Friday, February 17, 2012

Press Kit Ho-Hum

When my neighbor, a retired marketing specialist for a wine distributor, asked if she could host a book release party for Lowcountry Bribe, I was honored, and a little nervous. Not only was it focusing attention on me, but it involved contacting media. She offered to call all of them, and I was to prepare a media kit.

 Whew, I thought. I can run copies of everything, put them in a nice folder with a picture of the book on front, and have it done. She'd deal with the hard part. Easy-peasey.

 I put the kit together containing the following:
  •  A bio, with color picture. (1 page)
  • Excerpts from Lowcountry Bribe. (1 page)
  • An invitation to the book release party with cover picture. (1 page)
  • A business card - two-sided with all information.
  • A postcard - again an invitation to the event, just in different form.
  • A postcard - brilliant cover on one side and all website and purchase info on back.
  • Press release. (1 page front and back)
  • Color coordinated folder to match cover.
  • Stickers of the cover to place on the mailing envelopes for the kits.
 I was so proud. I prepared the mailing labels after my friend graciously ran down all the right names and addresses. I was about to seal the mailers when a teeny irritation niggled at me. Something wasn't right. Here I was mailing a request to people I didn't know, giving them all matching information, in hopes each would find me worthy. This was just like pitching agents and soliciting publishers. I needed to do one more thing.

 For several hours, I wrote cover letters, each designed specifically for the individual media outlet at hand. To the paper in my hometown where I attended high school and my parents still live, I inserted an anecdote about my 10th grade English teacher who made me hungry to write, who still lived in that town. To the paper in another county, I described how my book's setting depicted their area well, trying to sell readers on the beauty of the region. In yet another I referenced my love for the lake where I live and how as a local resident, I enjoyed the community and wanted to share my success. Each packet was personalized to the recipient. All 35 of them.

Yes, it took time. And yes, some rejected me regardless. But like any rejection, it's what they say about it that matters. Two editors wished I lived in their town, because they'd jump all over the story. And they added that if I ever did a book signing in their town, let them know and they'd post it.

I kept those remarks, and their addresses. Why? Because the sequels to Lowcountry Bribe move around the state. And the next press kits for subsequent books will include these same editors. Eventually repeat recognition and personal attention just might make them realize they have a real story here, and a diligent individual who just won't go away. And they'll know my name.


Anonymous said...

You are seriously awesome! I just got your book in the mail and it is going with me on vacation.

Good luck!!

Gabi Coatsworth said...

Excellent idea. I'm a big believer in the karmic value of this sort of thing. A little time spent on one good deed will yield results somewhere else, for sure. Good luck!

Lyn Fairchild Hawks said...

Yes, in this age of a gazillion connections that we make at the drop of a status update, it's well worth the time to treat each person as unique and each opportunity as individual. A great post and very helpful.


Glenda Beall said...

Excellent post, Hope.
Nothing is as good as the personal touch. I learned that from a master and I try to practice it all the time.