Hello! I am very excited about some ongoing projects and I wanted to stop for a moment and tell you what I am doing. I am creating a Media Kit, or a Press Kit if you will.

I want to cut right to the chase today, so let’s dive in.

Have you ever heard the term ‘media kit’ or ‘press kit’? If so, you’re a step ahead of the game. Feel free to scroll down to THE LIST of things that can go into your media kit.

If you’re still here then that’s great. We’re going to learn about media kits and prepare one. Mine is very very old and very very very outdated, thus I need a new one. I am going to track my progress building one and post all the tidbits here when it’s done. In the meantime let’s talk about what a media kit is and what they’re most commonly used for, and most importantly WHY they are so vital, and such time savers. So many ands. Sorry bout that. It’s 3 am.

The first question you are probably going to ask yourself starts with a rebuttal I bet. “I don’t need a press kit… Or do I?” Yes. Yes you do. I will explain why but trust me, you do.

Quick note: These are especially important for authors who write non-fiction, as this will also be a part of your query package to agents and editors. (Though certainly EVERY professional needs one)

What is a media kit?

A media kit, often referred to as a press kit in business environments, is a pre-packaged set of promotional materials of a person, company, or organization distributed to members of the media for promotional use. They are often distributed to announce a release or for a news conference, blog tours, marketing campaigns, interviews, and more.

A press kit is like a resume for you and your company. You may include pictures of yourself or team, logos, pictures of store fronts or products & merchandise. The goal of the press kit is the same as all other marketing that a company or individual does. It should grab the reader’s attention, make a lasting impression and create interest. It needs to answer questions clearly and beautifully. Remember, getting attention is important not only with audiences, but also with editors and business professionals. Package your materials in a unique way and make sure the materials are presented professionally. Like yourself at an interview or your resume on paper you want to present yourself and your work professionally as well as stylishly. No- that’s not to mean pink scented paper, but if that’s really important to you, I say go for it. Just make sure you thank it over for a while first. I mean after all what if your business is pink scented stationary?


What goes in a media kit?

There are many items that can go into a press or media kit, depending on the situation, the audience or the use. A media kit for potential investors is much different than a kit for potential clients. If I need your help as a person or help from your company to support me and my company to get off the ground, I am not sending you my media kit for you to buy my novel and the custom painted artwork that was created for the novel specifically.

Only put information that is current and most relevant to your target reader. Unless your business is selling a gourmet candy, I don’t need to know you were a chef for twelve years if you’re asking me to support you. And bottom line that is what a media kit is for. It is a TOOL that allows people the information and supplies needed to support us, be it buying our product or investing to grow the company or individual’s entrepreneurship.

You may end up with zip files of different media kits for different purposes. That’s FANTASTIC if you are that organized because then you are much less likely to need to make big changes, if any changes, between needing the press kit for all sorts of reasons. And yes, as an indie walking the professional industry as a lone wolf or an indie starting their very own Fortune 500 Company you are likely to have the need for media kits which contain different types of material for different purposes.


For simplicities sake, we will be referring to you/your business as ‘the company’. It sounds mysterious. I like it.


  1. Letter of introduction: Who are you, what are you doing here, and why will they give a damn.
  2. Mission statement: What you do – Why you do it, what makes this important – Missions – goals and objectives.
  3. Images of the company: You, your team, events you’ve participated in, booths, logos, products, e-business cards, affiliate image links & HTML thingiebobs.
  4. Information on the company:
  5. Product and service information, including a product, service or performance review: Samples or examples. Screen shots. Pictures. An order form. If this is a physical media kit being delivered to a store include samples of the product for them to offer to potential buyers AND some product for the owner / manager to keep for themselves as a thank you gift for considering you or hosting you. – HOT TIP: Any gift you can provide to whoever you are giving your media kit to for whatever purpose is only going to benefit you! Don’t bribe them. Thank them. (AUTHORS: This includes your synopsis, query/blurb, 3 sample chapters.)
  6. Recent publications/press/articles: What I generally recommend is a pleasant and informative page of links to these things with a small 1-3 sentence paragraph describing what it is and who it’s hosted or sponsored by. However this can also include audio and video files of radio or TV interviews, guest vlogs, speeches, podcasts, performances and any other media-covered event.
  7. A sample news story: This is your chance to guide the media or your reader. Some editors will even print it verbatim, as they view ready-to-print articles as an easy way to fill up space with little effort on their part. They do, of course, usually edit these stories, so be prepared.
  8. Brief Interview Q & A: Just some favorite interview questions with unique, detailed but quick answers.
  9. Awards
  10. If you do community service associated with your career type you may include information on the charity and what services and aid you provided. Do not include tax deductible donations cause then you look like a bragging ass.
  11. Specific information and schedules of upcoming promotions and events. Include links if available to the event or cause. If the event is for a benefit or cause include a paragraph about the benefit in addition to any links.
  12. Factual background material: If you have masters in literature and you’re writing a book, say so. If you are a vet selling a product to help animals, show your doctorate off. Dig deep.

*Our Critics*


  1. Get ready, this is a big one. Feature article material: BE USEFUL. Can you provide 500 words on a topic that will benefit someone in the same field?
  • How to utilize SEO for your field specifically for example.
  • How to convert to Epub and Mobi.

The world wants to learn things. Teach them. How do you make candles, soap?

After you have delivered or sent or mailed or whatever’d the media kit allow a couple of days for them to receive it or get to it, then FOLLOW UP. Be polite and brief. All you’re doing is making sure they received it. One great way to do this for a physical media kit is to include a custom made or pretty little postcard already post marked confirming they received the kit that they just need to drop in the mail. Write it out for them. “We received your press kit.” Boom, done. You can rest easy knowing it’s in the right hands and not be pushy about it. If your press kit is going through the world wide web delivery system then the postcard is out of the question. Some companies have an automatic reply “We got your stuff”, some don’t. If they don’t allow 3 days for them to find it in the in box, (days off for people are not just on sat and sun.) then email them. “Hello, just wanted to make sure you got the stuff. Thanks for your time”

Don’t come across pushy or rude. Not everything happens as fast as we want it to. Patience is a virtue. Be generous with time for these things.

EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Some businesses state on their company home pages or somewhere that you should NOT follow up or call or fax or email or walk in to ask if they got your stuff unless you are otherwise directed to.


Okay, you have the information to get going on this. Right now. Come on. Get to it. Even notes on a napkin if that’s your option. Take a step, and set yourself up to complete this. Goal setting is crucial to every step of our careers. Set a realistic date to have your first or base media kit created by.


Authors Pen Letter of Support to NC Youth

A North Carolina law seen as LGBT discrimination has prompted more than 260 members of the kid lit community to show their support for all young readers.

Source: Authors Pen Letter of Support to NC Youth

Authors Pen Letter of Support to NC Youth

LGBTQ_signatories_web_lrgA law affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in North Carolina has spurred more than 260 authors and illustrators of children’s literature to write an open letter to young readers in the state.

The document is in response to the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, a law directing all public schools, government agencies, and public college campuses to require that multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities be designated for use only by people based on their “biological sex” stated on their birth certificate.

The letter was crafted by authors Phil Bildner, C. Alexander London, Meg Medina, and R.J. Palacio. Among the signatories are Laurie Halse Anderson,  Katherine Applegate, Jay Asher, Chris Crutcher, Matt de la Peña, Jack Gantos, Rita Williams Garcia, John Green, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Patrick Ness, Jason Reynolds, Rick Riordan, and Jacqueline Woodson.

The letter, a portion of which appears below, and complete list of signatories is being formally released by School Library Journal.

As artists, we strive to create books that promote acceptance of all people regardless of race, religion, or gender identity. We will continue to do so; however, we cannot and will not support a state government that promotes discrimination. Each one of us will have to consider our participation in conferences and festivals in North Carolina while this law is in place. But you have our word that we will never abandon our thousands and thousands of readers in North Carolina. We stand with those who share our guiding principles and fundamental beliefs of equality, inclusion, and fair treatment. Thus, we will continue to visit your schools and libraries. We will spread kindness and inspire compassion and hope, as we believe books, in their best moments, always have and always will.

QuotesPalacio, author of Wonder (Knopf, 2012), was the impetus. “I generally avoid talking about politics publicly, but this legislation isn’t about politics. It’s about human rights. If one person’s human rights are violated, every human’s rights are violated,” she said. She reached out to Medina and Bildner, who in turn contacted London. “Whenever we visit schools, we often find ourselves talking about kindness and empathy. It was time to walk the talk,” said picture book and middle grade author Bildner.

“The authors who’ve signed our open letter are not a corporation. We’re not part of a union. We don’t all work together….All we are is a small group of people who write books for a large number of children,” Palacio told SLJCorporate boycotts in North Carolina have been part of the reaction to the law.

London, author of the “Accidental Adventures” series, wanted to make sure his readers know their lives are not invisible. Medina, who is active in the We Need Diverse Books movement, sees the letter as “confirmation that our children’s book community is filled with people who genuinely care about and advocate for young people.”

FREEBIE! Review Tool

Hello again! I made something for all of my amazing author friends. The biggest question I am asked, and am still trying to answer, is “How do I get reviews?” Well, let’s find out. I am trying something, and I invite you to try it with me. We want reviews from the people who read our books, clearly, like, DUH. So at the end of my books I will be placing a review page request image. I am loading it here, please by all means download this jpeg and use it for your very own. No reason to give anyone credit. If you would share this with your author friends and perhaps on your Pinterest book boards that would be fantastic! See improvement in your reviews? Come back and comment, let us know how the journey is going! As I have more ideas on how to acquire reviews there will be more posts!

leave a review.jpg

What’s in a Title?

Reblogged on

Source: What’s in a Title?

What’s in a Title?


I went strolling through the bookstore for inspiration the other day. What struck me … even more then the vibrant covers … were the names of the books, specifically, the KEY WORDS found in so many Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance book titles.

For example …


  • Hunter
  • Huntress
  • Guardian
  • Angels (fallen, of course)
  • Faerie
  • Demon
  • Blood (blood and more blood)
  • Dark
  • Light
  • Night
  • Moon
  • Wicked



  • Secret
  • Kiss
  • Thirst
  • Blood (of course)
  • Werewolf (odd)
  • Moon
  • Beginning
  • Hell
  • Desire
  • Devil Fire

Now I walked over to the Young Adult Fantasy department and this got pretty interesting. No wonder why teenagers are so scary!


  • Demons
  • Shadows
  • Darkness
  • Blood
  • Witch
  • Dragon
  • Night
  • Fallen
  • Powerless
  • Evil
  • Moon (Red, Black, Dark and a few other frightening versions)
  • Guilt
  • Dead
  • Dread
  • Fire
  • Godless

Sheesh! Do you think maybe it’s our fault the Young Adults are so damn angsty?

Vampire Explored is a blog by Deborah Riley-Magnus, author the Twice-Baked Vampire Series. Book 1, Cold in California  COMING SOON!

Cold in California cover, lg

Concept Is Not Story!

Source: Concept Is Not Story!


“I’ve got a great idea for you,” someone inevitably says to you when they find out you’re a writer. Their eyes gleaming with mischievous pride as they fight to contain their smile, they slowly spell out either a painfully clichéd idea that you’ve seen listed on Hackneyed Premises to Avoid At All Costs or else is something so far-fetched and desperately “original” that you have no idea how to begin telling them why it would never work. Of course, they couldn’t be bothered to take this brilliant idea and do anything with it, but they’re positive that they’ve just given you the answer to all your prayers. Because, naturally, being a writer is all about taking other peoples’ ideas and spinning that straw into gold, right?




What makes me laugh/cry about this kind of situation is what a profound lack of understanding it shows about what writing is and what writers do. It assumes that I, the writer, am nothing more than a clever typing monkey who has been waiting his whole life to hear the right idea. Because that’s what it’s all about, right? Once you’ve got that great idea, your book will just about write itself! These are the people who probably don’t even want to be writers and will likely never be writers. They got that one stupendous idea in their heads and figured they’d peddle it around to someone who could use it. The problem is that it’s their idea and I don’t care about their idea. I care about my ideas! Trust me, I have more than enough ideas to keep me busy for the rest of my life, so either take that idea of yours and write it yourself or let it go.


What about all you aspiring writers out there? Do you have that big idea that you jealously guard and only tell other writers after they’ve sworn a blood oath upon the soul of their first-born not to steal or repeat it?  I’ve got some news for you:


Nobody wants your damn idea, either.



Ideas are rampant in the writing business and concepts come free in cereal boxes. Literally everyone on this Earth has probably had at least one idea for what would make a good book and no one else cares until someone puts it down on paper. That’s what matters, friends. Until it’s on the page in your own words, that story is nothing but a daydream.


There is a crucial difference between a concept and a story, one which a surprising number of aspiring writers don’t recognize. A concept is a pitch, a premise, a logline, a marketing device. A character wakes to find himself on a strange alien planet. At the end, however, we realize that he’s actually a dog living in the suburbs!! This is what passes for a story idea to many would-be writers, but it’s a concept. A concept is the seed from which a story grows. This only happens when you begin to examine a concept closely and ask questions: who is the main character? What does he want? Who or what is keeping him from what he wants? What obstacles does he have to overcome? Why should the reader give a shit?

Seriously, a DOG! It's brilliant!


That last one is an especially important question. If the whole point of your “story” is to set up some lame gag or clever twist, then just don’t. It’s probably been done before and done better. A real concept is a starting point: What if? What if cancer was actually an alien life-form? What if a boy and a girl from rival families fell in love? What if dinosaurs never died off? What if a bunch of teenagers drove around the country in a van solving mysteries? What if the Roman Empire never fell? What if a vampire got a glow-stick stuck up its ass? These are all interesting concepts, but left un-examined, that’s all they are. They imply potential for a story, but they aren’t a story. The story begins to happen when someone takes that concept and says: “Okay, this is what happens…”


Okay, what about a dog from the Roman Empire who falls in love with a rival turtle from a world where Dinosaurs never died off?


Concepts are wonderful, but my advice to anyone out there who is hoarding some concept for fear of it being stolen is: stop worrying. In fact, you should tell your concept to as many people as you can and listen to their reactions. What questions do they ask about it? What are the aspects they want to know more about? What about it are they skeptical of? This is your free focus-group! Take your concept out of your head and explore it, outline it, define the characters, create a beginning, middle, and an end—then you’ve got a story!


It’s my belief that great writers can take any concept—that they care about—and make a story out of it. Several great writers can take the same concept and create several stories out of it, each one unique and each one their own.


Just imagine the story Gary Busey could create with that dog!


Stephen King isn’t successful because his ideas for novels are hundreds of times more original than other writers’, he’s successful because he fleshes his concepts out with rich, memorable characters and vividly-drawn places that engage and reader and make them give a shit! Stephenie Meyer isn’t successful because Twilight was an original concept or even because it was particularly well-written; Meyer used a familiar framework to tell a story about characters that she obviously loved. Somehow, it showed through everything else, because readers across the world identified with those characters. She got her readers to give a shit. The secret to successful writing isn’t great concepts (although those help); it’s taking a concept and exploring it in a way that is uniquely yours. It’s making the reader care about what happens to your imaginary people and their imaginary world. And it’s something that no one else can give you.



A Writer Writes… Except When They Don’t

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Source: A Writer Writes… Except When They Don’t

An interesting article was pointed my way by J.H. Moncrieff entitled “Writers, We Need to Stop Saying This.” It makes a case for the once-defining advice that “a writer writes.” That’s true in context — you aren’t a writer if you’ve never written — but it can also be a source of frustration for the writer who HAS already written. The reason is obvious:

Writer’s block is a real thing.

Sometimes it’s pressure to perform or succeed, to break in or break out, or to duplicate a previous success. Sometimes it’s intruding external life events or a complete lack of inspiration. But when you’re told a writer writes and you’re not writing, those self-worth doubts begin to creep in — a self-fulfilling prophecy.

BookhouseAs any career writer will tell you, there is a degree of luck involved to being discovered and becoming popular or recommended, but a body of existing work is the best way to not only become successful but to be ready for it. But I offer a counterpoint for the writer who has already written:

A writer THINKS about writing even when they’re not.

When it’s time to write, I write. When it isn’t and I’m not writing, I think about writing…a lot. I take notes. I imagine scenes and let them play out over and over. I entertain myself with ideas. I wait until I’m so ready to write because I haven’t been writing that I can’t wait to write.

Then — and only then — I write.

It’s a form of self-encouragement, anticipating the impending work of the wordsmith. When inspiration is lacking and real life keeps you from escaping into imaginary worlds, screaming at a blank page isn’t therapeutic for everyone, and neither is beating yourself up about it.

One trick I use is writing to an ending — meaning I know my ending before I get there. This keeps me excited to reach that ending and drives my first draft, but I’ve learned that a weak story and a bad ending can also gum up the machinery, and sometimes you have to walk away. This doesn’t work for everyone, but I know when to stop because I know when I’m done. It also doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind over the ending. Good realistic characters can surprise you; let them, but also remember what makes a story work: a beginning, a middle, and an ending that fit together.

Stories need to make sense because, far too often, real life doesn’t.

There’s a fun little 1992 flick with Tom Selleck called Mr. Baseball about an American pro ball player traded to a Japanese team. The new coach recognizes that his player is disenchanted with the sport, seeing that Tom anticipates the worst possible results… and gets them. The coach takes him off the team to make the player hit golf balls with a bat at a driving range (while others are using actual clubs) and to hit other things. After a while, the angry and frustrated Tom finally screams, “I’m sick of this crap! I want to hit a baseball!” After making the player repeat those words until the lesson is learned, the coach replies, “NOW you’re ready.”

Are you ready?

Brian Patrick McKinley

From the desk of author Brian Patrick McKinley,

I’ve wanted to be an author for as long as I can remember. I was that kid who wrote up little stories to show his parents and grandparents. School newspapers? Joined up with them at every school I attended, desperate to see my stories in print. I was also an avid amateur actor, though, and the twin passions of storytelling and performing have played a big role in my life and the stories I write today. At times, I went back and forth between wanting to be a novelist or a movie star, but eventually I came to the realization that I was a better wordsmith than thespian. My desire to perform has never abandoned me, however, and part of what I think makes my stories good is my attention to the characters. I write about characters who get involved in events as opposed to plot scenarios that happen to feature characters. To me, it’s an important distinction. I write about characters that I would love to portray, rich characters with strong inner lives and goals.

I moved to the Chicagoland area from New Jersey in 2003 expressly to help my writing. I moved into an apartment in Palatine with a friend who was also a writer. I got a job as a third-shift security guard and used the many empty hours the job provided to write Ancient Blood. I had written a few screenplays and short stories previously and even tried another novel first, but this was the first time that I had ever managed to start a novel length project and finish it. It took about a year to write and then several more months to edit to really get it to where I wanted it. So, once that was done and it was as perfect as I could make it, I compiled lists of agents and sent out queries.

Cue the crickets.

I got a few responses, of course, but most seemed to think that the vampire genre was played out or something about my premise didn’t grab them. The few who requested a look often liked it, they just didn’t love it enough to champion. So it sat around while I worked on other projects, moving from Palatine to West Dundee and then from West Dundee to Elgin and occasionally sending out a new batch of query letters for my sad little first child, but always with the same end result. However, as the familiar story goes, I never gave up and, after losing my job and being forced to return home to New Jersey, I wound up finding a publisher by accident on Facebook.

Stranger than fiction, right?