. A book sheet. The book sheet is basically the “bio sheet” for your book. You include the cover graphic, ISBN information, publisher information, purchasing information, your back cover copy and a few endorsements. I also have my author/clients add a short bio paragraph so the sheet can stand on its own if need be. You can’t tell from the photo, but this one has been printed at a copy store on higher quality paper. Sure you could print this from your computer, but it wouldn’t look as good as this one does–and it wouldn’t leave such a positive impression.
  5. An author bio sheet. The bio sheet shares your story, your awards and other publications you’ve written or been published in. It should also include your professional photo and your contact information (social media, blog, website, address and phone number). You want to make it easy for the recipient to contact you and learn about you. Again, this has been printed at a copy store on higher quality paper. It’s a bit glossy and heavier than copy paper.*Coach’s Note: Notice how the book and bio sheet have been designed–not just typed out in Word as if they were a report for school. The design and colors of the two pieces complement one another and together create a package that says, “I know what I’m doing.” If you have any design expertise you can do this kind of thing on your own, but I recommend you hire a graphic designer to create a template for you.
  6. Finally there is the press release. This is the tool that reporters will use to write their article about you. It is also helpful for other recipients because it gives vital information like when and where the book will be released. This can be printed from your home computer, but use a higher quality paper as well to match the feel of the rest of the package.
  7. Not shown is the cover letter. This is a very personalized, very targeted letter to the recipient of the package. It is your “pitch” explaining in a nutshell why they should get to know you.
  8. Also not shown but may be included: a preview copy or excerpt of your book. Such a piece is usually included in an electronic version of this kit.

When you create a kit like this, filled with professionally-made pieces, you will stand above other self published authors and be recognized as the professional you are.

Use this kit when you pitch media, request reviews, contact potential distributors, book speaking events, or any time you want to create a professional presence. You should also have all of these pieces available as PDFs on your website as a virtual press kit that anyone can download.

Publishing Club members will have access to templates to help you create the pieces you need for your press kit! Members will also learn how to successfully build relationships that come from using the press kit. We are launching in August with a charter member special, so remember to sign up if you want to be one of the first in the Publishing Club!