The importance of perception.
So far we’ve broken down the book marketing process by Month 6 and Month 5 prior to publication date. In this post we discuss what steps need to take in the fourth month before your book is published. During this post, we will discuss the importance of perception in creating book buzz not just to your audience but to media reviewers, bookstore owners, and booking agents. So let’s design a press kit, shall we?
Writing your media pitch
The reviewer letter
- Step 1: Personalization. Your letter should always been personalized to the reviewer and publication/site you are sending it to. Make sure in has your publication information (title, ISBN, publisher/imprint name, release date, and distribution), and includes a 75-100 word recap of the book. Make the fact you are submitting the book for review very clear; many writers use bold type. Personally, I include a brief 100-or less word bio and any details of upcoming book tours or media events. Do not include these last two items unless you actually have a tour and events booked. End the letter with a thank you, something personally and not generic. Offer to send cover art or any other information they might like to have. And make sure your contact information is easy to find and read if they have questions and need to reach you.
- Step 2: Follow Up. Don’t be surprised if, with your first book, you don’t hear back. Consider a polite follow up phone call or email to ensure the book arrives. Keep a list of everyone you sent the ARCs to, dates you sent them, and (when you follow up) keep track of how you are received: excited, noncommittal, rude. Cross off the rude one.
- Step 3: Due diligence. Most reviewers will not contact you when they review a book. It’s easy to set up Google Alerts to notify you whenever your name, book title, and/or company are mentioned anywhere online.
- Step 4: Thank you notes. Not all reviewers are going to like your book. They may not write a positive review. Even those that do like your book will always point out a flaw or weakness in an effort to appear balanced. When you receive a positive review, send a polite and short thank you note. When you receive a bad review Stop. Take a walk. Vent to the trees. Do not contact the reviewer. If the review seems unusually harsh, make a note in your spreadsheet and don’t send that reviewer future books. (Pro-tip:I used to send a polite thank you note to even the reviewers who disliked my books. However I learned quickly that while your intent is to thank them for their time, politeness can be misconstrued for snarkiness or bitterness. It’s better to avoid that possible miscommunication.)
Aren’t press kits for, like, important people?
Yep, and you’re important. It can be difficult at this stage of your career to feel important, but regardless of how you feel you are important. You’ve done (or are working toward doing) something most people never do in their lives: publishing a book. So it’s time to make sure you have that snazzy press kit on hand.
Press kits contain:
- Author bio, in varying lengths
- Book summary, in varying lengths
- A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page
- Concise interview with you as an author
- Short book review.