Sanda-BeckwithThis week I am honored to host Sandra Beckwith, the owner of BuildBookBuzz and one of the most knowledgeable marketers I have ever met.  Please enjoy this article she has written expressly for New Shelves Readers:

What’s one of the best ways to get media exposure for your book?

Demonstrate that you’re “media-friendly” by creating an online press kit for your website.

An online press kit houses all the materials a journalist needs to determine whether to report on your book or its topic, or to use you as an expert resource for an article or segment related to your book.

4 reasons for an online press kit

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need one.

Here’s what your online press kit will do for you, your site, and your book:

  • Help journalists find you when they’re looking for interview sources.
  • Improve search engine optimization (SEO) so that your site show up when people search for terms related to your book. (That’s because your press kit elements will contain those search terms.)
  • Give journalists the information they need to report on your book – sometimes, without even contacting you.
  • Provide readers with detailed information that helps them decide to purchase your book.

8 online press kit elements

What should you include in your online press kit?

Consider these eight elements. The first five are essentials; the last three are good to have, but optional.

  1. Announcement press release: This versatile tool helps people understand the value of your book. When writing it, include an objective description, information on why people will benefit from reading it, your author credentials, and how to purchase it. (Get detailed instructions in Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book.)
  2. Author bio: Is this on your book’s jacket flap or back cover already? Just copy and paste! Two to three paragraphs are usually enough. (But be sure you don’t make these four common author bio mistakes.)
  3. Author photo: Provide a professional, current author photo in a JPG format that journalists and bloggers can save and use.
  4. Book cover image: Media outlets and bloggers will want to use your book cover as an illustration, so make it possible for them to do so without contacting you for the file.
  5. Author Q&A: The question-and-answer list is particularly popular with radio talk show hosts, who don’t have time to read guest books and must rely on publicity materials you provide.
  6. Optional tip sheet: This is a type of news release that offers tips or advice in a bulleted or numbered format. It’s used by both fiction and nonfiction authors to get widespread media and blog exposure. Not familiar with tip sheets? Read, “How to promote your book with tip sheets.”
  7. Optional quiz: Newspaper, magazines, newspapers, bloggers, and radio talk show hosts love quizzes, so give them what they want! They’re fun to create, too.
  8. Optional fact sheet: If you find yourself continually referring to specific details during conversations about your book (with the media or others), consider summarize them in a bullet point fact sheet that places all of the information in one document called a fact sheet. It will save everyone time while helping your SEO.

Don’t make this common mistake

Finally, avoid the mistake that many authors, publicists, and publishers make in their press rooms: Do not make these documents available in PDF format only.

There are two reasons for this advice:

  • Because people use different software and systems, not everybody can copy and paste easily from PDF files. Even when they can, journalists often lose formatting. That means they have to find and insert important paragraph breaks, and so on. Don’t force them to do any more work than necessary.
  • If your PDF is saved as an image, search engines can’t search it – which makes it useless for SEO.

Here’s what you want to do: Make everything but the images available in a text format that’s similar to all of the other content on your site.

One of my favorite examples is my student Candy Harrington’s press room for her book, 22 Accessible Road Trips: Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. See how easy it is to copy and paste information from her book announcement press release?

Writing your online press kit elements

You can create all of these materials easily yourself. You wrote the book, so you can write all the materials that support it, right?

Instead of reinventing the wheel, though, take the easy route and let me help you. Get a template and a real-life sample/example for each of your written press kit elements – as well as templates and samples for other important book publicity tools – in my popular author workbook, Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates.

This time-saving resource that includes instructions for creating these elements (except the images) and many others used by authors guides you through the process with fill-in-the blanks forms and samples.

What’s in your author press room? Please share a link to it, too!  

Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested. Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” and you’ll also receive her free weekly newsletter loaded with book marketing tips and advice. 




  1. Hey Idelle, I’m so glad it was helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Idelle says:

    Thank you for putting this out. My book was just published and I am in the overwhelmed stage right now. I plan to refer to this article often!

  3. Thanks for the feedback, Karen, and thanks so much for sharing the article with your network. Amy and I work hard to help, and you’re helping us do more of that!

    Sandra Beckwith

  4. I’m glad it was helpful, C.B. I know it can all get overwhelming! One of the best reasons to create on online press kit is to help your site’s SEO — that alone might be just the motivator you need.

    Sandra Beckwith

  5. C.B. Dixon says:

    I haven’t even thought about doing this…I should get on making this sometime today. I just had my first book published last December. It seems the more I learn the less I know. There is so much information out there about getting books seen, and getting noticed. The more my eyes open to the process the bigger the writing world gets and the smaller I feel.

    Thank you for this information. I will be doing it soon.

  6. Great info, Sandra. I have some tweaks to make…or actually, a press release to write. 🙂 I shared in this on the 17Scribes FB page, so hopefully some debut authors will check this out. Thank you!

  7. Thanks for hosting me, Amy! I appreciate it.

    I’m happy to answer questions here.

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