The Author Media Kit: How it Helps Me to Stay Organized

Since I got my butt kicked editing the hard-copy of my author media kit yesterday (the longer one I print out, not the one in the sidebar) I figure it will be the topic of today’s discussion. IT owes me that much!

I have slowed down my writing articles a lot lately so I figure we were due for one. I’ll discuss why I’ve slowed down at a later time. Anywho, the author media kit…

Though “It is always worth it” (See my most recent guest post here), that doesn’t mean it’s not important to focus on putting energy toward the right things (balance is seriously everything!) Energy and time spent directed toward the wrong thing is just as ineffective as no energy toward the work at all. Running into a wall will produce the same thing as standing still. It is insanity, repeating the same thing and expecting a different result. Posting everyday on your blog will not bring more views if you aren’t also networking with others or people can’t even find a follow button on your blog at which to follow your blog (my most serious blog pet peeve!) That is why I have shifted my perspective and started to focus on activities that will give me a return on my time. It is about growth.

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Partial snapshot of the office and my unorganized work-space. Yes, I work from two computers. One is responsible for holding my sticky notes lol

At some point in your writing life, you are going to have to get a bit organized. Whether that is posting sticky notes on your computer as reminders (guilty), keeping a notebook filled with notes you may or may not be able to read (guilty again), or having an author media kit.

I’ve been updating my writing life in more ways than one and have found that being able to go to my author media kit for links has been a great help in getting things done. What is an author media kit anyway?

An Author Media Kit is a collection of marketing material that anyone wishing to know more about you as an author can access and use for articles they may want to write on you, interviews, and other forms of publicity. It is a collection of branded hype-free marketing materials and collateral material for journalists.

The media kit is always a work-in-progress. It is something that must be revisited and added to as you gain more exposure for your work and should be both electronic and hard-copy. (You can find my e-copy on the sidebar of this blog HERE. It’s a little bootleg but I’m working on it). It doesn’t matter where you are in your career, every writer can use a media kit. This means that your “status” as a writer has nothing to do with it. Whether you have twenty book reviews or none, whether you are a Best Seller or novice, whether you’re a Self-Publishing “Pro” or not, whether you are visible in the community or not. All of this has nothing to do with the Author Media Kit. Easy to put together if you invest the time, you do not need any special skill set, training, or experience. In fact, the author media kit can be bought if you have the money and is not something you send out to people in the form of a “Buy my Book” Ad.

“Luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey

Look at it as an opportunity to prepare. When the door opens for you to appear on someone’s radio show or your article to be featured in a magazine or whatever you consider “doing it big”, the media kit will come in handy. In fact, the interviewer will refer to the kit for basic information on you as his form of preparation and research.

The Author Media Kit is:

  • A major marketing package
  • Anyone should be able to access it through your website/blog
  • Journalist expect it
  • Ensures accuracy in news stories
  • Helps people to promote you and your book
  • Free publicity – Free publicity beats paid Ads

7 Key Audiences Who Will Access Your Media Kit

  1. Journalist – Broadcasters, Talk Show Hosts
  2. Bloggers – Easy access to photos bloggers can use, social media handles
  3. Reviewers— Amazon reviews in your kit
  4. Retailers
  5. Individual Buyers
  6. Event Planners
  7. Anyone Who Wants to Promote you or Your Book

The primary goal of the media Kit is to make all these people’s job easier. By making their job easy, they are going to promote you and your book.

Caution.
The Author Media Kit is not something you send out to people as a “Buy My Book” Ad. It is something that is offered in the event someone needs more information on you. It is also there in the event someone happens to organically come across your website. All the information they need to know about you is right there. It is not even for you, but for others.

Personally, it helps me to stay organized and cut down on a lot of time. It helps me to:

  • Easily access social media links and photos for guest blog posts
  • Easily update my author website or anything else that may require such info as contact emails and links
  • Copy and paste needed info into emails of inquiry
  • Share across social media in the event someone is looking for more information about me.

I can go on but you get the point. It even helps in the case of Book Reviews! Are you tired of having to send your social media handles out? Author photos? Send the reviewer to your Author Media Kit. There, they can find author photos, social media links, and anything else that they need and so can you.

Not only does the Author Media Kit help others to find you but it helps you too.  My online Media Kit (which needs work itself but that’s the kit for you. It will always need an upgrade!) is working for me right now. I can go to it for my social media links and my bios for the website, cutting down on time I can now spend doing something else.

(Speaking of Bio, it is good to have at least 3 different sized bios in case someone wants to write something on you and they may not have a lot of time. They can copy and paste the short one or the extended one according to their schedule. It is good to have a short bio, a medium length bio, and an extended bio.)

It’s about taking the steps needed so that you do not drown in this sea that is Indie Publishing by making yourself easier to find. Just like genuinely supporting others, by making the job of others easier you naturally become better. (Also, write your bio in 3rd person so people can cut and paste it. Again, the job of the Author Media Kit is to make the job easier for whoever is reaching out to you.)


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the author of The Stella Trilogy, Blogger, and Poet. She is currently working to release two books in “The Nora White Story” this year–about a young woman who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release July 15, 2017. For updates on this and other projects be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel

I don’t usually use an outline when writing my books but I found this really neat method I’d like to try. While I can’t say I’ll stick to it like glue, it looks like something that will help me to organize my thoughts without the confusion. For my next project I’ll be using The Snowflake Method. Click Here to check it out. After your reading, research, and daydreaming is done (when you have an idea of what the story is about), here is Step #1 from the article:

Step 1) Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel. Something like this: “A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul.” (This is the summary for my first novel, Transgression.) The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

When you later write your book proposal, this sentence should appear very early in the proposal. It’s the hook that will sell your book to your editor, to your committee, to the sales force, to bookstore owners, and ultimately to readers. So make the best one you can!

Some hints on what makes a good sentence:

  • Shorter is better. Try for fewer than 15 words.
  • No character names, please! Better to say “a handicapped trapeze artist” than “Jane Doe”.
  • Tie together the big picture and the personal picture. Which character has the most to lose in this story? Now tell me what he or she wants to win.
  • Read the one-line blurbs on the New York Times Bestseller list to learn how to do this. Writing a one-sentence description is an art form.

Another important point: It doesn’t have to be perfect. The purpose of each step in the design process is to advance you to the next step. Keep your forward momentum! You can always come back later and fix it when you understand the story better. You will do this too, unless you’re a lot smarter than I am.

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Sounds exciting! There is also a book which you can find here. Are you writing a book? Share the method to your madness! How do you stay organized?

Before and After Blog Awards Part 2: Pros, Cons

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So over a month ago I wrote a post on Blog Awards called Before and After Blog Awards. In this post, I speak on how I felt about them before and after I knew what they were, how they are distributed, and what I think will make them shine just a little bit more. Today, I am doing a follow up post on my thoughts concerning Before and After Blog Awards only this time from the perspective of someone who has received them.

In the first post, I had never before received a blog award so my perspective was based on my understanding of what they were, not so much my experience on what they were which makes a great difference (you can research a topic and discuss it with a group of people, but if you have lived that topic it’s a lot different). So now that I have received a few Blog Award nominations and have therefore become intimately part of the process, here are my thoughts.

The Pros:

Search anywhere in the blogosphere and you will find post after post of people’s thoughts on what they think makes for a successful blog. These posts, always insightful to read, talk about everything from follower count to blog views to dashboards and everything you can think of in order that you may gage (according to your personal ethics) what makes for a successful blog. But there’s no real way (aside from your personal ethics and stuff like that) to determine if you’re really reaching someone except for:

1). Well thought out comments, (I’m talking actual full commentary not short glossed over courtesy’s we all give to strangers we pretend to like),

2). Real time e-mails or blog post shout outs / support directly from followers 3). and Blog Awards

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I think Blog Awards are a great way to show appreciation for another blogger as well as inform that blog (s) that you are tuned into their content. When I received my first blog award I was ecstatic! It was the close of 2014 and I was excited to end on such a great note. I didn’t expect to be so happy about it, but I was because I’m just an appreciative kind of person. It feels good to know that someone’s thinking about you. When I received my 2nd Blog Award I noticed my level of excitement was a lot more calmed, but it was still an amazing feeling of appreciation nonetheless. It is for this reason that though given  my views about it, I will always accept my nominations; now whether or not I’ll follow the rules…. that’s another story and leads into my After Blog Award Cons:

The Cons:

As I’m sure I mentioned in the first post, I do have some thoughts I feel will increase the genuine appreciation of blog awards. One of which are the rules. So far I’ve been nominated for four total blog awards, however in all cases I noticed I did not exactly follow the rules although I accepted the award. I don’t know if that’s considered cheating or not (I hope not lol) but there were some valid reasons (in my opinion) for skipping out on some of the terms. Ironically, the one problem I have with Blog Awards is the nomination process of other blogs, even though this is the way I’m usually nominated. Perhaps you can consider me a rebel (with a cause) and for the record I really do love giving back, but I think the blog awards with the nomination of a set number of blogs attached to the rules takes away some of the edge. Everyone likes to win and I think that’s great, but in real life everyone does not win. In fact, I think one of the major downfalls to the American Public School System is the re-arranging of the curriculum so that answers are correct as long as they make the children feel better. But I digress…

 

blog-awards-vote-hereAwards bring to mind competition with the person who worked the hardest winning the competition. While I’m sure everyone works hard to come up with a list of the blogs they think qualifies for the award, you can never be sure that everyone puts forth the same lengthy thought process necessary to really consider those blogs. For this reason the requirement to nominate a set number of blogs is always kind of tedious for me and downgrades the experience a bit. I love giving back, but I always want to make sure the blogs I nominate are truly deserving and are not just byproducts of a chain reaction:

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Congratulations! You’re So Special!
“Thank You!”
“Now nominate someone just as special as you!”
“Oh, ok.”

Lol…I know it sounds like I’m hating but I really do love blog awards as my excitement shows when I receive them. Nomination Blog Award rules has gotten me Blog Award nominations but this can be somewhat tricky for three reasons:

a). To nominate a large number of blogs is to be in tune with those blogs enough to know that they qualify for those awards

 
b). Bloggers follow a variety of blogs themselves, some less than others.

 
c). Blog Nominations < Nomination being the key word

Let’s start by elaborating on point a). since I think it’s the most important:

DSC02030It is common knowledge in the blog world that with so many different blogs (and not to mention the lives we live outside of technology) it is possible to miss out on a lot of material even from blogs you enjoy. While someone may just follow your blog, it is possible that they will not get to read your every published post, or that they even want to. However, by requiring a number of blog nominations from recipients, it forces bloggers to dig around the blogosphere for blogs that in their opinion make the grade, this is great. As I stated, I’m all for giving back. The problem with this technique though is that the blogger may not necessarily nominate bloggers whose blogs meet the qualifications to be associated with that award. Sure, I may have a friend whose blog I really like, but if my nomination requires me to nominate 20 people for the “Keeping it Real–No Chaser” Blog Award and my friend’s blog is about Cats, technically I’m not supposed to nominate that blog if this cat blog does not keep it real. Technically I’m supposed to only list blogs I think are worthy of the award under that specific title. However, I just may throw this Cat woman in the pot of nominations because she’s such a good friend and I got one more nomination slot to fill. Naiveté does not want me to believe it, but common sense says that all Bloggers are not nominating people whose blogs fit the award; bloggers are nominating their friends and friends of their friends.

blog-awards-humbleThis is cool beans, but I think it will be a showcase of a much greater level of professionalism if we increased the competition by making sure our nominees actually deserve this particular award. Perhaps a process of elimination culminating in a final win to which that blogger posts something about themselves without the requirement to nominate others. I’m not saying its bad to nominate others, I’m saying this is how awards are given in the world. I recognize your writing with the presentation of an award. If someone else deserves the same award, they are given this by the overseeing officials not the award recipient. It is possible that the first 5-7 people nominated under a 15-20 nominee requirement truly deserves it, but what happens when you get down to the 17th person? Or the 20th and you’re all out of blogs that fit that criteria? At this point some of us are scratching the surface of people we follow for someone to fit these shoes. This can result in a disingenuous nomination. Did I get nominated because you really enjoy my blog? Or because you tune into a majority (don’t expect it to be all) of my material and found it enlightening? OR was I just a final attempt to fulfill a blog award quota?

I think Blog Awards are great and I am by no means saying my nominations were the result of this example, but I think taking certain changes into consideration will make them much more desirable and the recipient much more accepting. I know I know, “Where’s your Blog Award Mrs. Bright Ideas?” I’m actually working on that….on a slightly different level though.

Moving on….b):

It’s impossible for someone with only a handful of followers to seek the nomination of the same amount of bloggers or close to it honestly (meaning these people honestly fit this criteria, not just your favorites list). As stated this can result in a disingenuous nomination by someone who does not necessarily hate your blog, but who knows little to nothing about you but feels the need to jot down your name to fulfill the nomination. Have I done this? Of course not, this is why I break blog award rules because I’m not just going to write down anything, I’m going to make sure my nominees actually deserve the award.

Moving on…

c). And let’s not forget the most obvious typo of all: Nomination.

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Maybe I’m just a little slow here, but Nominations are part of the process of selecting a candidate for either election to an office, or the bestowing of an honor or award. These are Blog Nominations, but how does anyone win? Doesn’t it make sense to have blogs to nominate 15-20 of their favorite blogs under a specific category for the culminating of a final win? I do understand this happens in some part of the world, but as it relates to the steady chain of blog nomination awards here my question is this: I received the nomination along with a lot of other people, “Yay us!” Now, what must I do to be declared winner? 🙂

In closing I now know how it feels to receive a Blog Award, it is a great feeling. Even while knowing what they are and how they are circulated it’s still a reminder that someone in some quite part of the world is listening and that’s inspiration enough for anyone to keep writing. However, this very same system has the potential to be degraded if someone was to find out they weren’t nominated for an award because someone cared, but they were nominated only because the blog rules required it.For this reason I think it’s  a good idea to tweak the rules a bit to make Blog Awards more exciting and it’s recipients more willing to accept them (as a lot of people have decided not to take part in the process). Until then, I encourage all Blog Award Nominees to nominate Blogs you honestly feel are deserving of that Award, not just those who are your friends.