This is the last of three posts outlining the essentials that you need if you want a media-friendly author website if you want to get media attention. Still with me? Great!
If you recall, in Part One we discussed how to present basic information about yourself and your book(s). Then in Part Two, we went over the different ways you can make it easier for website visitors to contact you to set up an interview, ask questions, invite you to speak, etc.
In this final installment, you’re going to learn the basic sections of your author media kit. We’ll also go over the kinds of content you can put on your website to show us that you know your stuff!
Your author website needs to focus on serving the needs of the visitor. What is that person looking for? What will help him or her understand you better? What will demonstrate that you’re the go-to expert in your genre or your category?
Here are two kinds of content you can post on your website that will give visitors more context to appreciate you…
Media-Friendly Author Website Content #4: Media Materials
Your website should include a dedicated page with formal media materials. These materials are important if you’re going to have professional conversations about your author platform and your book.
While other parts of your website will touch on some of these ideas, you still want publicity assets that are easy to find, easy to skim, easy to download, and easy to grab and go. Some members of the media may take a few minutes to peruse your website, but most will go straight to this page.
Your media page serves as a one-stop shop with information about who you are as an author, information about your books, and images that can be used to support stories about you.
There are different ways to present these pieces:
- text on a page they can copy and paste
- links to individual files they can download one at a time
- a zip folder so they can download your media kit all at once
There are three general categories that belong on your media page:
The media materials on this page should focus on your authority in this category. You can be more casual on other parts of your site, but this page must explain why you’re an expert. These materials help them choose you, help them research you, help them prepare to interview you. This section might include author bios, suggested interview questions, and a feature article.
Here’s a strong author bio on the website of novelist Dolen Perkins-Valdez. We learn about her fiction and some of her literary achievements. The bio then moves into sharing her qualifications and her awards. All of this information is related to what she writes and helping us understand more about her as an author.
On his Press and Media page, Dr. Joel Fuhrman offers suggested interview questions related to several of his books. These links open the respective PDF files in a new browser window.
About Your Book
Even with a separate book page on your website, your media page should also include basic information about your book. This section might include a book excerpt, reviews and endorsements, and a one-sheet.
Travel writer Jay Artale has published a couple of guidebooks for folks who want to visit Turkey. This book page for her Gümüşlük Travel Guide shows website visitors an introduction to the book, a summary of each chapter, and links to read reviews or to see the book on Amazon.
The online press kit for science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer includes links to all kinds of helpful resources. You can click through for images, press releases, to find reviews of his books, and to find out more about the awards his books have won.
Media Kit Images
Your media page should include two essential images…
- an author photo that’s a simple headshot with lots of room around your head and shoulders
- a simple book cover that’s just your flat book cover
Both of these images should be available in high-resolution files.
It might be tempting to try and get fancy with these, but trust me when I say that the simpler these are, the more likely they’ll work for the media. You have the whole rest of your website to show us photos of you at that conference or with your pets, and to show us that blinking 3-D book cover with the halo effect. Just don’t put them on your media page.
On her author website, novelist Celeste Ng puts her images right on the homepage and uses them for navigation. So we have these nice, big images of her and her book covers—and when you click on one of the images, it takes you to a page with more information. The author photo takes you to her “About” page, and each book cover clicks through to a page about the book.
Chris Well (Yes, that’s me)
Here’s my official photo as it appears on the media page at Build Your Brand Academy. It’s right underneath the section where you can book me as a speaker, and right above the section where I list some of my media appearances. Some members of the media might use this file right here or they can right-click on it to grab a larger file.
Media-Friendly Author Website Content #5: Authority Content
Your website should include content that demonstrates that you know what you’re talking about. This can include blog articles, podcast episodes, videos, or other materials that prove your authority, demonstrate your expertise, or share your love for this category or genre.
This content should be about your subject of expertise. Don’t write about writing. (Unless, of course, that is your subject.)
Show your expertise in your category. This will draw a crowd of people interested in what your book is about. Even more importantly, this will show the media how you can talk to their audience about your subject.
Think of ways you can educate, enlighten, or entertain those interested in your category or genre…
- Teach lessons from your expertise
- Share how-to tutorials
- Pass along behind-the-scenes information about your research
- Interview other authors in your space
- Review books, movies, or other products in your category
- Create lists of relevant authors or books
The author of The 4-Hour Workweek uses his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, to build an audience interested in his unique brand of self-help books. On the show, he examines top performers from a variety of disciplines to find key takeaways for listeners.
Fantasy author Gillian Bronte Adams posts relevant lists on her blog to engage with fantasy readers. In this example, she counts down a list of scary monsters from fantasy literature, with examples from The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Songkeeper Chronicles, the Wingfeather Saga, and The Mistborn trilogy.
Leading up to her first book deal, Laura Vitale built up a library of cooking demos with Laura in the Kitchen, her show on YouTube. In the example, you can see that she also embeds these videos on her website, along with the corresponding recipe. Shannon Tayor Vannatter
Inspirational romance novelist Shannon Taylor Vannatter smartly showcases other authors on her blog. Whether you know any of these individual authors, collectively they’re attracting a growing pool of inspirational romance readers. Whenever Shannon has a new book coming out, she’s earned the right to tell this audience about it—because they’ve demonstrated that they’re fans of the genre.
What Are You Going to Do Now? (Checklist)
Now that we’ve come to the end of this series, you can go back and look at your author website with fresh eyes.
- Is your website organized so that newcomers can find what they need quickly and easily?
- How well do you explain yourself in a way that makes sense to brand-new visitors?
- Are your author information and book information current?
- Does your website make it easy to contact you for an interview or event?
- Have you created media materials that influencers can use to research you and promote you?
- Does your website include authority content that shows you are a go-to expert in your category?
Even after you check off all those boxes, remember that just creating a media-friendly author website doesn’t actually make people know you exist. You still have to reach out to generate attention. However, as new people find out about you, an informative author website will make it so much easier to get to know you.
As you add these different kinds of media-friendly author website content, make sure your navigation makes it easy to find these pages. The easier you make it for visitors to find what they want, the more likely that you’ll hear from them!
Which of these kinds of content do you still need to work on? Share how you’re doing in the comments below!
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