I have talked about having a press kit in the past, and how helpful they can be to getting publicity for your work and your business. But, I have not gone into detail about how to put one together. There more than one way to approach this, so feel free to apply your creative genius to the concept. I find by the time I get around to putting one together, I have do not have the creative time or energy to go beyond the basics. But don't let that hold you back!
The first step is to gather together copies of any publicity your work has received. This could be articles or announcements in your local paper, or features in national magazines. They all qualify. Sometimes a publication will provide you with a .pdf of an article, which is helpful for reprinting, or they may offer you additional copies of a magazine for a reduced cost.
If you do not yet have any articles about you or your work, don't worry. Your press kit will help that happen eventually, and we all start at zero. But, if you do, it shows that others have deemed what you are doing "newsworthy". When an editor sees that you have numerous articles, it can be a cue to look further.
Head off to Kinko's, Staples, or your nearest copy center, and make copies of the articles, or at least the first page of the articles. For some magazine articles, I have copied a two page spread onto a single page. Smaller articles might be able to be combined onto a single page.
If you happen to be at an office supply store, look around and see what you can find to hold your material for your press kit. You can get jazzy and have custom printed folders. Or you can use a standard, two pocket folder, and perhaps attach a postcard to the front for image. Get several, because you will be sending out more than one.
I put my press clippings, and press releases (future post), into the right hand pocket. I arrange them in chronological order, with the most recent in the front.
In the other pocket I add visuals. Postcard(s). A CD with several high resolution images. The CD should be packaged in such a way that it will not be easily damaged in handling.
Next, I include tear sheets or sell sheets. A sell sheet or tear sheet is a one page flyer that shows images of your work. I have one sheet per collection, or line. It is not necessary to have every style and every colorway of your work shown on the sell sheet. It is a way for someone to get a quick overview of your work. They can be used to announce a new line of work.
The sell sheet should have your logo, and it should have contact information. You can have dimensions of your work under each image. It is primarily focused on visual information. A collection of sell sheets with a separate price sheet can serve as a catalog for prospective wholesale accounts. By the way, I do not include a price sheet in with my press kit. But, you might include the wholesale and/or retail price range somewhere in your kit.
Next, you want to include your Artist Bio and Artist Statement. Recognize that you are not writing a bio or statement that you must live with for the rest of your career. We grow and evolve as artists, business people and human beings, and our Bio and Statement should change over time with us. I can't begin to tell you how many times I have re-written mine.
If you are not comfortable with writing it yourself, get some help. Find a friend who is a good writer, or hire someone. Look on Craig's List or DoMyStuff.com. Nothing is impossible.
I put those in behind the sell sheets on the left hand side.
Finally, I insert a business card into the space that is usually found on the left hand pocket. That is it. Nothing too extreme or too difficult. Yes, it takes time. But think of publicity as advertising you could not afford. On that basis, it is time well spent.
In a future post, I will write about press releases, and about where to send your press kit and/or press releases. But this should keep you busy in the meantime.