Marketing Magic: A Do It Yourself Press Kit Can Help You Market Like The Pro’s.
James W. Layne, Jr.
The biggest challenge to any self publisher is marketing the product and the personality. No matter if you have published a book, recorded a music CD, or put together a photographic layout you will need to market it properly if you ever expect to get paid. This is a two sided coin because you don’t have a multi million dollar budget, nor do you have an army of marketing professionals to hide behind.
Heads: People skills are tantamount to marketing on a small budget. You can do very nice things on a little money, but you can’t do them for everybody. You can successfully sell yourself and thus your product providing that you have put together the best version of your product and yourself that you can provide.
Tails: You have to target your marketing to places that you are confident will help you sell. Forget a book ad on TV unless you have weird glasses and a spotted tie. A radio appearance is good so long as your nonfiction book is tailored to the market that listens to the station you pitch (i.e. technical and informative for the talk radio listener), or your fiction book addresses issues and interests important to the listeners in the market you pitch (The Book Nook on NPR caters to intellectuals who seek substance to their pleasure reading material). Book signings are great in busy places with good parking… Don’t expect big numbers in small town settings unless you are from the small town, and they don’t have another hero.
Marketing kits are great: Coffee Mugs, book marks, small posters, or small standee’s that your potential reseller can put out, or use in their store.
Find the best deal you can on 3 color silk screening for mugs, mouse pads, t-shirts and other booty.
Have paper items such as business cards, brochures, posters etc. printed in as small a bulk lot that you can afford. Small because you don’t want to be stuck with them, but bulk because it’s cheaper… Repeat after me- there is not economy in printing them at home on your computer. Repeat that last line six times and commit it to memory.
No you cannot use the snap together hot cups to make your own coffee mugs… tacky, tacky, tacky.
As far as making some literature… Business cards with your book cover art and your contact info.
A couple of press kits, and if you have a website maybe a fly sheet detailing all the cool stuff they will find if they visit you on the web. Downside here is- don’t advertise your website’s cool features if there aren’t any. Be honest.
Now we come to the press kit:
Press kits only sound hard to create. This simple kit can help you really reach out by getting other media resources to advertise for you.
Here is a simple method for creating an outstanding press kit.
1. In a two pocket Duo-Tang folder (these are made of a heavy fiber paper, very nice, in black or navy blue, very professional.)
Buy some vinyl single business card holders with adhesive backing, or rubber cement a plain one to the front of the folder, centered 2 and ½ inches down.
2. Include an 8×10 B&W publicity photo (head and shoulders) in business or nice casual attire.
3. Author bio – One paragraph, five sentences, address the five W’s (Who, what, when, where, why.) If you have representation you would put their contact info at the very bottom of this sheet.
4. an 8×10 copy of your cover art with the synopsis super imposed in a small text box on it.
5. A sheet with cover art and synopsis of your other works.
6. Two business cards that bear your books cover art and your contact information on both sides. One of these slips into the business card holder on the front of the press kit, the second slips into the card or disk holder cut into one of the pockets.
Make them ahead of time and store them flat, no bent corners.
If someone from the paper stops by, give them the kit… you will make the paper, they’ll think you’re a pro.