Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Q & A a la Ann Landers: You Want Me To Do What with That Media Kit?

I occasionally blog in a question and answer format on this blog similarly to the way I do it on my editing, grammar and formatting blog. This question came from one of my readers and fellows on the MuseItUpClub list serve:


QUESTION:

Carolyn, I’ve been reading Chapter 3 in The Frugal Book Promoter about media kits. It seems there is a lot that goes into one of these. What I haven’t been able to figure out is why I need to gather such extensive information. The editor at my local newspaper would probably go cross-eyed before they would read all that stuff. I know if I received one with all the info you talk about, I wouldn’t read the whole darned thing, just skip here and there.

Can you help me out here? Thanks!

Katie Hines
Children's Author
Coming Summer 2009: "Guardian"- A middle grade urban fantasy.


ANSWER:

Yes, Katie. You're on the right track. You want to make it easy on your editor--above all. The thing is, that kit is designed to do just that. That editor would rather browse through a bit and then, when she's grasped onto something she can use, know that everything she needs is right there. Any kind of a question she has that isn't answered right there may become a stumbling block to her using your material at all.

Your editor is one busy woman, probably doing about four jobs that I didn't have to do when I was sitting at a news desk back at the beginning of my writing career. So you want to give your editor stuff he can use exactly as you present it.

As an example, if your kit is an e-kit, then he doesn't even have to retype, just copy and paste. And if he needs that first person essay during a busy holiday season, he just uses it, because you've written it with a word count he's most likely to need, edited it for him and given him permission to use it, too. That's it! No work for him! And a filler? Editors are always needing fillers! Then you've provided them with your Seven Tips page and he can use any one of them and just drop in your name.

Having said that, every segment I mention in The Frugal Book Promoter doesn't go into every kit you send out. Take out the stuff you're sure your editor won't need or want. Except for the mass mailing after your book is issued, most times you can tailor your kit to fit an editor's specific need.

Generally, though, too much is better than not enough. A busy editor is a whole lot less likely to contact you for more info (unless she plans a whole feature on you) than she is to use what you have given her. I know. I once worked on a news desk. And I even find that true now with my newsletter. That's why I keep nagging in my newsletter about a full autosignature in e-mails, even for people you know well.

And when you are using most every segment I tell you about in your kit, the Table of Contents I suggest is a nice extra. (You can learn how I did it my TOC by downloading one of my kits from my website, www.howtodoitfrugally.com. Go to the media room for links on several kits--all differently focused.)

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and two how to books, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success. She is also the author of the Amazon Short, "The Great First Impression Book Proposal." Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com and AuthorsCoalition.blogspot.com, a blog that helps writers and publishers turn a ho-hum book fair booth into a sizzler. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at www.TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com.

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