A press kit, or media kit, is what you put together to send to publishers, reviewers, journalists, booksellers, and anyone else interested in promoting or selling your book.
What should you include in a media kit?
Author Bio and Contact Information.
You should already have an author bio to hand. If not, start working on it right away, whether you’re already published or not. You’ll need it for your blog or website, for guest posts or stories submitted to magazines. Your author bio should be about 200 words, and it should have things that make you sound interesting and professional. You should include your name, your place of birth or where you currently live, what you do (or used to do) for a living, what you've written, perhaps your education (if it’s relevant), quirky hobbies, or interesting travel experiences. Basically, anything that will make you stand out. Don’t forget your contact information!
A Press Release.
This release should present the facts. Determine your ‘hook’ or newsworthy topic. (ie War survivor publishes first novel). Include a review or comments. Don’t make it too promotional, but be sure to include where the book is available for sale.
Author Question and Answers.
Make a list of interview questions (and responses) about you and your book. This can include questions about your background, your inspiration for writing this book, why you chose to self-publish, your own favorite writers, future projects, etc. This section is particularly helpful for the interviewer and bloggers who want to help you promote your work, as it’s useful and ready content for them.
What makes your book stand out? Describe briefly what is special about your book (similar to the hook in your press release).
It is also a good idea to include a book excerpt. A chapter or two that really grabs attention or describes your book.
This is a pretty simple question, but search the web and you'll get a myriad of answers.
So, how much does it cost to get your book edited?
The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) has a rate sheet that they encourage freelance editors to follow. But as a writer, looking at this sheet can be frightening.
In her article The Real Costs of Self Publishing, Miral Sattar of BiblioCrunch lays out all the estimated costs for publishing a book. But, if you read the comments, you'll see there is much dissension about the REAL costs of editing.
Miral estimates the following costs (using the EFA as a standard):
Still with me? The high end costs can be a little overwhelming.
Here is a breakdown of editing costs, and how you can keep those costs low:
1. The more editing required, the higher your cost will be.
Some editors charge a flat rate, while others an hourly rate. But any rate is based on the amount of work required to whip your manuscript into shape.
How to mitigate this cost?
Edit, edit, and re-edit your own work. Then ask your friends, family, and anyone else willing to be a beta reader to read it and give you feedback. The less editing a professional editor needs to do, the lower this cost will be for you.
2. The kind of editing required will affect the cost.
There are several main types of editing: Developmental editing which helps you develop your book, copyediting which will go line-by-line to look for specific errors like confusing sentences, and a basic proofread which checks only for spelling and grammar errors. Other services include things like formatting and fact-checking. The type of edit you choose will affect the price, so consider carefully what you think your book needs.
How to mitigate this cost?
Make sure you understand what you will get from each kind of edit and consider carefully, using the feedback from beta readers, on whether or not you need a full developmental edit when your biggest problem is run-on sentences.
Remember, you get what you pay for. A new editor might be willing to charge less, but they also have less experience. And the less they charge, the less time they will have to dedicate to editing your book.
What do you think the cost should be? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
What are Beta Readers?
Beta readers are people who are willing to read your book before it is published. They provide feedback on your book so you can get an idea of how your target audience will respond to it.
When should you get a Beta reader?
I typically recommend authors find a beta reader after their book is completed and has been through several self-edit revisions. Betas can provide feedback on sections or a rough draft, but use this feedback with caution. An error-filled or underdeveloped section can lead some readers to provide overly-negative feedback. The better you can polish your manuscript before letting others read it, the more likely you are to receive more accurate feedback.
How to find Beta readers?
First, try to find a reader that reads your genre. If a reader hates romance, and your book is primarily a romance novel, they are going to inherently dislike it. Readers tend to be much more critical of a book they don’t like, even if the content is well-written and the plot developed, the characters strong.
Friends and family are a great place to start. There is also a very active group on Goodreads that connects beta readers with authors. You’ll need to create a Goodreads account, but that is a simple process and valuable for aspiring authors, anyway.
Some Beta readers charge a fee; just be sure to get a few references before spending the money.
How to use feedback from Beta readers.
Betas are NOT editors. (Some editors are not editors, but that is the topic for a different post.) They are readers. You might get very conflicting feedback; some might be negative, so positive. How do you know what to do with your feedback?
Don’t start making changes to your book until you’ve gotten feedback from several readers. We all have our own unique tastes in books. Some readers may not like your main character, while others relate to them. The key to using beta feedback is to find commonalities. Do all your readers comment on how boring the middle section is? Perhaps they are confused about part of the plot.
Realize that you can’t make changes to please everyone. Some readers are just not going to like your book, period. Even bestsellers have many negative reviews. Be prepared for negative feedback. And watch out for the readers that enjoy giving negative feedback. Some people feel powerful giving overly-critical feedback, so don’t let one really bad review crush your spirit. Learn how to sift the useful feedback, like a valuable insight about your plot, from the personal preferences that will be sprinkled liberally throughout most beta’s reviews.
Looks for weaknesses in your book while still staying true to the vision in your head.
Beta readers can be a valuable part of your editing process if you find the right kind of readers, and sift carefully through the feedback to separate the usable insights from the personal opinions.