Once you’ve been published — or if you’ve been invited to give a talk — you’ll need to assemble a basic media kit. An even better idea is to get it ready now, beforehand.
Putting it together is simple, doesn’t take much time, and costs nothing at all. And it goes a long way in making a good impression with the organization that has chosen to publish your work or has invited you to speak.
Here are the media kit items you need.
1. A good picture.
You can take it with your phone, just make sure it doesn’t look like a selfie. (Let someone else take it.) The best photo will be a headshot, from the shoulders up. Close enough that you’re recognizable if the image is reduced to the size of postage stamp. You can also include a second photo that is reflective of your personality — ie, a picture of you skydiving, fishing, riding a motorcycle, with your family, etc. Save the images in .jpg or .png format, with your name included as the filename. That is: johnsmith1.jpg, not merely headshot.jpg. Each picture needs to be at least 1000 pixels wide. The publisher will resize it to fit their needs.
2. A 20-ish word summary of your bio.
As in: John Smith lives in Northeast Arkansas. He writes mostly sci-fi and reads mostly everything. This short summary should be appropriate to include at the end of your published piece.
3. A longer bio, 150-250 words.
This can include any interesting details about you: education, family, work, your greatest success, your plans for the future, plus any awards you have won. Even the name of your pets. The idea is to present yourself in three dimensions; you’re more than a writer, you’re someone the reader would like to know. This would be appropriate to include in a press release, on a website, or in a brochure. Two good examples of this kind of bio can be found on the 2023 Writers Conference page: Linda Apple and Clarissa Willis.
4. A publishing resume.
In other words, a list of previously published items and/or any awards won. If you have a lengthy resume, just hit the highlights. If you haven’t yet been published or won an award, don’t let this item intimidate you. Ignore it for now.
5. Your online address.
This could be your website, your Amazon author’s page, or even your Facebook profile. At the very least this would include your email address.
Put these items together, placing #2-5 in a single document with an easily identifiable filename, such as: john-smith–biographical-information.doc. When the organization you’re working with asks for this information, you’ve got the file and the photos ready to send.
It doesn’t take long at all to put together a basic media kit. You could knock this out in an hour … and you can be sure that the publisher / venue you’re working with will appreciate your professionalism.