Mailing Your Media Kit
posted by rdsp
Now that you are armed with a handy-dandy press release, it’s time to put it to use. Your promo package will include the following:
—product, often with a sticker reading PROMOTIONAL COPY and including publisher info and release date
—something extra that stands out, such as bookmarks or a catalog
The media kit is essential to the book release process because it is how the various media outlets are informed about your product. If you provide incomplete packages, such as a book with no press release, you run the risk of being disregarded or having incomplete info passed on to the public.
Target #1: Reviewers. Research the markets that review books and find out exactly who packages need to be addressed to, any unusual policies they may have, and make sure you have the current street address. Above all be sure that the market actually reviews this type of material. You’re only wasting your time and money by unintentionally shipping children’s books to a college literary journal, or a book of experimental poetry to the religious publishing department. You should have this information in advance of your book’s release because the major reviewers—such as Kirkus, Library Journal Review, Publishers Weekly, and the major newspapers—require books three to six months in advance of release.
Target #2: Interviewers. Again, research and make sure you are sending to the proper people. Be sure to include information about author availability with complete contact info.
Target #3: Talk shows. You’ll find talk shows at all levels, from local college radio stations and cable access up to nationally syndicated morning radio shows and prime time broadcast TV. Due to the amount of material these people receive you should clearly mark the most relevant passages—if they can simply skip right to a certain convincing chapter they’ll read yours before the other hundred to come in that day.
Target #4: Celebrities. Usually you approach well known people for blurbs in advance, but it can help to send your product to those you admire after the fact as well. For example, send your book to musicians you admire who often write songs on subjects similar to your material. You’d be surprised how often these people share info about books they’re reading or movies they’ve just seen with fans, journalists, or people behind the scenes—who might be agents, producers, or publishers.
So, how many of these packages do you need to send out, anyway? It just depends on your goals and budget. Luckily, the Postal Service offers media rate mailing for books, video cassettes, etc., greatly reducing the cost of sending out fifty or a hundred packages. The downside is that return service isn’t available if the address is incorrect.
Waiting for responses from these mailings can be long and discouraging. Stay optimistic, and keep sending them out as time and money allow. It’s said that only one in seven mailings results in a review, but you can improve those odds by doing the proper research beforehand. Reviewers and interviewers also appreciate hand written notes and/or copies signed by the author. Even if you can’t hire a press clipping service to catch every last mention of your book, you’ll still receive a good amount of the reviews over time. Also, be sure to run your book title through search engines on the internet every week to catch reviews posted on web sites.
And remember, as reviews and interviews gradually pile up the best quotes should be included in any new media kits you send out, or added to your web site.
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