Today, we continue our discussion of the author’s media kit. If you missed the earlier installments, click the links to catch up.
- Part 1: What Your Author Website is Likely Missing (a brief intro)
- Part 2: Author Media Kit, Part 2—The News Release
This post will cover the One Sheet and the Author Biography.
The One Sheet
The one sheet (also known as a sell sheet or pitch sheet) is a professional document that contains all the pertinent information of your book. As you probably guessed by the name, it should be no longer than one page.
This is the first, and possibly only, document someone will read after reading your news release. It should be punchy, carefully crafted and edited, and easily scanned so people can obtain pertinent information quickly.
Parts of a One Sheet (Not necessarily in this order—let design dictate composition)
- Book cover
- Book title
- Purchase information, including links
- Author information (name, contact info, website and social media links)
- Publisher information (name, contact info, website and social media links)
- Page or word count
- Book blurb
- Excerpt or teaser*
- Author photo and bio*
* Indicates optional information that could be found on other pages, but is beneficial to include on the one sheet if it can fit without crowding the page.
I invite you to click this link to view a sample of a one sheet. It’s one I created for my novel, Bleeding Heart. You will note that I didn’t include a hook, excerpt/teaser, my photo, or my bio. That’s because they didn’t fit properly on the page, and I didn’t want to crowd my design. I have enough information to satisfy someone who is merely scanning for more information, and the information I left off will be included elsewhere in the kit (and will be easy to find). Besides, with respect to your book blurb, it should be punchy and enticing, which will satisfy the “hook” requirement.
The Author Biography
I bet you’re wondering why this is included. I mean, if you’ve ever done a guest post on someone else’s blog, you’ve written your bio. What more can be said about them? Well, media kit bios are a little different—primarily because you need four of them.
The two-line bio may seem ridiculous to you. But consider this: it’s likely under 140 characters. And if you’re even remotely involved with popular social media platforms, you recognize that magic number as a perfect tweet length.
Author Staci Troilo writes multi-genre fiction focusing on flawed relationships. Find her at https://stacitroilo.com.
The short bio gives the down-and-dirty details of the author, and not much else. This will be used by people who write short pieces on you and your work and don’t have much column space. Aim for 50 words.
Author Staci Troilo writes multi-genre fiction focusing on flawed relationships. Her standalone titles and series span the mystery, contemporary, and romance genres and many of their sub-genres, including suspense, paranormal, and medical dramas. Her short fiction has won many regional awards. Find her at https://stacitroilo.com.
This is the length you typically see online, usually used when an author has a guest spot on someone’s site. It’s long enough to give detailed information about the author without becoming a feature. Aim for 100 words.
Author Staci Troilo writes multi-genre fiction focusing on flawed relationships. Her standalone titles and series span the mystery, contemporary, and romance genres and many of their sub-genres, including suspense, paranormal, and medical dramas. Her short fiction has won many regional awards. Staci hails from Western Pennsylvania, and despite living in the south now, she holds her hometown dear to her heart, setting many of her stories in Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas. She loves the south because of its lack of snow-filled winters, and summers find her in the pool as often as at her computer. Find her at https://stacitroilo.com.
Long bios are designed for the die-hard fan looking for every detail she can find, or for writers running a feature on an author. This will include a lot of information not readily available anywhere else, including things like childhood memories, scholastic achievements, and quirks. Aim for a minimum of 300 words. More is perfectly acceptable. (The example is considerably more than 300 words.)
Author Staci Troilo writes multi-genre fiction focusing on flawed relationships. Her standalone titles and series span the mystery, contemporary, and romance genres and many of their sub-genres, including suspense, paranormal, and medical dramas. Her short fiction has won many regional awards.
Her family will tell you her love of words began as soon as she could speak. In other words, she talked. A lot. She told stories to whomever would listen, which pretty much amounted to her mother and her toys. She could spell ‘Valentine’ at the age of three, and when she could put pencil (or crayon or pen or marker) to the page, she began writing stories down. True, those first works aren’t publish-ready, nor will they ever be, but her mother saved a few of her early efforts, and occasionally Staci takes them out if she needs a laugh.
After breezing through her advanced English classes in high school, one of her teachers suggested she major in writing in college. But she didn’t listen right away, believing others who told her she wouldn’t be able to find a job with an English degree. Two majors later, she stopped listening to the naysayers and followed her heart. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a double major in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She turned down IBM’s job offer to write software documentation in favor of getting her master’s degree, for which she was awarded a scholarship. She graduated in only one year, earning a Master of Arts in Professional Writing. From there, she went on to work in advertising, development, corporate communications, and technical writing. Clearly she found a lot of creative and fulfilling work with “just an English degree.”
She left full-time employment to raise her children, but she continued working from home by accepting freelance writing and editing jobs. Her family moved around a lot, leaving her beloved hometown in Western Pennsylvania for Ohio, then Michigan, then Ohio again. The second time they lived in Ohio, Staci transitioned from only freelance work to a part-time teaching position at a local college.
When her family moved again, this time to Arkansas, Staci decided it was time to approach the next phase of her career. She redirected her freelancing efforts to editing fiction, and after a while, wondered why she didn’t just begin writing stories herself. After all, she’d been telling stories since she was young. She used to make up stories for her children as often as reading to them. And she had plenty of ideas for longer works. So she joined a local writing group and began to write. Her first novel was published just over a year later.
Staci added a new experience to her list when she started working for a local publishing company as an editor. She then took a job at a different publishing house where she spearheaded the marketing efforts of the company. After two years learning the publishing industry from the inside, she left her job to focus on writing fiction full time. She now spends her days working on novels, novellas, and short stories. Well, that’s when she’s not doing something for or with her husband, children, or dogs. Family always comes first for her.
Staci grew up knowing family is paramount. She spent time with extended family daily, not just on holidays or weekends. Because of those close knit familial bonds, every day was full of love and laughter, food and fun. Life has taken her one thousand miles away from that extended family, but those ties remain. And so do the traditions, which she now shares with her both her family and her readers. You can reach her at https://stacitroilo.com.
In addition to the (incredibly) long bio, sometimes fun facts are included. These are less career-oriented and more geared toward letting people know the person behind the author.
5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me:
1. In addition to being an award-winning author, I’m an award-winning recipe developer. Ask me about my stuffed eggplant.
2. I’ve never had a cavity. Ever. Baby teeth or permanent teeth.
3. I can recite the entire opening to the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon.
4. One of the first things my father-in-law ever saw me do (when I was first dating my husband) was a monkey impersonation, complete with hand motions and sound. I’m convinced that’s when he knew I’d fit right in with the rest of the family, but we’ve never discussed it.
5. My guilty pleasure is watching the television show Supernatural. I’ve seen every episode (many of them several times).
Note that the biographies are written in third person. This is the standard, as it sounds more professional and eliminates the need for journalists or bloggers to convert a first person bio to third for their articles. They can just copy and paste.
The quirks can be in either first or third person, as they provide extraneous details designed to let people know the author better. If it’s in first person, or the author’s own voice, it helps readers feel a connection to the author. If it’s in third person, it maintains the professional feel of the biographies. It’s up to you how you’d like to include the information. The example I included is in first person so you can see the difference in voice.
Remember to be professional but still have an approachable tone. If you write humor, it’s fine to be funny. If you write horror, a little darkness is fine. The purpose of the bios is for people to know who you are and what you write.
Oh, and I’m sure this goes without saying, but because of the length of the long bio and the fact that you have four different bios to write, you will likely need two, if not three, pages in your media kit devoted to this section.
We’re almost done with the contents of the media kit. Hopefully next time I can wrap up these posts. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments, let me know.