Thursday, October 8, 2009

Putting Together a Press Kit

I finally got around to doing something I should've done about six months ago: putting together a little press kit about myself and the book. It's nothing special--the official Abrams press release, a few pages of good reviews, plus some images--but if you're interested, it's available here and via a new link I just added to the sidebar at the right.

The purpose of my press kit is to give writers or reviewers on deadline everything they need to do their jobs. A description of the book, a little biography, some choice quotes, a picture to cut and paste. Of course Publicist Amy and I have been doing that as needed until now, but I just had occasion to pull it all together and figured I might as well put it online. If anyone needs it in the future, I'll just send them the link.

Like I said, should've done it long ago.

The secret of journalism--and I say this as a former and still occasional practitioner--is that journalists are lazy. Or if that's too strong, let's say they're very busy and like to work as efficiently as possible. The easier you, the potential subject of their piece, can make their job, the better. However, contrary to the hopes of PR flacks everywhere, no journalist with a gram of self respect prints a press release verbatim. (I can't guess how many hundreds of press releases I've seen that read like, "Fies Pharmaceuticals, a worldwide industry leader in the science of flea dip formulations, announces an exciting new product!" Does that ever work? What are they thinking?) I try to give journalists what I want when I'm in their shoes: enough background to answer the basics (what's the name of the book, who published it, what's it about, what's the reaction been, where are you from, what have you done before?) and breathing room to write the rest as they want.

As I pasted this together today, it did warm my heart to see WHTTWOT's good reviews all collected in one place. A bad review definitely sticks in my brain more stubbornly than a dozen good ones; on the other hand, seeing a dozen good ones --especially from people I respect--is a nice reminder that I must've done something right.


Sherwood Harrington said...

"Acrobat has finished searching the document. No matches were found."
Can you guess what I was looking for?

It really is great to see all of those reviews together. If you still have worries that too few people would "get it," reading all of those together at once a few times should banish that.

Brian Fies said...

A duck?

Or maybe a nervous twitch shared by two ducks?

Mike said...

With the cutbacks at newspapers, you'd be surprised how often a press release can get in verbatim, or at least with significant passages intact. It never hurts to try. (My favorite thing to cut is the beginning, where the CEO of the company is pleased to announce something. But I've sure seen it in print.)

Sherwood Harrington said...

The latter: di-duck tic.

Brian Fies said...

Knew I could count on you, Sherwood.

Mike, I probably wouldn't be surprised, and I think it's OK in some contexts. My local paper runs a "What's New in Business" column that basically reprints every press release about a new VP or revolutionary product that someone bothers to send them. Everyone knows what it is and what it's for. But that's community service, not news. Once a real writer or reporter gets hold of it, they ought to (and I assume they will) do more than retype it. If only for their pride.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Probably happens most frequently with obituaries.

Mike said...

Not since they became paid advertising, Sherwood. I used to have to rewrite them in AP Style and we had strict rules to keep them within length. When we switched to paid, people complained until they realized they could now list all the grandchildren, talk about his love of fishing, etc etc etc. (But I did tell one funeral director that the next time "angels came down from heaven to retrieve the soul of" anyone, I expected him to get a picture.)

Kid Sis said...

Yeah. I bet your bad reviews don't accuse you of being against vegetarians and healthy living. ;)