The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

Little (but important) things to get ready before a book’s publication

It’s easy for authors and book publicists to get caught up in the bustle of finishing a book and promoting it.  But here are a few things that can easily be prepared ahead of time — and that are really useful for book publicity departments to have on hand — lest everyone be left scrambling at the last minute.  (Because you know someone will ask for these items ASAP precisely when you don’t have them handy.)

At least one excerpt, about 1000 words in length, from the book: Usually the preface or first chapter works, but you can use whatever you like / makes sense.  (As with all excerpts, you should consult subsidiary rights or the literary agent — whomever holds serial rights to the book — before the excerpt is provided gratis to anyone.)  The excerpt should be saved in Word (although occasionally someone may need to convert it into a PDF document).

A color photo: Have on hand (and have the rights if the photograph was professionally shot) at least one color photo that has *not* been used on the book jacket or in the press materials.  If you have the time / money to have a photograph professionally taken, that’s great — those pictures will probably look better than anything you could take yourself — but snapshots can suffice.  They do need to be high resolution (300 dpi) and show the face clearly.  The lighting should be good and there shouldn’t be anyone else in the picture, nor should the background be busy.  If you don’t already have something you can use, have a friend or family member take some pictures of you with a digital camera — you will want to experiment with some indoor and outdoor shots to see what looks best.  Always make sure to provide photo credits.

Video (if available): Many TV producers like to see how an author interviews.  If video interviews are available, authors should make sure to provide these to the publicity department well in advance of the book’s publication.  Links to online videos are ideal since they can be provided instaneously and don’t clog up anyone’s inbox; DVDs are second best.

I know a lot of effort goes into preparing for a book’s publication and many things take a lot of time to put together — websites, press materials, author Q&As, etc.  But what other relatively quick and easy items should authors / publicists pull together beforehand?


July 29, 2009 - Posted by | Miscellaneous


  1. Great tips! I think authors should also have a press release and bio ready to go before the book’s publication. The release can be sent out with copies of the book (ARC’s and any other copies). The release should also include a link to the author’s website, that way it’s easy for anyone to get more information. If the excerpt is posted online, include that link in the press release, too. Basically authors want to make it as easy as possible for reviewers, the media etc. to learn about them and get more information quickly and easily.

    Comment by Paula Krapf | July 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. Great post!

    From what I’ve read, it’s also helpful if a writer has a prepared Q&A about themselves, and some sample interview questions ready to roll.

    Anything you can do to help publicize yourself is always a plus! 😉

    Comment by Rebecca Knight | July 29, 2009 | Reply

  3. I encourage authors to write a sample Q&A. Great way to think about your four to six top bullet points, and prepare your responses to the most difficult or controversial questions you’ll be asked. The former is great for the press kit; the latter might be just for yourself.

    I also encourage authors to prepare Top Ten or other Fun Facts lists. Here’s a great example, from CRaig Nelson’s ROCKET MEN

    Comment by Stuart Krichevsky | July 30, 2009 | Reply

  4. Also, if they haven’t already done so an author should get to know the competing landscape. What’s out there currently on their topic (and the angle the book takes) as well as upcoming releases especially if they have competing release dates. You never know when an interviewer might offer one of these other titles up as a comparative or contrast against yours.

    oh, and please get a website – and get it early enough so the search engines can actually spider you prior to pub date!

    Comment by Penny C Sansevieri | July 31, 2009 | Reply

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