Sharks love chum. Bears love honey. And members of the press,… they love media-friendly websites.

If you want journalists, critics, radio and TV producers, and bloggers to take a serious interest in your book, you have to make things easy for them. And by “easy,” I mean “idiot-proof!”

I’m not saying this to question the intelligence of folks in those professions, simply to acknowledge how very, very, very busy they are. If they can’t find the information they need (or the information that will hook them) in a matter of seconds, you’ll lose out on valuable coverage– and weeks from now you’ll be reading a review or watching a news segment about ANOTHER author’s book.

7 essentials for the media-friendly author website

1. Create a PRESS KIT page- Among the tabs you’d normally expect to see on an author website (bio, events, books, etc.), make sure you create a tab that goes to a page housing all the relevant information the media might require (more about this below). How you title this tab/page is up to you– just make it obvious! I suggest “Press Kit” if you can’t think of something better.

2. Display your best press quotes- If your past work has been praised by notable critics, bloggers, or authors, make sure those quotes are immediately visible on your homepage. Choose the best 2 or 3 quotes for the homepage. Those same quotes should be displayed on your “Press Kit” page. you should also have a separate “Press” page where all your favorable press quotes and reviews are archived.

3. Write 3 versions of your bio-  The shortest of these (as short as 1 sentence) should appear on the homepage. The longest version should appear on your “Bio” page. And an intermediate version can go on your “Press Kit” page with a link to read the full bio. (Some of your bio info can also be included in the downloadable press release– which I’ll mention later.)

4. Show hi-res photos of both you AND your book cover- You can have a separate page for pictures if you like, but make sure your “Press Kit” page features hi-resolution photos of you and your book cover that are easily downloadable.

5. Display links for a downloadable press release- If you can cleanly arrange your “Press Kit” page to display the photos, the bio, a few quotes, AND the text of a press release– go for it! But if things are starting to look cluttered, make sure that you display a clear link where folks can download a copy of your latest press release. If you really wanna go all-out, make it available in multiple formats (PDF, Word, .txt, etc.).

6. Have fun with a Q&A- Write an FAQ or Q&A section to include on your “Press Kit” page. It’ll help the media formulate their own questions if they want to interview you, and it’s also really fun for fans to read. Don’t make it too short or too long– 10 questions is about right, but get creative and let your personality (quirks, warts, and all) come through.

7. Link to you social media profiles, past interviews, video clips, etc.- This is less of a concern if your website automatically displays your social media icons on every page, but make sure your “Press Kit” page makes clear where people can find out more about you– on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more. You can arrange these links as a kind of “for more information” archive at the bottom of the page.

Lastly, if you can wrangle all this information together into a downloadable press kit (which may include all or elements of the downloadable press release)– I recommend doing so. You never know when a journalist might get the notion to dive deeper into your story, and they might not always have internet connection. If they’ve downloaded your press kit in a PDF, they can read it anywhere– on a plane, on a bus, in a cabin in the woods– and the sooner they read about you, the sooner they’ll write about you!

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Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 569 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."