14 Definitions You Need to Know When Creating an Author Media Kit

by | Sep 22, 2014

By Joan Stewart (@PublicityHound)

Ed: The link between you—and your book, your stories, and your ideas or agenda for change—and the media that can help you get readers, attention, and sales, is your media kit. This is what you present to those in the media looking for content, for guests, and for stories and conversations that will appeal to their audience. Today, publicity expert Joan Stewart provides a valuable glossary to help you understand this critical part of your marketing plan. (And check the end of the article for a free live event with Joan this week.)

Your author media kit serves as a wardrobe of materials that present you and your book in the best light possible.

When creating it, know the difference between individual various pieces in the kit, and the minimum standards you should adhere to when creating them.

Here’s a list of 14 definitions that will help you build a better kit for your print or digital book:

  1. High-res photos
    Short for high-resolution photos, usually required by print media. Photos, logos and other images must be scanned at 300 dots per inch.
  2. Speaker one-sheet
    It lets a meeting planner see quickly who you are, the topics you speak on, and what your books are about. If you’re sending it directly to a meeting planner, include all your contact information. Delete contact information if you’re working with a speaker’s bureau.
  3. Speakers bureau
    It helps book speakers for clients. Even though the bureau works for the client, it takes a percentage of the speaker’s fee. Speakers bureaus work with keynote speakers, workshop presenters, trainers, after-dinner speakers, awards hosts, motivational speakers and entertainers.
  4. Book synopsis
    It’s one sheet that includes the most important information about your book–ideal for scanners. Offer the book summary in four lengths. Include five points of interest and purchasing information.
  5. Emotional angle
    Because press releases for fiction are more difficult to write than for non-fiction, many authors lead the press release with the emotional angle that’s often tied to the key character. Is the book a humorous look at a bumbling chemistry professor? Does the mystery novel about an investment banker take readers on a roller coaster ride filled with suspense? Does a children’s book provide a whimsical look at the life of The Tooth Fairy?
  6. Endorsement
    Different from a review, it emphasizes the expertise of the author and is written by someone in high esteem, like an industry leader.
  7. Blurb
    A short phrase or sentence extracted from an endorsement or a review, usually used on the book cover or marketing materials.
  8. Sample interview
    Provide an interview that contains both good interview questions as well as the answers.
  9. Sell sheet
    It tells retail book buyers basic information about a book. It includes a synopsis, the ISBN number, trim, publish date, format, comparative titles, and a list of ways you will market your book.
  10. Hash marks
    Use three has marks (###), centered, to signify the end of a press release.
  11. Author bio
    It tells readers about you, your expertise, and can include a few personal details. Write this in at least three lengths, to serve the needs of various audiences.
  12. Fun facts
    Interesting or insignificant facts that brighten an author bio. Examples: You were the captain of your high school cheerleading squad. You have a black belt in karate. You collect Barbie dolls.
  13. Dateline
    Lead the first paragraph of your press release with the dateline that shows the city where the release was written, and the date. Example: Cleveland, Ohio — Sept. 17, 2014.
  14. Environmental photo
    This shows the author with a prop or in an environment related to the topic of the book. An author who writes about fashion might include a photo of her with a mannequin just over her right shoulder.

Media kits help your various audiences–bloggers, journalists, retailers, libraries, reviewers and others–promote your book. All the more reason to make sure it’s the best kit possible.

Joan-StewartPublicity expert Joan Stewart, author of 10 books, works with authors and experts who need free publicity to promote their expertise and grow their businesses. Twice a week, she emails snack-size tips about how to get free publicity. Subscribe at https://www.PublicityHound.com/tips.

Free: Live Webinar With Joan Stewart This Week

Want to learn more about media kits for authors? Come join Joan Stewart and I as we host a free, one-hour webinar this Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Joan will walk through a complete media kit and explain each piece for you. I’ve presented with Joan many times, and she gives out more practical information in less time than anyone else I know. You won’t want to miss this live event! As with all webinars, seating is limited, so please register for this great educational event as soon as you can:
Free Webinar: Register Now

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Michael N. Marcus

    Press releases about books and authors may not be time sensitive. If a journalist sees an ancient dateline, it’s easy to toss, not publish the news.

    Unless the date is significant, include the city, but not the date on a release that goes into a press kit.

    However, releases that are snailmailed or emailed should have dates to enhance their newsworthiness.

    Also, Joan recommends putting the city but not the state in the dateline. That’s fine for Los Angeles or Boston — but not for Greenwich, Milford, Brooklyn, San Antonio or Kansas City. Many city names occur in multiple states and countries.

    Similarly, many book prefaces end with the author’s name, city and date the book was completed. How many readers know where San Rafael, Blauvelt or Applebachsville are? (I do.)

    The One Buck Author’s Press Release Book https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B76JAR0

  2. D.G. Kaye

    Hi Joel. I got on the webinar too late and caught the end. I’m looking forward to hearing the replay and asking if you would please give me the link again to purchase the media kit. Thanks.


  3. David Conrad

    Under “Sell Sheet”, what does ” trim” mean?

    • Joel Friedlander

      David, “trim” refers to the size of the book, it’s shorthand for trim size like 6″ x 9″ or 5.5″ x 8.5″.

  4. Katie cCros

    Thanks Joel and Joan! I’ve been wondering about this myself, so I’m really excited to get some advice. Just signed up for your newsletter as well, Joan.

    You guys rock.



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