Press kits: what do you know?

So, as some of you know, I’ve been working on a novel since 2006 & last year completed a children’s book which got some local attention. What I am curious about, however, isn’t the writing process–it’s how to get your book noticed once you’ve already written it.

Nubby Twiglet gave a great tutorial on presonalizing a press kit, and Claire over at One Night Stanzas recently gave a great rundown on the pros and cons of traditional vs. self-publication. (There are several parts to the series, but you can really jump in anywhere & not be lost.) One of my New Years goals was to have a completed press kit by my birthday in March. My confusion comes here: how do you put together a concise, marketable press kit for a kid’s long-form poem & an unfinished chef-d’oeuvre? What would it look like? What should I include?

I want to hear from you all– do you know anyone who has published a book in the United States? Have YOU published a book in the United States? Leave a comment or email me at newenglandnoir (at) gmail (dot) com.

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2 Responses to “Press kits: what do you know?”

  1. Claire A Says:

    Hey! Thanks for yet another mention for ONS!

    OK… as far as I know, a “press kit” is not quite what you need. You’re not sending anything to the press, so you shouldn’t pitch it that way. Also, if you’re thinking of sending out actual items with your manuscript, a la Nubs’ advice, I’d say this: is it necessary? To be honest, I have never heard of it being common practice to send editors anything other than the manuscript itself along with a bangin’ cover letter (maybe a literary CV too)… I don’t know what you have in mind, but any other bells and whistles are probably unnecessary and might even hinder your manuscript rather than help it! Be super-careful if you’re planning to spend money on pinbadges and flyers, as editors might actually be put off by this kind of thing. I guess I’d need to know more about your project to be sure, though.

    However, regardless of what you’re submitting and to where, the most important weapon in your arsenal is your cover letter. The first thing the editor does is read the cover letter, and in a lot of cases that letter can make the difference between them reading the manuscript and binning it. Editors are so busy that they just logistically can’t read everything they get sent, so if you don’t snag their interest in the letter, chances are you’ll go on the slush pile — harsh but true! So get your cover letter honed until it’s a work of art… that’s my first piece of advice. I wrote this post on ONS on the topic, it might be helpful: http://www.readthismagazine.co.uk/onenightstanzas/?p=40

    The second most important thing is the piece of writing you’re actually submitting — try to find submission guidelines for the publisher you’re sending to, and follow them to the letter. If there aren’t any submission guidelines, just keep your manuscript as standard and easy to read as possible — 12 point type, a plain font, black ink, double spaced, one side of the page only, page numbers, your name and the title in the header or footer. You can find out more about getting your manuscript up to scratch on the brilliant Rejecter blog… you could drop her an email and ask her about the press kit if you’re uncertain — I think she’d be really willing to help you out and definitely knows her onions. http://rejecter.blogspot.com/

    I won’t rabbit on anymore but if you want to chat about it a bit more I’d love to be of help! You can email me at claire@onenightstanzas.com — good luck! :)

  2. Claire A Says:

    PS: Some basic submission questions answered by the Rejecter here: http://rejecter.blogspot.com/2008/12/long-email.html

    Not sure if any of them apply but this is the kind of advice she can provide! :)

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