I was Yesterday Years Old when I came across this retweet by award-winning Canadian short fiction author Kelly Robson:
Now, I remember press kits from hanging with indie musicians back in the day, but I didn’t know authors had them, too, and definitely not their websites! Graciously, Kelly Robson offered her press kit as an example. (She’s a really lovely human, I must say. Many thanks to you, Kelly!)
So, yesterday, I worked on mine. (Please also feel free to use my press kit as an idea to get you started!) I was surprised to know I had amassed enough experiences over the past four years to be able to create a press kit! Here are the basic components of mine, using WordPress (which is what I built my website with):
Photo, tagline, contact information, and sell sheets
For my press kit, I wanted all of these things right at the top. You don’t need to include a photo at this point because you’ll be including headshots later.
I used the media and text block to display the small headshot on the left. On the right, I used a paragraph for my tagline: Canadian speculative fiction author who advocates for disability, mental health, and neurodiversity representation. Then, I put my email address (spaces, so it won’t get “botted,” and the Social icons block to list my accounts where people can connect with me. I also decided to have my sell sheets for my novels (I’ll make one for Life in the ’Cosm, too). For them, I used the Files block and uploaded my PDFs.
Bios of various sizes
Having multiple bios has already come in handy. Just last night I grabbed one of my 100-word bios for an author account on Submittable. This part took me the most time, but I feel it’s way worth it!
The word counts I chose were:
- 50 words
- 100 words
- 250 words
In my press kit, I have two options for the 100-word bio. One is more disability-rep related, and the other more of a general “I wrote these things” bio.
It’s really important to update your bios as things change in your life, like earning awards or nominations, releasing new works, and the like.
I’m autistic, and for the life of me, I cannot understand how to take a photo. I get lost with what I’m supposed to be looking at, and photographers rarely get a decent shot. If you can hire a professional, do it! As for me, I have an iPhone 11 with a really good camera and Portrait mode. When I do a selfie, I can connect much better with the human in the “mirror” (hey, that’s how my brain brains), so I can take a decent headshot.
But I do recommend including headshots, even if you’re shy (or awkward like me), so you have something that interviewers, editors, and publishers can feature with their write-ups of your awesomeness!
I saw this on another author’s website and thought it was a great idea. Sometimes people ask for them!
Words of praise or critical acclaim
“Hey, I had nice words said about my stories. I can put them here!”
This is where you can add blurbs of your work, whether from magazines and professional reviewers, to authors you hold in esteem!
If your work hasn’t been nominated yet, that’s perfectly okay. You can leave this out. But don’t leave out nominations where you haven’t won the award. Nominations are still peer recognition and are just as important as winning. And don’t edit yourself if you feel a nomination isn’t from a well-known organization. Brag about all the things!
Have you been a guest on a podcast, done an email-based interview? Were you on a televised or streaming program? This is a great spot to put all of those things! I had a mix of written interviews and those from other media, so I wrote them as two categories.
Well, that’s what I did, anyway. Hope this helps you. It was great to learn a new thing, so I wanted to pay it forward. Happy press-kit building!
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate who wants everyone to pummel that curve!
She’s also the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology (a 2020 Prix Aurora Award finalist for Best Related Work) in an attempt to take over the world.