Hey there! If you’re reading this you’re probably involved in book blogging in some way and you probably already know what this blog is all about. Just in case you aren’t, my name is Jenna and I started book blogging in May 2020. I’m an avid reader in my 30s and I’ve been adding my voice and effort to the book promotion machine daily for the last two years on a mostly volunteer basis because it’s fun.
I do seek out books to review myself, but for the most part the books I read these days come to me through authors/publicists reaching out or as part of a blog tour I’m participating in. Far more populous on my blog than dedicated review posts are promotional features, guest posts, and author interviews, and all of these involve the use of media kits.
For the purpose of helping both the authors/publicists out there who are seeking blogger services, and anyone who is thinking of becoming a tour organizer, here are a few thoughts and wishes from a seasoned blogger who makes use of your media kits.
Basic Book Information
Not every blogger is going to include all of the same information about your book as I am, and I’ve definitely spoken with bloggers who think I include too much, but here are the things I will always include if provided:
- Book and series title
- Author name, illustrator name
- Publication date, publisher
- Cover artist/illustrator/formatter information
- Page or word count (I prefer page count and will pick that over word count if I can find it)
- Goodreads link
- Purchase links
- Bite-size reviews other than my own
With that said, please consider:
- I don’t do repeat credits. Self-published authors, there’s no need to let the blog audience know that you also did the cover, the internal illustrations, the formatting, and the publishing. Any time those sort of credits come in as just the author’s name, I don’t add it to the post.
- If your genre line exceeds 4-5 words after “Genre: ” it looks like you don’t know how to classify your book. I’m going to simplify it. “Young Adult New Adult Science Fiction Fantasy Action Adventure Romance” is now “YA Romantic Science Fantasy.” If you don’t think my simplified genre accurately represents your book then you probably should have lead with whatever I didn’t include and maybe not include what I did include. Note: Romantic plotlines are a make or break for many readers, so if you say romance, it’s going in my simplified genre line.
- Bite-size reviews are fine but they don’t replace a synopsis and they shouldn’t precede a synopsis. Lately I try to insert the purchase links between the end of the actual synopsis and the start of the review lines because your synopsis should ideally be what’s selling your book. If my blog visitors get through your 3-5 paragraphs of synopsis and aren’t convinced, 2 lines from some random contractor at Kirkus Reviews isn’t going to convince them.
I love including excerpts! I also really love it when a media kit going out to many bloggers has more than one excerpt to choose from because it means visitors who come to my blog after another who also promoted your book may still get new content. I also really appreciate the opportunity to include something new if I’m featuring a book for the second or third time.
Please, PLEASE send your excerpts in a word processor document or in the body of the email so that I and other bloggers can copy & paste easily. I’ve received many PDF documents as excerpts over the last two years and this really isn’t helpful. At this point I have three options: don’t include an excerpt at all, upload the PDF file and offer it as a download to the visitor (trust me when I say nobody’s clicking that,) or spend an inconvenient amount of time copying the text from the PDF (if possible) to a text editor and putting it back in paragraph form. If I copy and paste that directly into WordPress (what my blog runs on) every line from the PDF will be treated as its own paragraph.
If the media kit is for a children’s picture book, a graphic novel, or an illustrated non-fiction, I do love seeing visual excerpts. Image files of the formatted complete pages are great! Please consider also including the text on the image as plain text that I can copy & paste below the image so that visitors using screen readers can enjoy the excerpt as well.
I will always include your photo or logo along with your biography and links if provided, so please do include them! If you offer biography options of different lengths, I will usually include the longest option. You deserve the spotlight!
Please don’t embed your links within your bio because most of us bloggers are going to provide all your links immediately after your bio anyway, and it’s just more links to format or remove when we copy & paste your bio into our posts.
Please also use standard capitalization in your biography. If you write your biography paragraphs in title case (Every First Letter Is Capitalized) or all capitals and force me to change it myself, I’m not going to be happy about it. If you come back for another feature and your new media kit still has all caps or all title case, I’m going to re-use your previous biography even if it’s now out of date, because I already did the work.
In terms of your links, it’s helpful to provide your website, your social media profiles, your Amazon author profile, and your Goodreads profile. If you’ve also got a BookBub profile, a YouTube channel, etc. that’s great, too! I usually won’t include your LinkedIn unless you’re promoting a non-fiction book on a topic for which you’re a professional expert. LinkedIn simply isn’t a place the average casual reader is going to follow an author. It’s a professional networking site. I’m also not going to separately link to your newsletter and/or blog if you’ve provided a website URL and those are part of or clearly linked on said website. The readers who are going to check out those things are already clicking through to your website. The ones that aren’t, aren’t going to click through from mine. It just makes the string of links longer.
I also do not list email addresses on my blog posts because bots can grab emails listed in plain text and add you to their owner’s mailing list. I don’t want to contribute to the amount of spam emails you get. If you really want people to send you emails, put it on your website, but I recommend a contact form rather than just providing the address.
Links, Pricing, Etc.
I will always link to your book on Goodreads, your book on retailers (including BookBub,) and your author links as discussed above. For copy & paste simplicity, these are my wishes for links in media kits:
- Include complete URLs. (https://www…) I don’t know if that @name for Facebook is a profile, a page, or a group. I don’t know what TikTok profile URLs look like to even begin manually typing the URL that needs your @name at the end. Help a girl out!
- Make sure your social media URLs are for the public view of your profile. For example, an Instagram profile should look like …instagram.com/name. If it doesn’t, it’s not going to work for a visitor who isn’t logged in as you. I also really appreciate it when you provide clean URLs. There’s no need to have a language specified in the URL ( =en) because without that it will default to the visitor’s default, which is what you want. Bits on the end of your URL that make a logged-in user automatically subscribe/follow you can be perceived as intrusive and/or tacky and may deter followers.
- If you are including pre-formatted hyperlinks in your media kit (a word/phrase that is linked, rather than just copy & pasting the URL) I do appreciate the bit of work that has been done for me! Please consider separately including your @name handles for social media so I can tag you when I share the blog post.
Remember that most of us book bloggers are doing what we’re doing for free. Some of us try to collect a little income through passive things like advertising or, more commonly, through affiliate links. Please don’t be offended when the Amazon links to your book and your author profile get turned into the blogger’s affiliate link rather than yours or the original non-affiliate URL. Please understand, if you’re using Bit.ly or similar to track click-throughs, there’s no way for us to turn the Amazon link into an affiliate link and then convert it back to your Bit.ly, so it’s not going to track.
For audiobooks, note that some bloggers including myself may choose to link to your audiobook format listing on Amazon itself rather than linking directly to your book on Audible, and this is for two reasons. First, Amazon’s product pages are much better about directing global visitors to the same product on the correct regional version of Amazon than the actual Audible website, and the purchase link from the Amazon product page will then go to Audible. When I land on the US Audible website for the first time in a few days and there are no active session cookies left in my browser, it redirects me to the home page of Canadian Audible without asking. Book lost. Second, affiliate links! We can generate them for the Amazon site listing but not the Audible site listing.
Also related to the affiliate link topic, a stipulation in the Amazon affiliate program contract is that we’re not supposed to list prices. This is likely because product prices on Amazon change frequently and they don’t want to deal with complaints when an off-site price doesn’t match the listing when someone clicks through. For this reason, most bloggers using Amazon affiliate links aren’t going to include your book’s price in the blog post even if you specify it in the media kit. We’re just trying to stay out of trouble with Amazon.
Let’s Talk Images…
Book cover: Please include an image file for your book’s current/new cover. I display mine using the default “medium” attribute settings for WordPress which means they’ll be scaled down to 300 pixels wide if they’re larger than that. If I receive a particularly large book cover file, I resize it to a maximum of 800 pixels tall and let WordPress resize within the post. The reason I save a slightly larger file is because 800 pixels tall is usually 500-550 pixels wide, and that’s a good size for cropping on Instagram. There’s really no need to send the monstrously large print file original size for your cover unless you’re not sending a banner image and I’ll need to create one.
Banner image: We need a featured image for the top of our blog posts, and it’s helpful if it’s in a wide, short format for best results posting to places like Facebook and Twitter. If your banner is wider than 1200 pixels I will scale it down to save on storage size.
Author image: If you have an author photo or logo, send it! We like putting a face to the name and work. Keep in mind that most bloggers are either going to post your image as-is or crop it square, and most of us are going to scale it down if it’s huge. I post 200×200 pixel cropped images and put them in the circle mask so that they’re round. I try my best to crop photos so that your face is prominently featured and not cut off by the rounding, but some of the images I’m sent make that impossible because you’re in the corner of a really wide or tall image that was already cropped in one direction. Images that have frame elements edited in look a little silly when I re-crop them. Images that are smaller than 200×200 will be left smaller because enlarging them usually decreases quality.
Instagram/square promo images: It’s really nice to have a pre-made promo image that is suitable dimensions for Instagram. Instagram was made for square (1:1) images but also allows 4:5 portrait and 1:1.91 landscape images in regular posts. If no suitable promotional images are provided, I’m just going to pick the best square or portrait crop of your cover image that Instagram’s post editor can produce. (Yes, if you provide wider mock-up promo images I will crop that instead.)
Mock-ups: I love a good staging mock-up photo or photos of your book in the wild! They break up the post nicely, add a lot of visual interest, and give me something other than the cover file to crop for Instagram if you didn’t provide a square ratio promo image. For a single-book post, as many as 4 or 5 decorative images other than the cover file and author image is perfect! I can slot 1 or 2 in between every section of the post. For multi-book posts I’m only going to use 1-2 additional images per book no matter how many you send, plus a combined series shot if included, because I don’t want to bog down the load time of the post with too many image files.
Quote and teaser images: They’re not for everybody, and if I have a choice between a pre-made square image for Instagram that doesn’t have a lot of text and one that does, I’m picking the one with less extra text. The images that put the focus on your book cover are more visually appealing, more to-the-point in the endless scroll, and don’t provide a lot of extra information that a screen reader can’t see.
Now let’s talk a little about how to actually send images to bloggers. When I first started doing this, I didn’t realize this would be a problem, but there are two types of issues that I come across more often than I’d like and I think it stems from a lack of understanding about how documents work.
Issue #1: Some blog organizers like to include their promotional images (post banner, Instagram image, tour logo) as separately attached files to the media kit email but only embed the actual cover image and author photo in the media kit Word document.
Issue #2: Some authors, when sending a guest post or interview document, include personal photos or Google-sourced example images they want used and embed them in the Word document rather than attaching them to the email.
In both of these cases, the images I need to use on the blog post are saved in the Word document. In order for me to retrieve those images I have to ask Word to publish the document as a web page file. This produces a folder on my computer containing the document file, a webpage HTML file, various style instruction files for that webpage file, and 2 different sized files for every image embedded in the documents. That’s a lot of work and a lot of extra files now on my computer just to get the one image file I needed. Please just attach the images files your bloggers will need to the email itself.
If you’ve made it to the end, thank you! I hope this was informative. If you’re also a book blogger, what else would you add to your media kit tips and wish list?
Comments on “Media Kit Tips & Wishes from an Avid Book Blogger”
Awesome post!! I’m more on the fashion side of blogging but throughly enjoyed reading this! It’s always so cool to see things from the view point of the people receiving the media kits! Thanks so much for sharing!✨