Writers: Online Press Kit? You Need One. For All Our Sakes.

Jeff VanderMeer • August 10th, 2009 @ 10:52 am • Writing Tips

The marvelous Luis Rodrigues has just created the press kit pages for my two books coming out in the fall:

Finch

Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st-Century Writer

Are they purty? No, although Luis can do pretty. They’re simple and functional, because they’re not for readers–they’re for reviewers, review editors, interviewers, and other people associated with the various and sundry media outlets out there. These sites are also for the venues I’ll be appearing at as part of my book tour in the fall. (Some of this info will change in the next week, since the pages are up well in advance of when they’ll be needed.)

If you have a page like this, you and your publisher don’t have to continually email files and press releases and whatnot in response to queries or even in being proactive about approaching the press. Some places will require that, but most will be fine with the URL.

As a writer for the Amazon book blog, I can’t tell you how much time I waste because the writer or the publisher of a book hasn’t just put all of this information up on one simple page. It also helps me when I’m on tour, because usually I’m going to just have email through my phone. If someone queries needing information, it’s a lot easier to type a short URL and email that than to have to try to send attachments, or then have to email my publisher to send the person the required info.

Cory Doctorow has talked about this in the past, too, especially with regard to cover images. You wouldn’t believe the number of publishers that have only a tiny cover image of a book on their site. So when you go to snag it for a feature you’re doing…you’re out of luck, and then you’ve got to cast a wider net searching for a size-appropriate image. And time is money.

What should be in your press kit? Author photo (high-res and web-res), book cover (high-res and web-res), press release, author’s bio, blurbs about the book, etc. Be creative and inventive, but keep it simple, too.

The effort you put into having this information in one place will pay off by saving you time in the long run–and it will save other people time.

UPDATE:

Here’s a press kit integrated into a book website (Shriek)

Here’s a different look-and-feel for a press kit (City of Saints)

11 Responses to “Writers: Online Press Kit? You Need One. For All Our Sakes.”

  1. Jessica Reisman says:

    Thanks, Jeff. Here’s hoping I have need of this again someday.

  2. Martha Wells says:

    What Jessica said.

  3. Martin Stephenson @ work says:

    I just heard Frank McCourt has passed away. I think I’ll have a Guiness after work… Sorry, just thought I post it where someone might care.

  4. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Martin: Sorry to hear that! I thought he’d passed away last week or the week before? Anyway, yes, it’s a loss. Also a full and successful life, and one to celebrated.

  5. Jerome Stueart says:

    So, we could just set one of these up on a WordPress site as well, just connected to our site? Thanks, Jeff.

  6. jeff vandermeer says:

    yep. I wanted these two separate because they’re not fancy and I wanted them to have short easy to remember urls. but how u position yours is up to u of course.

  7. Larry says:

    Yes! Although I don’t review new books all that frequently any more, I cannot begin to tell you how many hassles I’ve been through trying to read up on the blurbs, the author’s background, publication history, etc. This is especially helpful for interviews. I rarely ask new authors for interviews any more because most of the time, their shit isn’t together and I don’t have the time to do the thorough background reading that I like to do before interviewing someone. Hopefully others will do something like what you’ve done. Using a current example, I noticed Lev Grossman set up a nice one for his latest book and it helped me a lot to get some sort of sense of what he was aiming to accomplish there without me having to resort to doing a dozen web searches. Irritating, especially when exhausted by the day job.

  8. Child of Fire giveaway « Twenty Palaces says:

    [...] the online press kit. I’m going to get me one of these, and I’ve already sent a couple notes to my PR person [...]

  9. Matt Cibula says:

    The word “extravagant” is spelled incorrectly on the FINCH sheet, Jeff.

  10. jeff vandermeer says:

    yep, we’re still finalizing them. thanks.

  11. Bill Ectric says:

    Actually, they are quite purty in a neat, organized way!

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