How to find the perfect target market for your book–Free training tonight

Find a book target marektOne of the big mistakes authors make dooms their books to failure even before they’re finished writing.

They have no clear picture of the target market.

They spend months writing, more time editing, rewriting and proofing, and they call me when they’re ready to launch their a publicity campaign.

The first question I ask is, “Who’s the target market for your book?”

Often, I hear silence.

If you don’t know who you are writing for, you can’t possibly know where to find those readers online and offline.

Why You Book Isn’t for “Everybody”

Sometimes, authors tell me their book is written for “everybody.” Those authors are delusional.

If it’s written for everyone, that means it’s written for blue collar, white collar and unemployed workers. You’re trying to attract men and women, gay and straight, young and old, Democrat and Republican, church-goers and atheists, single and married.  

It’s impossible to create a marketing message that tells all those people, “This book is perfect for you.”

Tricks and Tools for Finding Your Target Market

If you don’t have a good idea of your target market, take advantage of free training tonight. Georgia McCabe, a book marketing expert, will be the guest presenter on a webinar we’re hosting on “Ninja Tricks for Finding Your Perfect Target Market for  Your Book.” It’s from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 20. Register here.

If you attend, you can ask questions. If the time is inconvenient, we’re recording it. I’ll post the video here.

This is the fourth of four free webinars for authors to give you a taste of what we will be teaching on our Publishing at Sea cruise to the eastern Caribbean Jan. 18-15. Book shepherd Judith Briles and book distributor Amy Collins will join Georgia and me to teach authors about the business of publishing a book. We’ll cover everything from how to raise money to pay for your book to what to do if sales stall six months after you’ve launched it. 

More Free Training for You

You can watch replays of the other three webinars on my Publishing at Sea 2015 playlist on YouTube. The titles are:

How to Create Story Ideas for Book Publicity

Book Publishing Costs and Timelines for Authors

How to Get Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews


Book Launch Tip: Gather Blurbs, endorsements long before launch — Free call July 30


Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews Free Training  July 30In marketing-speak, it’s called social proof. Translated, it means, “Buy this product. Right now. Or you’ll be sorry.”

For authors, social proof includes book blurbs, endorsements and testimonials, three important types of marketing copy.

You find them on the inside flap of a book you’re thinking of buying at a bookstore. You also find them on various pieces of marketing copy, and on

But which is which? 

How long before launch do you have to start hunting for them? How do you find them without sounding needy or pestering people?  

Can you use a nice compliment about your book that someone includes in an email without asking their permission? 

Book distributor Amy Collins will answer those questions, and more, during a free webinar at 6 p.m. Eastern Time today. Register for  Register to listen to the replay of  “Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews: How to Collect Them and When to Use Them.” 

 It’s the first of four weekly training programs to whet your appetite for the Publishing at Sea cruise that Amy and I will be hosting Jan. 18-25 along with book shepherd Judith Briles and social media expert Georgia McCabe. We’re setting sail from Fort Lauderdale aboard Royal Caribbean’s “Allure of the Seas.”

The four of us, aka The Chicks at Sea, will be teaching on the days when we’re at sea. On the days when we visit the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, you’re free to have fun on your own. 

But more about that tonight.

Not sure you want to join us in January? Register anyway for “Book Blurbs, Endorsements & Reviews: How to Collect Them and When to Use Them.” You’re going to be swamped in the weeks leading up your launch. Attending our free webinar tonight will help you start gathering social proof long before you launch.

And, unlike many other authors, you won’t leave this important task for the last minute.

See you tonight!

20 Things About Publicity True 20 Years Ago and Today – Part 2

By Marcia Yudkin

To celebrate the milestone of my book 6 Steps to Free Publicity remaining in print 20 years after its first edition appeared, here is the second part of my post about 20 points about publicity that are as true now as in 1994. You can catch up on Part 1 here.

Three editions of "6 Steps to Free Publicity"

The first, second and third editions of “6 Steps to Free Publicity”

  1. Media coverage impresses people on planes and at parties.
    6 Steps begins with me on a flight to the west coast sitting beside a Congressman who gave me a look of respect when our other seatmate told him my company was on page 1 of the Wall Street Journal that morning. While I have been in situations over the years where snobby people scoffed “So what?” at various achievements of mine that I rather cherished, this has never happened with the Wall Street Journal story or my cover story for Psychology Today being mentioned by Tom Brokaw on the national nightly news.
  1. Errors may happen.
    Human nature hasn’t changed. Both reporting and editing involve fallible human beings who can make mistakes in spelling, facts or interpretation even when they’re putting in their best professional effort. In some contexts, though, it’s easier than 20 years ago to get corrections into the public record for posterity. Reputable news organizations usually post corrections online along with their original story, whereas in the past the corrections would appear in a different issue, with the original mistake left as is.
  1. Publicity benefits causes.
    Whether it’s someone in the community who needs a new wheelchair van, activists trying to kill a proposed new law, or a nonprofit spreading awareness about the dangers of chemical lawn fertilizers, articles, letters to the editor and on-air interviews definitely get you closer to the goal. In the 1980s, I got two local TV stations to cover a Mother’s Day march for peace that I helped organize by emphasizing in my press release that the event would feature colorful banners and kids holding balloons. Thinking visually and dramatically today still helps get your advocacy message out.
  1. Publicity can change minds.
    In 6 Steps I discussed the power of publicity to challenge stereotypes. Last year the toy company GoldieBlox released a video parody of the lyrics from the Beastie Boys’ “Girls/To do my dishes/Girls/To clean up my room,” with young girls singing instead “Girls/To build a spaceship/Girls/To code the new app” with such joy that it was hard not to see them as future engineers. Before the video was pulled from YouTube because it infringed on the Beastie Boys’ copyright, 7.5 million visitors saw it, and millions more were exposed to its idea from coverage of the story.
  1. Schmoozing with media folks is smart.
    Over the years, I have featured scores of subscribers to my Marketing Minute newsletter in that publication after they sent me spontaneous email comments and I wrote back to learn more about their point of view or success story. Of course, it’s even smarter if you’re deliberate yet still informal in your schmoozing, as I recommended in 6 Steps. Today you can schmooze by following reporters, columnists or popular commentators on Twitter, post comments in response to their content or upload a video review of their latest book to Amazon.
  1. Published articles by you attract attention from key prospects.
    An article I published several years ago in a magazine for financial advisors led to copywriting projects with clients in that industry for the next three years. More recently, a guest blog post brought me thousands of dollars’ worth of immediate registrations in an upcoming coaching program. It’s the very same dynamic.
  1. Speaking elevates you to expert status.
    As I explained in 6 Steps, by virtue of being the one listed on the program and standing in front of the room, you’re credible to your audience. In addition, being a speaker creates powerful opportunities for pre-event, post-event and word-of-mouth publicity. These truths have not faded in the slightest since the first edition of my book.
  1. Publicity can cost nothing but time and energy (and perhaps some trifling expenses).
    To get featured on page 1 of the Wall Street Journal in 1990, I paid for copying and stamps to 100 or so top media targets. Today a creative, well-timed email or tweet that costs you nothing can get your message into newsrooms across the country or around the world. If you understand the way the media work, you still do not need to hire a designer, copywriter or professional publicist to get your message out.
  1. You can invent and publicize a holiday.
    Chase’s Calendar of Events continues to come out annually, listing events sponsored by organizations, like World Oceans Day and Elvis Week in Memphis, but also special days proposed by individuals, such as National Columnists’ Day, created by Jim Six of Woodbury, N.J. and International Aura Awareness Day, from Cynthia Larson of Berkeley, Calif. The cost to get listed in Chase’s? Still zero.
  1. Publicity is fun.
    Compared to, let’s say, preparing financial projections, firing a client or writing up performance reviews, strategizing ways to get publicity is energizing and enjoyable. You get the chance to exercise your playful, imaginative capacities. Studying what others have done to earn publicity is mind-expanding and delightful as well. Twenty years after first publishing my advice on publicity, I still consider this vehicle for spreading the word a treat to plan and its results particularly gratifying. How about you?

I welcome your reflections and anecdotes on publicity constants—and changes—in the Comments.

Start a book publicity campaign at least 6 months before launch

 Kate Bandos book publicity chart


I wish all authors would refer to the chart above, a complete timeline for book publicity campaign,  a full year before they start writing their books.

It’s courtesy of book publicist Kate Bandos. When she showed this to me a few years ago at an authors conference, my jaw dropped because it’s such a handy cheat sheet for authors.

It’s the very best document I’ve seen that lays out in precise accuracy exactly what to do, and when, to market your book. Here’s the PDF document, perfect for printing and hanging in your office so you are well aware of all the work you have to do.

Launch date is that red line down the middle. All items to the left of it are tasks you must do starting 28 weeks before.

You Can’t Start Too Early

When it comes to planning your book publicity campaign, you can’t err by starting too early. But most authors who call me, sometimes in a panic, leave themselves too little time. I’ve spoken with authors who give themselves only three weeks to do a publicity campaign. They don’t have a media kit or other marketing materials, and they don’t know where to start.   

I’m sharing Kate’s chart here, along with answers to frequently asked questions about book publicity and publicists. They will give you a good idea of why you must leave yourself enough time to do the job right.

FAQs About Book Publicity and Publicists    

Q. I’ve been thinking about hiring a publicist for about 10 hours to try and get articles in the U.S. Is this realistic?

A. If you can afford a publicist, you should hire one primarily to get you top-tier media attention: in major magazines and newspapers, major news websites, big bloggers, etc. bloggers, etc. You can work alongside her and pitch smaller media outlets, do outreach for guest blog posts at smaller blogs, etc. Ten hours won’t get you very far, however. Your publicist will need to spend significant time learning about you and your book before she starts pitching.

Q. How much does a publicist cost?

A. You should expect to spend several thousand dollars minimum. Kate Bandos and other publicists have a la carte services for authors on a budget. Other book publicists charge about $2,500 a month, and some want a six-month commitment.

Q. Does my publicist pitch all the book reviewers?

A. It depends on much you can spend. I recommend your publicist only target the major reviewers and other top-tier media. You can pitch the other 90 percent of the reviewers. I hosted a webinar several months ago on exactly how to do that. It even includes templates for emails you can send to reviewers asking for reviews. See How to Ask for Book and Product Reviews from Bloggers, Journalists and Consumers. 

Q. What if I’m not very well known? Can I still start book publicity six months before launch?

A. Ideally, if you aren’t well known, you should start building platform a full two years before you publish. It takes that long to build profiles on social media, learn the lay of the land, and build traction. In some cases, you need two or three years to position yourself as a recognized expert in your field.

Q. What is author platform?

A. I like digital publishing expert Jane Friedman’s definition of author platform: “Someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience.”  She explains what platform is and what it isn’t. Many authors miss this critical step of building platform, and then wonder why they can’t sell books.

Q. How to I find the best publicist for me?

A. Ask other authors for recommendations.  LinkedIn has several excellent Groups for authors and publishers. I like Author U, moderated by Judith Briles. Never hire a publicist unless you have spoken with at least three authors who have worked with your candidates.

Q. Who builds my media kit—me or my publicist?

A. Use a publicist for targeting top-tier media. Use my Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors. Your publicist can make suggestions for other items you need to include in your kit, depending on what she has planned for your publicity campaign. But building the kit yourself according to my instructions will save you a lot of time and money. 

What burning questions do you have about book publicity that I’ve missed? 

Author Media Kit: Include 8 essential items

Free Publicity Media Kits for AuthorsYour book’s media kit is the major marketing package that tells a variety of audiences about the book, and makes it easy for them to report on it or promote it. 

Yet many authors are confused about what goes into the kit. If you’ve written more than one book, you should have one media kit for each book. But some of the materials in all those media kits can be the same, such as your author bio. 

Here are the eight essential items that every media kit should include, with tips on how to create them:



1. Author Bio

This is actually a series of four bios, written in different lengths to make the media’s job easy. If you provide only one long bio, journalists and others who need just a short paragraph about you must wade through your bio, find what they need, and write it. This slows them down. And there’s no guarantee that what they write will be accurate.

Include an “Author Bio” sheet with bios, all written in the third person, in these four sizes:

  • Two-line bio. This should be 140 characters which, coincidentally, is the maximum size of a Twitter status update. Why so short? Because if someone wants to tweet a description about you, you’ve already written it. Also, a two-line bio might be all you’re allowed in the author resource box if you write an article for a magazine.
  • Short Bio (50 words). This is ideal for longer author resource boxes. Concentrate on your expertise.
  •  Medium bio (100 words). Include everything in the short bio. Include your most noteworthy accomplishments.
  • Long bio (400 to 600 words). Write an overview of your life and writing career. Include everything in the medium bio. You can use this to tell a story.
  • Speaker introduction. This is very helpful for meeting planners and others who invite you to speak. Never let them write your introduction. Insist that they read the one you provide. Write up to 300 words.
  • 5 Fun Facts You didn’t Know About Me.  These can include trivia from your personal or business life, unusual hobbies or travels, or anything that will give readers a glimpse into your personality. You can write more than five, if you wish.

2. Book Synopsis

Write these all in the third person, in four different lengths: a two-line summary, short, medium and long.  Take your time to consider the full scope of the book before writing each synopsis.  

Consider what the book has to offer, the most compelling parts of the story, or the niche the book serves.  Write short and pointed sentences that are appropriate for a general audience, and pitch your book in as few words as needed.


3. Press Release

Include contact information, a headline and subhead.

Start the most interesting aspect of the book and explain what the reader will learn.

Include a quote from the author. It can include why you wrote the book, what you hope readers will learn or advice included in the book.  Include a call to action with a link to a website where readers can buy the book. 


4. Sample Chapter

Choose a chapter that reflects what the book is about. You an include a link to a Table of Contents and Amazon reviews. 


5. Interview Questions

Most journalists, broadcasters and bloggers who want to interview you will not have time to read your book. That’s why they will welcome a list of interview questions. They won’t necessarily limit the interview to those question, but the list will provide a handy springboard that will help them start the conversation.


6. Contact Information

Include a sheet that tells people every way possible to contact you: by office phone, email, Skype, and links to all your social media profiles. This may well be the most important item in your media kit. If you’re mailing copies of your book to reviewers, it’s a good idea to slip a copy of your press release and the contact information sheet into the book.


7. Book Review Excerpts

You should be asking for book reviews before you launch the book. When you get them, choose excerpts from the best ones and compile them onto a sheet along with basic information about the book. These excerpts might sway a journalist to write about you. Or they might prompt someone to buy your book and maybe even write a review.   


8. Photos

Include links to high-resolution head shots and a few environmental shots that show you in a variety of settings. For example, a cookbook might include photos of her in the kitchen, whipping up a favorite dish, or shopping at a local farmer’s market. Small newspapers, newsletters and bloggers will welcome these photos. You will also need a photo of your book cover.  

Here’s a good example of an environmental photo for bestselling author Edward Vilga’s media kit. He is the author of Downward Dog and Yoga in Bed. The photo of Edward and his dog, Belle, was taken by Jonathan Pozniak.


author edward vilga and belle 


Templates to Help You

Author Media Kit Templates for a BookAll of this content has to read well and look good. This is where many author media kits fall short.

Book publishing expert Joel Friedlander and I have worked with hundreds of authors. We know the types of questions they have about book publicity and, especially, media kits. That’s why we created a series of helpful templates that remove the mystery and guesswork from creating these materials.

“Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors” is the only product of its kind that removes the expensive, huge time commitment and worry from creating a media kit. 

It includes:

  • A package of 8 PDF documents that are pre-formatted templates for the eight most important items mentioned above.
  • Another 4 templates for items that will come in handy during your book marketing campaign. You don’t have to include all these in your kit, but you will need them when approaching national retailers, book stores, book reviewers and when you sell books at events like book signings.
  • Full instructions on how to use the templates, including samples of every template so you can see how the materials should look when completed. The templates include black text (where you will place your own copy) and red text (tips from me on how to write it.)


Rave Reviews from Authors

Here’s a sample of reviews we’ve received for the templates:

From Marjorie Turner Hollman, author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts and a journalist for 17 years:

“I put your suggestions right to work and am finding that I need exactly what you described as I reach out to venues to promote my new book…I was lacking the important pieces you recommended. For those who feel unsure about writing a press release, bio, a blurb or a speaker introduction, buy the templates!”


From Author Barbara Lyons Stewart (no relation):

“You have saved me weeks and weeks of time doing things just one step at a time–and losing motivation because with that process I always feel that ‘I am missing something.’ I listened to your webinar and purchased your program as soon as you signed off (as any listener with an ounce of good sense should have done).”


From Edward Vilga, bestselling author of Downward Dog and Yoga in Bed:

“Joan Stewart’s QUICK AND EASY MEDIA KIT TEMPLATES reflect her media savvy, no-nonsense approach to PR success for authors. Her clear explanations and pre-formatted templates are a terrific time-saver and guarantee a professional, effective publicity campaign.”


From Dr. Marlena Corcoran, author of an International Student’s Guide to Getting into Top U.S. Universities:

“I love the templates, and the concept of a complete template book. The templates are truly paint by numbers!”


From Author Melanie Abed:

“You have no idea how grateful I am to have access to this kind of material. You have helped cut my stress in half!

You can see what the entire package of templates includes here.

Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors FAQs

This is a busy weekend.

Before you get sidetracked and miss this, read this summary of Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors, the very popular package that will shave weeks off the tedious chore of creating a media kit for your fiction or nonfiction book.

I created it with help from Joel Friedlander and Tracy Atkins and we’re doing a special promotion right now, until Monday night.

It’s the only tool of its kind that will save you weeks of work and thousands of dollars. And you won’t stress out, worrying about whether your media kit will truly help the people who need it—many of whom can help promote your book.

Follow my simple instructions and you’ll have a media kit that will wow journalists, bloggers, reviewers, agents, audience members, buyers—even big publishers. (Publishers, you can use these too!  :-) )


Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors Cover


What it Includes:

  • A  package of 8 PDF documents that are pre-formatted templates for the most important items in your book’s media kit.  These include your author bios in different lengths, and a two press releases (one for fiction and one for nonfiction).
  • Another 4 templates for items that will come in handy during your book marketing campaign. You don’t have to include all these in your kit, but you will need them when approaching national retailers, book stores, book reviewers and when you sell  books at events like book signings.
  • A huge package of valuable bonuses that all relate directly to your media kit or to book publicity.
  • Full instructions on how to use the templates, including samples of every template so you can see how the materials should look when completed.
  • The templates include black text (where you will place your own copy) and red text (tips from Joan on how to write it.)


Frequently Asked Questions

Almost 2,000 authors and publicists registered for the sold-out webinar that Joel and I hosted on Wednesday. Hundreds of questions poured in, and we had time to answer just a few. 

Q. Does this package require technical skills?

A. No. If you can type, and if you know how to use Microsoft Word, you can use our templates easily. Go to Media Kit Templates page where we explain our offer and watch the helpful video that Joel created. You can see his screen and watch as he uses the template to create his own author bios.

Q. Can I use the templates if I’m on a Macintosh?

A. Yes.

Q. What do I do with the templates when I’m done?

A. From your website’s homepage, or from the page that features your book, link to your “Media Kit.” On that page, you will link to each PDF document you created. You can see how Joel did it for his Media Kit for A Self-Publisher’s Companion

Q. Why do I need separate PDF documents?

A. Because busy journalists, bloggers and meeting planners don’t have time to wade through one giant document, hunting for what they need.

Q. Do I offer them on my website as Word documents or PDFs?

A. PDFs. Some journalists might want the Word document for things like your author bio, so they can quickly cut and paste. Have it ready to email to them if they ask for it.

Q. Does the media kit concept apply to books that are one or even six years old?

A. Yes. If you never created a media kit, do it now. If you’ve already created it, these templates will show you how to do it right.

Q. Do I need to have my media kit in a printed format, and how expensive will this be?

A. If you’re going to trade shows or other events, you can take printed media kits with you.  Tuck all the materials into a folder with your company logo. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. What’s most important is what’s inside.  Some authors keep it simple and inexpensive by attaching a printed sticker, in color, to the top of the folder. The digital media kit is much more important than the printed kit, however. Finish that first. 

Q. I don’t know how to write very well. Can I still use these templates?

A. If you can write a book, you can write the materials inside the media kit, following Joan’s expert guidance. On the press release instructions, for example, she explains what to include in the first paragraph, where to put the author quote, how to excerpt tips for nonfiction books,  and she gives you ideas for the very important call to action. She has worked for more than three decades as a writing coach. You’re learning from a pro.

Q. How long will this entire process take me?

A. It depends on how much of the material is already written. We asked three beta testers to use the templates and tell us how much time they spent. Times ranged from just three hours to three days.


The words Limited Time Offer on a stopwatch or timer


How to Buy the Media Kit Templates  

Go directly to the sales page at to take advantage of our offer and the bonus package. You must buy before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 26 to get the discount and our big package of valuable bonuses. 

You can also register to watch the video replay of Wednesday’s webinar. It will be replayed every four hours until Monday night. 

Thanks for sharing this in your LinkedIn authors group, Google+ communities, and wherever authors hang out.

Indie Author Media Kit Webinar Replay is ready—Register to listen, for free

The Indie Author's Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit Webinar


If you missed today’s webinar on “The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit,” not to worry.

You can register to watch it, for free, around the clock, day or night, between now and Monday night, May 26.

The next replay is at 5 a.m. Eastern Time today, Thursday, May 22. Then it repeats every four hours until Monday night, May 26 (Memorial Day) at 9 p.m. Eastern.

Use the drop-down boxes and choose the time that is most convenient for you at 

Not sure about when it replays in your Time Zone? Use the World Clock

On this one-hour video, I walk you step-by-step through all the materials you need to create your indie author Media Kit. And I show you many of the traps to avoid so the media don’t blackball you.

Don’t get sidetracked by the long Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. Register now before you forget.  

If you start watching and leave halfway through, you’ll have to register again for a new time to finish watching it. 


What You Will Learn

We covered a lot of territory in only one hour:

  • Why a media kit is so important not only for indie authors but for anyone who wants publicity.
  • The 7 major audiences that will read your media kit.
  • The 8 most important items you need to include. 
  • The #1 goal when creating a media kit. 
  • What it is and what it isn’t.  
  • How Joel and I will save you time, stress and money creating it all on your own.


We Can Help with Quick & Easy Templates for only $67


Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors Joel and I have created a package of Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates for Indie Authors. It includes the eight most important templates we covered during the webinar, plus four extras you’ll need during your book marketing campaign. We designed the huge package of bonuses in our special offer so that all of them tie in directly to creating a media kit or getting publicity for your book. 

You get it all for only $67. :-D  

Register to watch the video replay, or go right to the sales page and read all the details about what the package includes.

Don’t get distracted by parades and picnics this weekend! You only have until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 26 (Memorial Day) to take us up on our offer. After that, the price goes up to $97.00 and all the bonuses disappear.  :-(

Watch the webinar now or kick yourself later. 

If you’re interested in promoting this to your friends, fans and followers, sign up for our affiliate program. 

Authors: Will your media kit disappoint these 7 audiences?

Media Kit--My Dear, Your Media Kit Sucks596


You’ve finished your book and you’re exhausted.

Who wouldn’t be after all that time you spent writing it? But that’s no excuse for slapping together a sloppy, incomplete media kit.

Even if you’re an indie author who can’t afford a publicist, you need to pay special attention to this most important package of marketing materials. It brands you. It brands your book. And it helps others promote you.

You have a dizzying choice of what to include in the kit. Aside from the staples like an author bio, book synopsis, contact sheet, reviews and an order form, you can include extras like interview questions, little known facts about you, even short bios of your fictional characters.

As you decide, keep in mind seven important audiences. I’ll discuss them all during the free webinar The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 21, with book publishing expert Joel Friedlander. We’ll go into full detail on exactly which materials you should include in your kit. Until then, start thinking about these audiences and what they need.

Your media kit must please all of them. 


1. Journalists

These include print reporters who will want high-resolution photos (300 dots per inch) that will reproduce well.  

If they’re on deadline, they’ll want to find within the kit copy they can cut and paste into an article quickly. That’s why your press release should be written like a news story. Your book synopsis should let writers choose from several different lengths, depending on how space they have to fill.

You can be sure most radio hosts who interview you won’t have time to read your book. They’ll welcome—and even expect—a list of interview questions.  


2. Bloggers

They might want to review your book, write about you or feature a guest post from you. Or they might be on the fence about whether to write anything at all.

That’s where the Book Review Samples sheet comes in handy. It’s one page that includes an image of your book cover, pertinent information like pricing and ISBN number, and snippets from the best reviews you’ve received so far. You should be soliciting pre-publication reviews. But if you don’t have any reviews yet and you’re book is launching, you can add this piece later.

Bloggers might also appreciate a quirky little feature within your author bio called “5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me.” You can find examples in blog posts I wrote here and here.   


3. Reviewers

Many authors don’t get book reviews unless they ask for them. That’s why Joel Friedlander and I will be discussing the importance of writing letters to individual reviewers asking that they review your book.

What if they review it?

They’re busy too, especially the Amazon top reviewers. They’ll want easy-to-find information like links to places where readers can buy your books.


4. Retailers

Some of the big retailers like Walmart and Costco will tell you that they don’t carry self-published books. But I’ve found books from indie authors (the preferred term) at both chains, so there’s an exception to every rule.

You’ll need a “sell sheet” for the decision-makers who will ultimately decide if your book deserves a spot on their shelves. One of the most important items on the sell sheet is the long list of what you’re doing to market your book. Before they take a chance on you, they need to know you’re already working your butt off and making it easy for them to sell those books!

You can list things like book signings, blog tours, national media campaigns, outreach to librarians, and even videos you’re uploading to your YouTube channel. 


5. Individual Buyers

This is the one group on this list that will have the least need for a Media Kit. But you never know when one of those buyers might also be a blogger who suddenly decides, after seeing your kit, that you’re worth an interview.

Some buyers turn into super fans who want to read every word written by and about the author. So they might peek inside your media kit and love those “5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me.”


6. Event Planners

These include the people who plan industry conferences, hire speakers for conventions, and recruit experts to sit on panels and lead workshops. These are all opportunities that will help your publicity efforts, and you’ll want to give them exactly what they need. That means having a “speaker introduction” inside your media kit, ready to go.

These busy event planners won’t have the time to plow through a long, 500-word bio and pluck out 50 words that will appear on the bio. They’ll love finding your author bio in a variety of sizes.


7. Anyone Who Wants to Promote Your Book

These include people who host Google Hangouts and want to invite you to do an interview. They might include podcasters who have a ready-made audience that’s perfect for you. Or an ezine editor who needs a quick list of tips from your non-fiction book for this week’s issue. Where to find those tips? In your press release, of course, if you’ve written it the way we recommend.

As you can see, you have a lot of different people to keep happy. Joel Friedlander and I will show you exactly how to do that, the drop-dead easy way, during Wednesday’s webinar. Here’s how to claim your seat:


The Indie Author's Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit


Book signing pushes author’s book to top of best-sellers list

Gail Mencini headshot

By Gail Mencini

The Boys of Summer are on the field. The smell of hot dogs, beer and peanuts waft through stadiums. The sound of the crack of a bat and cheers of the home team crowd resound.

What does that have to do with being an author?


Imagine the new baseball rookie in his first at bat. He stands at the plate, nervous and excited. The pitcher tries to stare him down.

The pitch fires at him, but he knows to let the first one pass without swinging—wide outside. Ball one. The second pitch comes quick and fast and straight over the plate. He swings. It’s a homerun!

What kind of publicity will follow that game in which the rookie’s first at bat is a home run?


Here’s a tip: Writing a book is not Field of Dreams.

You cannot write a book and expect the readers and buyers to come.

Are you a proven New York Times bestseller? No? How about a big name in politics or the entertainment industry? Not that, either. Maybe you’re a keynote speaker at national conferences, or the inventor of the next greatest thing.

No, no and no.

But you are an author of a well-written, engaging book produced with quality at least equal to that of the New York Times best selling books.

Odds are, whoever published your book—a large publisher, a mid-sized company, or small press—will not throw marketing dollars in your direction. This levels the playing field for authors who are independently published compared to those published by someone else.

How to Hit a Home Run

How do you turn this …


Gail Mencini in bookstore


 Into this?


Gail Mencini best seller in Denver Post 

Partnering with your local bookstore and having an event there is a great start.


Cover of To Tuscany with Love

Credibility. You’re the real deal—an author with a bookstore signing.

To Tuscany with Love is an adult coming-of-age novel set in central Italy. Eight college students come together with sizzling chemistry and rebellious humor during one whirlwind summer in Tuscany. While  uncovering the charms of Italy, they discover both friendship and love.

I have to confess, I was honored, excited and downright thrilled to see that big bookcase in the Tattered Cover bookstore filled with copies my novel, face out at the front of the store. Even better, that bookcase was there for all to see for the six days preceding my reading and signing event!


What were key components of getting To Tuscany with Love stocked by the Tattered Cover?

  • The book has wide distribution, including Ingram and Baker & Taylor
  • It is fully returnable by bookstores
  • It carries standard industry discounts to bookstores
  • It has an eye-catching cover
  • It is well-written and has broad appeal
  • I made a personal appeal to them

Did I do anything to make my signing a special event? Of course!


Little Extras and Big Benefits 

After clearing it with the bookstore, I brought food—Italian Amaretti Cookies (homemade by me), a bouquet of sunflowers for the cookie table, bookmarks and business cards. I made dozens of cookies, and left the remaining cookies for the staff of the Tattered Cover Bookstore to enjoy.

What other benefits are there to a bookstore event?

You’ll sell books, always a good thing.

What happens when you sell books (other than make royalties or profits)?

You’ll have sales stats, if they are large enough, that other stores or the big chains might notice.

You have an event to crow about on social media—Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, even Pinterest, and Google+—before and after the event.


Tips for Filling the Bookstore

How do you turn it into a success? It’s not hard to figure out.

Get book-buying people to fill the seats. The staff at the bookstore for my event had to bring out extra chairs, and then more people came and soon were standing in the back!

Yes, that means reaching out to your friends, neighbors, hairdresser or barber, cousins, book club, bunko, or tennis club friends, parents of your children’s friends, and anyone you can get them to bring along. Oh, what’s that? They already came and bought books at your launch party? Can they come again? If not, you need to find more people.

Tell everyone you know. Send out postcards and emails. Call friends to remind them.

Hope the weather’s good, but not too good, that night.


Plan your talk. Respect the fact that someone may bring their young child or mother, and attempt to have your words resonate to a wide audience. You have a responsibility to make it an entertaining night for your friends that attend the event.

Be gracious.

You created something wonderful and found a way to share it with the world. Have fun!

Afterward? Thank your bookseller host.

 Then, take a short break and relax. Maybe even go to a baseball game.

 *     *     * 

Gail Mencini is the award-winning and best-selling author of To Tuscany with Love, the first book in her Tuscany series. It’s available on and at the Tattered Cover. Connect with Gail through her website, She shares recipes and anything Italian on her Facebook page. You can also follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Author U Extravaganza: $100 off registration and other ways to save


Become Seriously Successful at Book Publishing by Registering Here


Here’s a fun video I created to whet your appetite for the Author U Extravaganza in Denver May 1-3.

This is the Number One event for authors and publishers because it’s big enough to attract a terrific lineup of speaker experts and publishing stars, but not so overwhelming that you get lost in the crowd. This is my third year as a presenter, and I’ve met other speakers and authors who have become joint venture partners on a variety of projects and products.

3 Ways to Save

1. Click here (affiliate link) to register and save $100 off the Friday-Saturday registration. But only if you use the coupon cod AUEX100.

2. Book airfare to Denver right now. It’s dirt cheap, even from cities like Boston.

3.  There’s a special room rate of $119 per night (includes wifi) at the Hyatty Regency, Denver Tech Center, but only until April 9.  Reserve a room here and enter the rate code: G-5AUT or call 1-888-421-1442 and ask for the AuthorU rate.

Have you been to the Extravaganza? What’s the Number One reason other authors should attend? What do you like best about it? Are you going this year? The Comments section awaits….