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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Author Press Kits

Please welcome guest blogger Laura Bickle

If you're an author, sooner or later, someone will ask you for part of your press kit. Rather than doing as I did, blinking with that deer-in-headlights look, consider assembling one early. Now that I have one, it's much more convenient to pull parts out as I need them for interviews, conferences, and guest blogging.

Though everyone's needs are different, my kit (thus far) includes:

-Author Bio. I have a long bio and a short one, including contact and website information. Bios should include publishing credits and information on current projects, as well as any quirky or interesting info about your offline life you'd wish to share...like belly dancing or feral cat ranching.

-Author Photo. I have these in a couple of different resolutions for various purposes...smaller files for the web, for example.

-Book Information. This includes title, publisher, release date, ISBN, and cover shot or jacket. I also have publisher's blurbs and my publisher’s press releases for these. Those small elevator-pitch blurbs will be critically important to have in front of you anytime an interviewer asks: “So, what’s your book about?”

I also keep long and short book excerpts handy, both in hard copy form and links to them on the web. Many blogs will only reproduce short excerpts, so it helps to have a punchy excerpt of less than a thousand words, in addition to the first book chapter.

I’ve also found that it’s very helpful to have a stock of the books available for review, both in physical form and as .pdf files. A reviewer may need a copy of your book yesterday, and .pdf seems to be the most universal way to get it there. Just make sure to get your publisher’s standard disclaimer language to send out with an electronic copy of your work.

-Promo materials. This includes bookmarks, cover flats, postcards, brochures, and business cards. Any snazzy promo materials. Lately, I’ve been seeing small staple-bound copies of excerpts at conventions, and I’m plotting how to put something like that together.

-Reviews and press clippings. I file scanned copies of reviews that have appeared in magazines and keep track of online reviews with links on my website.

I also maintain a list of where I’ve been interviewed or done guest posts on the web, with links handy.

Anybody else have other ideas or additional materials that they keep on hand, just in case? Anything odd or unusual that you've been asked for?

Laura Bickle has worked in the unholy trinity of politics, criminology, and technology for several years. She and her chief muse live in the Midwest, owned by four mostly-reformed feral cats. Embers, Pocket Juno’s April 2010 release, was her debut as a novelist. Sparks continues the series in September. More information is at www.salamanderstales.com.

Laura also writes as Alayna Williams. Alayna's "debut" was Dark Oracle, Pocket Juno's June 2010 release.

Dark Oracle

Can an oracle change the future she sees? 

Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling years ago. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, she narrowly escaped the grasp of a serial killer who left her scarred for life. She put down her cards and withdrew from work and society. Now, Sophia, a member of an ancient secret society connected to the mythic Delphic Oracle, asks Tara to find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy. Tara resists— she fears reawakening her long-buried talents and blames Sophia’s Daughters of Delphi for the death of her mother. But, grudgingly, she agrees to search for the missing scientist, Lowell Magnusson.

Tara travels to Las Alamos National Laboratory, the location of Magnusson’s disappearance. She meets the serious, impatient, and highly attractive Agent Harry Li— and re-encounters her old partner, Richard Corvus. Corvus is now chief of the Special Projects Division, a position Tera might have held, had she not dropped out of investigative work. Corvus considers Tara mentally imbalanced and not to be trusted— but it may be Corvus who is untrustworthy.

Tara’s investigation and Tarot cards tell her Magnusson’s daughter, Cassie, may hold the key to her father’s plans, and that they both are in grave danger. Meanwhile, Corvus and the Daughters of Delphi have their own plans...and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

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