Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Branding 101 - The Author Press Kit by Patty Smith Hall


Patty here, and so far in this series on branding, we’ve determined what a brand is and how it works for us; we’ve asked ourselves the important question—who am I?—because we are our own unique brand, not our books; we’ve looked at how our websites set the tone for our brand through color and font choices; and we’ve discussed the importance of blogging to build your brand.

Today, I’m going to talk about that often-forgotten item on a writer’s checklist, the press kit. I’m going to be honest here—I don’t have one, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need one. Every writer, including pre-pubs, needs a press kit. It brands you (see how I did that!) as a professional writer. If you’re uncertain what a press kit is, this is a file of information pertaining to you and your books. It should include:
  1. Contact information such as your website and social media links, agent information and email address.
  2. Bio and headshot
  3. Product information such as book covers, back cover copy, links to purchases.
  4. Awards and reviews from major outlets like Amazon and Goodreads.
  5. Interview resources
  6. Press releases on new book
  7. Book excerpts
  8. Topics that you speak/teach.
Most of these items are relatively self-explanatory, so we’re going to focus on two areas that you have the most input—the bio and headshots.

There are three kinds of bios you’ll need for your press kit—the simple bio, the friendly bio and the professional bio. The simple bio is generally 1-2 lines. Think of it as an elevator pitch for yourself. Here’s what mine looks like:

Author Patty Smith Hall writes historical romance from a Christian worldview and lives in North Georgia with her husband of 36+ years, Danny.

In that one sentence, you know that I write historical romance, live in North Georgia and have been married to my own personal hero for 36 years. In other words, me in a nutshell!

The second type of bio is the friendly bio. In this one, you can be relaxed, even silly at times. It’s like talking to your best friend. Here’s one I wrote years ago. It’s a bit much but you get the picture.

Patty Smith Hall has been making up stories since she was knee-high to a grasshopper. Now, she’s thrilled to share her love of history and her storytelling skills with everyone, including her hero of over three decades, Danny, two beautiful daughters, and a wonderful son-in-law. She resides in northeast Georgia. Patty loves to hear from her readers! You can contact her at www.pattysmithhall.com. 

The last one is a professional bio. This is the type you’ll find in a book or series proposal. It consists of a list of your accomplishments and awards, published articles, publishing houses you work with, professional affiliations such as ACFW or RWA. In other words, it’s your resume in a paragraph. Here’s mine.

Patty Smith Hall lives in North Georgia with her husband of 36+ years, Danny. Her passion is to write tender romances based in little-known historical moments. The winner of the 2008 ACFW Genesis award in historical romance, she is published with Love Inspired Historical, Barbour and Winged Publishing, and is a contributor to the Seriously Writing blog as well as Journey magazine. Patty is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 

Each bio has a uniquely different tone and use.

Now that we’ve covered bios, let’s talk about the headshots that go with them. To make a professional impression, you need a professionally done headshot. Remember this is the first impression you’ll make with a new reader/publisher/agent/reporter so don’t let your husband/child/best friend take the photo. Most writing conferences will have a photographer who does headshots as part of the conference—sign up for an appointment!

Here are some things to remember when preparing for your headshot:
  1. Make sure lighting is appropriate. Example—if you write light-hearted romance, you don’t want a headshot that looks like something out of a gothic novel!
  2. Make sure the angle of the photo is flattering.
  3. Make sure the background isn’t a distraction. The focus should be on you, not the wallfalls behind you.
  4. You should be the only person in the picture.
  5. Make sure image is sharp and in focus.
  6. Plan your clothing to match your brand. Look at the colors you used on your website as well as consider your genre.
  7. Keep your accessories simple.

Homework: Work on your press kit this month.


We're talking about "that often-forgotten item on a writer’s checklist, the press kit." via @pattywrites #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting

~~~~~~

Patty Smith Hall lives in North Georgia with her husband of 36+ years, Danny. Her passion is
to write tender romances based in little-known historical moments. The winner of the 2008 ACFW Genesis award in historical romance, she is published with Love Inspired Historical, Barbour and Winged Publishing, and is a contributor to the Seriously Writing blog as well as Journey magazine. Patty is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. 


1 comment:

  1. Wow! This is helpful info, Patty. I don't include a press kit on my website, but I've thought about it off and on. I just haven't taken the time to create one!

    ReplyDelete

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!