I’m Ready for My Close-Up, Mr. DeMille – Are You?

spotlight“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille,” is a famous line from Sunset Boulevard, an award winning Broadway play based on the fictional life of acclaimed silent screen actress, Norma Desmond.

It is a great line and signifies the fact that Ms. Desmond was ready for the spotlight. So the question I have for you today is, Are you ready for your close-up?

One of the best ways to be ready for the press and public to turn their eyes to you is to be proactive about creating a Press Kit. In fact, part of the services Halo Publishing International offers their authors is the creation of an Online Press Kit as part of our Author Platform Plan which includes:

  • About the Author page
  • About the Presentation page
  • About the Book page
  • A customized news release

Why Do You Need an Online Press Kit?

The best way to help people talk about you and your book(s) is by making it easy. If you have sent a news release to the local paper about an upcoming book release, the easier you make it for them to publish, the better. If they can visit your website and quickly find information about you, your book, any presentations you provide as well as images to download, the more likely they will be to help spread the word.

The Well Fed Writer   Media CenterPeter Bowerman of The Well Fed Writer offers an extremely comprehensive Online Press Kit. As you can see from the picture, he not only offers the necessary required components, he also has FAQ with answers, links to interviews, jPeg images and more. Peter’s Online Press Kit didn’t start out like this, he has continued to add to it over the years; something you should consider as well.

How do I start?

About Us Page: Using the components of the Halo press kit as a to-do checklist; start with writing content about you as an author. What is your background? What led you to writing? What is your experience that makes you an authority in your topic? What interesting tidbit can you share to help you stand out from the competition?

I talked a little bit about this in my article Grab the Reader with Killer Back Cover Copy.

Visit any of our author pages for examples of other “about us” stories.

Presentation Page: Crafting a Presentation Page needs to contain information about you and your topic but most importantly what take-a-ways the audience will receive. Professional speaker, Pam Terry has written an article on the most important components of a speaker sheet (presentation page). She goes into detail on how to write:

  • About You
  • Testimonials
  • List of your Clients
  • List of Topics
  • Contact Information
  • A clear marketing message
  • Visual Branding

However, there are some other pieces of information an event coordinator will want to know. As a frequent speaker and presenter, I have learned that your Presentation Page should also include:

  • Title of your presentation
  • Three things the audience will learn
  • Who should attend (adults? Managers? Children?)
  • How many are you willing to speak in front of (10-15, over 500?)
  • Are there handouts?
  • Will your books be available for sale – how much?
  • Will you be willing to offer one of your books for free as a door prize
  • How long is your presentation
  • What audio visual requirements you will have – Flip chart? LCD player and screen, Internet access, etc.)

Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy, also has an extensive Media Room on his website. He offers an entire page of questions you might want to ask him on his area of expertise. Great example of a more advanced Press Page.

About the Book page: Again, I invite you to check out any of our author pages for examples of our author’s books. Visit Amazon for further examples. Who is your favorite author? Check out the information they have shared about their book.

press releaseNews Release: Creating a compelling news release about an upcoming presentation or book release is really an art form. Similar to writing a resume, there are scads of how-to articles, videos and podcasts, but hiring a professional is really the best way to go.

However, if you want to try to write the release yourself, I suggest you check out John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. He offers a free template for writing a news release. The only cost to access the template is to fill out a form. I’ve included a picture of a sample news release that he provides for your review.

It is worth giving it a try just to see what components go into a news release. However, there is a science behind writing a compelling title and opening paragraph that grab editor’s attention. You will also want to incorporate key word phrases strategically throughout the release to help with online searches.

What is the benefit of all this work?

Yes, there are a lot of pieces and if you don’t feel comfortable writing about yourself, this can seem like an overwhelming task. However, once it is complete you will be able to use the information over and over.

Post the pages on your website and/or blog.

Use them in your social media conversations.

Make handouts of them to mail to prospective event planners

Mail them to prospective customers

Bottom Line: If you aren’t ready for your close-up and the camera light is on, you will mostly fumble the opportunity. Like the Boy Scouts say “Be Prepared.”