An acceptable press kit consists of a double-pocketed file folder, the question hook printed on the cover (not typed on a regular typewriter, but typeset with desktop publishing fonts). Inside the flap pocket is another question hook on the inside cover. In the flap-pocket is a black and white glossy photo of the writer (matte for television producers). If your writing work is self-published or print-on-demand published, your press kit would include a news release and other materials that fit into the folder such as photos. The news release also can be electronic.
If you’re trying to reach a publisher with your idea for a book, you can launch your work before it’s published with an outline, sample chapters, and a different type of news release for the publisher rather than for the mainstream or niche media. You also may wish to check out the book, Who’s Buying Which Popular Short Fiction Now, & What Are They Paying?: How to Write, Customize, & Sell Tales Online or on paper.
In this case, you’d use a four-page press release about what you, the writer has to offer that needs visibility–and how the information will help the community or readers. For a book you’ve published yourself or as a print-on-demand book, you’d include in the press kit a short, one-page press release. If you want a larger feature article from a reporter, you could put the one-page press release on top of the longer four-page news release. A press release doesn’t have to be current news, just an announcement of some work that’s become available to the public.
A news release is the latest news on your work, beyond only announcing it’s immediate availability. You also may want to check out the book, How to Open a Business Writing and Publishing Memoirs, Gift Books or Success Stories for Clients: Make Hand-Crafted Personalized History.
The short press release gives the writer’s biography, credits, credentials, and anything else important the writer has done in relation to what the longer press release covers
News clippings about the writer or the script are put over the short press release. The clippings are cut out, dated, titled, and pasted on a sheet of paper and then photocopied onto a slick, camera-ready white sheet.
Include in the second flap pocket a copy of any article, booklet, book, sample, or tape for media review. This press kit goes to agents as well as media editors and producers.
What does a press kit pitch?
Let’s say your book isn’t published yet, and you’re looking for a publisher or still want to promote your book ahead of publication in a publisher’s magazine or in a mainstream newspaper. You’d place a two-page pitch release on top of all the other information in the kit tells the media why the work is so extraordinary, so unique and different and who can benefit by seeing it. Include a marketability study of who would be buying the script, book, or tape. The new age video market is on the rise.
On top of every release, in a press kit folder, you could place the final cover letter as a courtesy, telling why you want the media to print selected press releases and the photo inside. The cover letter is one page or less in length. The first paragraph of the cover letter contains a premise–of the release. What’s important is summarized in one sentence.
Use concrete credentials that can be checked
If the press kit is going to a publisher to sell a book/script package deal, include a chapter breakdown. The titles of the chapters sell the book just as the title of a video script determines its commercial appeal. In the case of fiction, the credentials would apply to the topic rather than the story, such as the story’s angle and historical reality, even if the story is entertainment or escape fiction. What if you want a media contact to review your published book or a copy of its not-yet-published galley proof?
Book chapter summaries vary from three paragraphs to under a page for highlights
Tell the media exactly what viewers will be told when they view the script. For script/booklet combinations such as book and audio tape combinations, or video and instructional manual packages, write down the components of the book in a press kit, and send a sample. This technique holds true for self-published and self-produced video/book packages used for instruction or motivation.
The first chapter of a book is like the first scene of a video script. It’s the selling chapter. In a press kit designed to sell and outline a book and video package, tell the reader why she needs to read the book and view the video. Include photos or a mock-up copy of the video or book combination.
The fastest way to impress a reader about a video is to have an advertisement or poster with a black background and white print
The print is superimposed over a photo in the background. Viewers will remember that video above one on a white background with black lettering and design. It’s possible to create an infomercial to mail out to potential buyers who might be interested in purchasing a produced video or a published book, but it’s expensive. A press kit creating visibility for a video, a script, or a book is more direct. Use one sentence to summarize your book, pamphlet, article, or script’s premise.
Marketing researchers often report that readers will respond faster to an article written by a reporter about a person, business, or product than to a paid advertisement placed by the entrepreneur. An article I wrote for a high-circulation paper brought in 600 requests for information when I included my post office box number. The tiny, classified ad I placed in the back of the paper (which was expensive for me) brought no responses.
Visibility influences marketing. Contacts with video software distributors lead to contacts with producers. A commercial title can pre-sell a dramatic script or book manuscript. Free publicity and press coverage pulls more weight than small, paid display ads announcing “script for sale.” Press coverage is free, and can be obtained by a phone call and a news angle or a press kit if the reporter or media contact is looking for your topic, similar research, or the latest novelty.
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