Ironing out the Press Kit

I’ve been working on this element of my promotional package for a while now. In addition to Susan Raab’s book, a friend sent me a link to a website with instructions, so I’ve been trying to follow that as well.

The first component of the PK was images. The website advised both an author photo and cover art. It also suggested having three images sizes (large, medium, and thumbnail) of each. I’m not sure if that’s really necessary, since most people have access to software that will easily shrink larger, high-res images to smaller ones, but I did it anyway.

The second piece of the PK puzzle was my author bio. Again, the website suggested short (50 words or so), medium (approx. 150 words), and long (as long as I wanted it to be–mine is about a page, single-spaced).

Susan Raab suggests a Q&A document in the press kit. This is a kind of interview with questions like “What led you to write this book?” etc. Of course, I get questions like this from people who know me all the time. Also, author and blogger Cynthia Leitich Smith has issued a very generous invitation for the Apocalypsies to submit answers to some questions, and she will put these on her blog near the release date of our books. She gave us many questions, so that we could choose just a few to answer for her. I used some of her questions in my Q&A page, along with others of my own. The purpose of this piece is to give some information to media outlets (newspapers, radio, TV) who might be thinking of featuring me.

The other component in the PK is an actual Press Release. Raab gives a good example of one, but I think it is too early for me to really put this together. Lynn is in charge of marketing at Kane Miller, and I know she will put together a press release when we are near the book’s release date. Raab says the press release should also have some excerpts to reviews, and of course it’s still too early for that.

So most of the things I need for the PK are ready. My only hurdle is figuring out how to upload the folder to my website. Luckily, my son can help me with this part! It’s not there yet, folks, but keep watching. Soon, you’ll see another tab on my site marked Press Kit.

Plugging into Goodreads

If you haven’t yet discovered Goodreads, you should! It’s a sort of social networking site for people who love to read. I set up an account last spring, after hearing my Apocalypsies pals gushing about it. I immediately added books to my “read,” “to read,” and “currently reading” lists. I posted ratings of some books I’ve read. I added a few reviews of books I’d read recently. Beyond that, I didn’t get too involved with it.

After I created my reader account, I noticed that many of my Apoc friends were listed as “Goodreads Author.”  Susan Raab discusses this in her book, and I wanted to also be listed that way. A few weeks ago, I was approved as a Goodreads Author. They sent me an email notification, along with a pretty exhaustive list of “dos and don’ts,” and a link to a page with suggestions and details of how to get started. I have to admit it was a bit overwhelming.

My notification also arrived the week I was heading out to Wichita to film the trailer. After that was Thanksgiving, then the end of the school term, with all the extra papers to grade. “Goodreads Author Page” has been on my to-do list now for almost a month. Now that the semester is finished, I’m finally getting around to it.

Goodreads does a great job of providing information to help authors get started. The site is pretty easy to navigate, even for me. I was a little frustrated when my photo appeared in thumbnail form, but not on my profile page, but I eventually figured that out. The thing that stumped me though was the “widget” option. I had seen the widget on Kimberly Sabatini’s blog, and I wanted one! I also wanted to add the “Add to Goodreads” button to appear next to my book cover on my site. Goodreads has all the information about how to do this, but the minute I saw HTML code that had to be uploaded I panicked. Luckily my son is fluent in HTML, so he managed to get the widgets loaded for me.

I’m excited to get more involved in Goodreads, both as a reader and as an author. I’ve been able to add a feed from my blog to my author page, and I’ll also be able to add events, contests, and reviews when those things come around. My next step is to add my Apocalypsie pals as friends and find out who else I know in the Goodreads world.