View Full Version : Creating a Press Kit

Cathy C
10-03-2015, 05:06 PM
Several people lately have asked about getting books into book stores or getting reviews in newspapers. In today's world of online overload, it might be time to consider going back to an old-school marketing tool: A quality Press Kit. A well-done press kit can really make your book stand out over the host of spam emails deluging reviewers and small/indie bookstore managers. So, here's an article I wrote a number of years ago on how to how to create a Press Kit you'll be proud of and can send out or take with you on go-sees to bookstores. Good luck!

Create a great press kit

For a small press or self-published author, getting your book into a book store or accepted by a distributor can be a daunting task. How do you convince a buyer to give your book a chance? The best way to make a lasting impression is with a Press Kit. Publishers routinely issue press kits to buyers for distributors and independent booksellers as a way of getting the appropriate information to them in a concise, easy-to-manage format. You can duplicate the same high-quality Press Kit that a publisher prepares quite easily, by following this step-by-step guide:
The Press Kit that we’re going to create here is one that we did for our first novel, Road to Riches: The Great Railroad Race to Aspen.

First, buy the following supplies at your nearest Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples (or clone):

1) Glossy Portfolio folders (with inside pockets) in your choice of colors (think cream or tan for elegant, navy blue or black for “dark/creepy” or perhaps match a color on your cover!)

2) A half-ream or ream of 8-1/211″ 80# (# = pound) to 100# card stock in cream or buff. First, don’t confuse “paper” with “card stock”. 80# paper is not at all the same as 80# card stock. The stock should be about the same stiffness as a good quality business card. Don’t go with too much rag content or linen or else the letter edges will bleed and not look professional. One that’s very attractive is Astroparche Specialty Card Stock by Wausau Papers (same brand as the neon Astrobright paper that you can find in Walmart, btw, but the Astroparche is only in the OfficeMax and Papers Unlimited chains that I’ve been able to find) in “Natural” color. It’s only 65#, but for some reason feels much stiffer than even the 110#. It has a very professional look and feel.

3) Permanent glue stick, Dryline (Liquid Paper brand) permanent glue tape or double sided Scotch tape (yellow label in that brand). They all work about the same, but I prefer the Dryline glue tape for easy application. Remember that we’re talking *instant permanent*. If you mess up with a photo, the photo is trashed!
Next, take out five sheets of the heavy paper.

Put the first sheet aside.

Take the second sheet, and cut one inch off the bottom with a papercutter or scissors.

Take the third sheet and cut two inches off the bottom.

Take the fourth sheet and cut three inches off the bottom

Take the fifth (final) sheet and cut four inches off the bottom

When you tap them all together into a stack, you will have tabbed, or stepped, papers that will stand up on the left side of the portfolio so that each of their titles will show at a glance and can never be covered up by the other.

Have a good 57 photo of yourself taken, in black and white. Professional and author-y, without too much “Glamour Shots” feel. Glue it to a sixth, full-sized piece of the paper with double-stick tape or glue stick. Make sure that none of the sticky ends up outside the edges of the photo. If it does, use a different sheet of paper. There’s nothing worse than a book buyer or distributor representative getting sticky fingers from your promo material! It works best to apply the tape/glue to all four corners and then put an X in the center, corner to corner, to stick it firmly. Tuck it into the opposite side of the portfolio so that the photo isn’t covered by the pocket.
On the tallest sheet of the heavy paper, you will center about one inch from the top of the page the following words in 48-64 point type (Times New Roman or Arial work best, but feel free to experiment with fonts to fit the tone of the book):


On the next tallest page, you will use the SAME typeface and size to print in the center:


On the next tallest page, you will use the SAME typeface and size to print in the center:


On the next tallest page, you will use the SAME typeface and size to print in the center:


On the shortest page, you will use the SAME typeface and size to print in the center:


Here is the data that appeared on ours. You’ll have to adjust the size of the font and content to fit the various sized pages and the details of your book. The text should be centered both vertically and horizontally on the page. Distance below the title doesn’t matter.


Road To Riches: The Great Railroad Race To Aspen

ISBN: 1-890437-84-0

$14.95, 192 pages

26 Illustrations & photographs

Size: 69


Authors: Cathy L. Clamp and C.T. Adams

Ship Date: May, 2003

Distributors: Books West, Baker & Taylor, Partners/West, Quality Books, or directly from Western Reflections Publishing Company.

Interesting Tidbits:

*The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad completed the eighty-six miles from Red Cliff to Aspen in just eight months.

*The D&RG used 1,000 men and over 600 animals to construct the first railroad through the Glenwood Canyon.

Glenwood Canyon still remains one of the biggest obstacles to east-west travel in all of Colorado.

Road to Riches: The Great Railroad Race to Aspen is published by Western Reflections Publishing Company (800) 993-4490 (tel:(800) 993-4490).



Cathy Clamp was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, lived in Glenwood Springs, was in Denver at the time she wrote the book, but now lives in Brady, Texas. She is a Certified Professional Legal Secretary, Certified Legal Assistant, CLA Real Estate Specialist, and CLA Intellectual Property Specialist. She likes reading, fishing, and hunting. She received an Honorable Mention for her short story, A Matter of Taste, in Writer’s Digest 2001 International Writing Competition. Cathy has written numerous magazine articles encompassing humor, the outdoors, and legal matters. She recently retired to become a full-time author.

C.T. Adams was born in Illinois, but now lives in Denver Colorado. She is a full-time legal secretary and her inspirational essay, Lessons, received an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest 2001 International Writing Competition.



“We’ve got to get a crew out to section ten,” Luke announced. “There’s a waterfall coming over the edge of the cliff. The water’s washed away the bed. The 403 will be arriving from Glenwood soon. It won’t see the damage in this storm until it’s too late!”

Luke could hear the faint whistle of the train as it passed the Satank station. The 403 must have left the station early. It would be here in a few minutes, and he wasn’t nearly a mile from the damaged rails. He grabbed the lantern, dismounted, and left his mule to find shelter near the cliff face. He turned up the flame until the red glass blazed, and began to swing it in wide arcs from side to side. The movement was nearly too much for his injured ribs to handle. He took short, gasping breaths and continued swinging the lantern. Minutes passed. The roadbed began to shake as the engine approached.

The ice-cold torrent poured down mercilessly. Luke couldn’t see through the storm, but knew the train was almost upon him. The headlight appeared out of nowhere, far too close. Startled, Luke leapt to the side, leaving the lantern on the tracks, and rolled down the embankment. He stopped just short of a stream formed by the icy October rain, nearly the size and speed of the Roaring Fork. He could barely move by the time he halted his fall. He lay there, pain flooding his mind, wheezing heavily. He struggled against the darkness that ate at the edge of his vision, listening intently. A heartbeat later, a whistle pierced the air. They had seen him. But, if they had not understood the warning, it would still be too late!


“This entertaining novelis based on the famous 1887 railroad race to Aspen, Colorado. The authors’ historical research is first rate.” Charles Albi, Historian, Colorado Railroad Museum


PR SYNOPSIS (Note: This is the first thing a buyer will see when they open the portfolio, because it’s on the shortest paper. They should be able to see the majority of the text on this page without removing the paper from the pocket.)
In 1887, Colorado’s western slope received freight by stage and wagon, a long and arduous trip over the Continental Divide. The Denver & Rio Grande (D&RG), known as the “Baby Road,” had just been reorganized by bankruptcy courts. Because of the bankruptcy, other railroads weren’t taking the Baby Road seriously. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe broke “The Treaty of Boston” and began building in D&RG territory. The Union Pacific was buying up smaller companies to cut into the D&RG’s business. The officers of the D&RG realized that whoever first reached Aspen could write their own ticket on tourists and freight of both silver ore and coal. William Jackson and David Moffatt closed their eyes, crossed their fingers, and dove into the battle with fists, and money, flying. The Colorado Midland had a head start. In March of 1887, the D&RG started building from Red Cliff, near Vail, using 1,000 men and over 600 animals. The construction crew traveled eighty-six miles from Red Cliff to Aspen—in eight months! From political backstabbing to multiple levels of saboteurs, the story is an eloquent tale of hard-working, proud men, building a route to the silver fields of Aspen, against the odds of weather and geography, and various factions trying to prevent their success.


That’s it! If you have a cover flat, trim it at the spine bend so that it’s just the front cover. You can double-tape or glue stick it on the front of the portfolio in the same way you did the photo and POOF! You have a Press Kit. If you don’t have a cover flat, you can also use Glossy photo paper if you have a JPEG of your cover from the publisher, and use it just like a cover flat. Print it out on a good quality inkjet at the size that approximates the size it will be on the shelf (57 or mass paperback size or 69 for trade paperback size), but not a full 810. You should be able to see the binder around the edges. An 810 photo looks stretched and not as professional as a regular cover size. As a last resort, you can just print the words “Press Kit” on another sheet of the heavy stock paper in a fancier lettering, such as Monotype Corsiva, bold, in 66 point font. Then trim it to a 2″x4″ strip and glue it on the same way about 4 inches down from the top instead of centered, so it looks like a title.

12-23-2015, 11:03 PM
Hey, you're my kind of people. I am a firm believer that newspapers and magazines are aliver and weller than most people think. I wrote an e-novel about some celebrity folks and got a nice article printed in the Hollywood Reporter online. That's a "trade publication," folks, that everyone in show biz reads. I placed an ad in it once and was informed half of the readers are millionaires. Upscale readers, in other words. And a lot of readers who are looking for a "property" -- a book, stage play, short story or even a script to make into the next blockbuster moom pitcher. I think print is overlooked vs. the Internet. Great post.

03-24-2016, 09:15 AM
I've been searching around to figure out how to write a press release myself. I've tried working with two different publicists with no results (or press release) and have been trying to learn how to do things on my own. Thanks so much for posting this!