I always said I was going to write a novel, but for many years, I never got round to it. There was always something else to do. This year, I managed to actually do it, and while I can't say that I've picked up a huge book contract, I'm still pretty proud of the book I wrote so I'm self-publishing it and selling it to bookstores myself. It's a steep learning curve to work out how to get my book printed and working out all of the details of how the physical book will look. This website is a glimpse into the physical side of printing up your own self-published books for other new authors.
Whether you want to contact media outlets to let them know you're self-releasing an album, connect with booking agents or grab the attention of a record label, a professional press kit is a must. Some promoters and media outlets are now willing to receive digital press kits, but the vast majority still insist on physical copies. So, what should you include in your band's press kit and how can you maximise the chances of it receiving attention?
What to Include
Your press kit should contain the band's biography, a press release, your CD, and any available press clippings. Here's an overview of what each section should contain:
The band's biography should be no longer than a single sheet of paper and contain a few sentences on the band's history, style of music, influences, direction, and the current members. This is the place to note any prominent gigs you've played and detail any previous releases, but only include information that adds value.
For example, saying you played at a festival last year tells the recipient you have experience of playing to large crowds and have the drive required to get such a booking, but mentioning you played at your school's end of year party isn't quite as interesting or impressive.
The Press Release
This section should also be kept to a single page and its purpose is to convey your reason for contacting the recipient. If you've just recorded new material and would like to pick up some reviews or book some gigs, mention any key selling points of the album such as radio play the pre-release track has received, any guest appearances on the album or praise it's already received at a local level.
You should also summarise the sound of the album, focussing on what inspired you and what a few of the songs are about, and mention confirmed or planned upcoming gigs. Close your press release with a friendly sentence stating you'd welcome any questions and provide your contact information.
A professionally packaged CD is essential if you want to be taken seriously. Consider how many press kits are landing on the desks of editors, PR agents and record label executives every day. Your CD should be professionally duplicated with high-resolution print on the disc surface and contained in quality packaging.
You don't need to order a thousand CDs, just work out how many you need to send away with your press packs and decide whether you want extras to sell at upcoming gigs. CD duplication runs start from 50 discs and you can choose classic jewel cases, budget-friendly card wallets or stylish digipaks to contain your CDs
If you've already picked up some favourable reviews for either your upcoming release or any previous work, include a separate sheet of paper with a few quotes. The quotes should be strong and specific about what the reviewer liked, so leave out any that simply say 'great band' or 'fun to listen to'. If you don't have any press clippings yet, it's not a big deal and certainly not a requirement for sending out a press pack.
Here are a few tips for making your press pack readily accessible:
Once you've written out each section of your press pack you'll have to research how much it will cost to have it printed, packaged and posted. You may find it's cheaper to have the paper sections printed by the same company you're using to duplicate and package your CDs than it is to print one sheet at a time on your home printer. A printing company like AA Duplication Services (Vic) Pty Ltd could also check your press pack for errors before running off copies.Share