Why do I need a Media Room? What Should be in it?

Posted Jul 19 2015, 8:42 am in , , , ,

“Media Rooms” are a publicity concept that’s been around since the dawn of the internet (and well before the internet, of course), but it’s a branding and promotional tool that has stood the test of time. The idea is simple: have a clearly defined location to house the key information about you, your work, and your latest accomplishments, so reporters/publicists can find you easily and have everything they need to either write a story or justify writing one. 

Yes, you are important enough to have a Media Room

If you’re promoting your books, selling your products, maintaining an active blog or simply have something important to say on a regular basis, you need a Media Room. If the term sounds pretentious to you, you can put the information under “About the Author” to get started. What’s important is that it’s located on your site in a very obvious place – and that it’s complete. 

What to include in your Media Room

Though Media Rooms have evolved over time, the basics still hold true. It remains a page that houses all of the key points about you and your books. **Bonus**: Once you’ve set up your Media Room, your own work gets easier. The next time you’re asked to provide a short bio, long bio, author photo or recent appearances list, boom. Just go to your Media Room, and it’s all there!

Here’s what you should include:

Author Photo

A picture really is worth a thousand words. Ideally, your author photo will be a professionally produced headshot, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve seen many (many) casual headshots that are far superior to heavily staged formal shots. Just make sure it looks like you (the current you, not the you from ten years ago) and that you love it. Because the Internet is forever. 

What if you are an ex-Mafia princess writing tell-all exposes on the mob or a cupcake-baking grandma who writes smokin’ hot fireman erotica – what do you do about a photo? Use your judgment. If maintaining the privacy of your real identity is important to you, then you should STILL have a Media Room, but not an Author Photo. Instead, many authors choose to use an element of their book covers, a stylized avatar, or similar. Just don’t agree to any in-person interviews! 

Author Bio (Short)

Author Bio (Long)

Yes, both are a good idea. First off, a short bio is like gold to the media–it explains who you are in a soundbite. But a long bio gives the necessary depth and background about who you are, why you’re likely to be an interesting person to interview, and how you might appeal to various media audiences. Both are important. 

Brief (BRIEF) summary of your books/current series

Keep in mind why you have this page: to give just enough information to pique the interest of an interested reporter/blogger. So include a list of all your books, with a brief summary of the titles. If your book descriptions are short, you can use those. If you have many series in play, you may want to simply include titles + an overall series description. 

Interview Topics

This should be a bulleted list of topics about which you are comfortable speaking. Unless your interviewer is Howard Stern or Barbara Walters, they aren’t trying to make you sweat. It usually makes for a far better interview if the topic is something you really enjoy discussing.

Topics can include your books (of course), the genre in which you write, the writing industry, your writing process, research, or the settings of your books. If you write non-fiction or if you have a lively author platform (say you’re a medical doctor who writes medical thrillers and are an advocate for experimental research), this would be the place to indicate that. 

Links to Past Interviews

Include links or at least mentions/descriptions of all past interviews you’ve conducted. This is another great benefit to a media room – once you set it up, you’ll always know where to find these pieces, and they do come in handy!

List of Awards or Key Milestones/Achievements

If you (or your work) have received awards that are relevant to your platform, list them here! I don’t so much care about your bowling trophy, however, unless your book is called “Great Pins”.

This is also where you should include any milestones or achievements, even if they aren’t “awards”. Bestseller lists, publication of fifteenth books, foreign rights sales etc. all would apply!

Recent/Upcoming Appearances

This element is optional, because it requires that you maintain it. If you know in your heart of hearts that you will set up this page once then never click on it again, don’t include any time-sensitive elements. 

Contact information for your people

If you have people (and we all have people) this is where to list their contact information. Some likely candidates:

  • Your Agent
  • Your Foreign Rights Agent
  • Your Movie/Media Rights Agent
  • Your Publicist
  • Your Publisher
  • Your Publisher’s Publicist
  • Your Assistant

A note about formatting

Ideally, you should present your Media Room in two ways: as in-line copy on your site, and as a tidy, well-formatted downloadable .pdf. This gives visitors the most flexibility to learn about you.

And that’s it! It may seem like a lot, but get started today with your Media Room by including your author bio and photo, and add the other pieces as you have time. You’ll find it a great asset as you pitch yourself for conference speaking opportunities, author collaborations, and conversations with agents, publishers and reading groups. 

 

 

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