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Congratulations! Your book has been accepted by a publisher and is moving through the production process. No doubt as you approach publication, you’re hearing rumors of something called a press kit. Most authors are not naturally PR experts, so it takes a little explaining. Consider this your cheat-sheet for putting yours together!

So what’s in an author’s press kit?

Let’s first look at the purpose. What your press kit does is introduce your book (and, secondarily, yourself) to media, distributors, publishers, and bookstores — the people who will help you sell it to your readers. So what you need here is something clear, straightforward, and that gives all the needed information in one place.

At the minimum, a physical press kit should include:

  • press release
  • color image of the front cover
  • tip sheet
  • flyer advertising the book
  • your biography (twice: one long, one that’s a one-to-two paragraph job)
  • reviews
  • sample chapter
  • bookmarks or postcards

If you’d prefer to go digital, you don’t want to overwhelm your targeted outlets with emails and more. I’d recommend making this all available clearly on your website; you can do it via a page that’s not indexed or visible to the general public. Then when you query the prospect, all you need to do (in addition to a well-written introductory letter!) is point them to the URL.

Most of those items are self-explanatory, though you may not be familiar with the tip sheet, and it’s one of the most important components of the press kit. What it does is give a complete one-page description of the specifics of your book, and includes:

  • title
  • author’s name
  • ISBN
  • publisher’s name
  • publication date
  • book trim size
  • page count
  • subject or category
  • one sentence about the author
  • one-paragraph synopsis of the book
  • photograph of book cover
  • photograph of author
  • endorsements
  • social media presence, including numbers of followers

The tip sheet allows people to see everything they need to know at a single glance. Reviewers are being sent books all the time; they need to triage, and quickly. So the more time and effort you put into the tip sheet — and the whole press kit — the better chance you have of getting the attention your book needs.

Sounds like a lot of work for us right-brained individuals, doesn’t it? As if writing the damned book hadn’t been enough!

Yet you’ve presumably written it to be read, and this is the most likely way to accomplish that. I can’t guarantee your name in lights or on a Pulitzer, but I will tell you that reviews and media attention are requirements for success.

You’ve got this!

Written by

Bestselling novelist of mystery and historical fiction. Writer, editor, & business storyteller at

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