Do you have an author’s media kit? If not, let’s make one! It can be a great tool to have on hand so you can leap at opportunities as they arise, rather than hesitating.
It’s also a useful weapon to fight self-doubt. Instead of hemming and hawing about whether to promote your work or pitch an idea, you can just hit ‘send’ and email your media kit to do the talking for you.
Even if you think you’re not ready to share your work or your message, you can still make an author’s media kit. Print it out and use it as a vision board. Write a date across the top and let that powerful subconscious of yours figure out how to get you to your goal 🙂
And let me assure you, here. If you’re, shall we say, tech averse? I put three blank templates in the Writer’s Resource Library. So if you don’t want to follow this tutorial, just use the button below to grab your ready-made templates. You can upload a template to your word processor or graphics program, add your own info, and you’re done in five minutes. Use the button below:
I’m going to use Canva, a free website, to show you how to make a simple, clean, easy-to-read author’s media kit. But you can use Gimp, PicMonkey, or another program if you’re more comfortable. Ready? Better grab a tea first…
Sign up for a new Canva account if you don’t have one–don’t worry, it’s free and easy.
From the Canva home screen, look for the heading “Create a design“. Or you can click the “Create a design” button at the top right. Either way, select ‘US Letter Document’.
You can browse any of the templates at the left, just type in ‘media kit’ in the search bar. If you find one you like, you can customize it. But first, I’ll show you how to make your own.
In the vertical menu on the left, click ‘Elements’. Then look for ‘shapes’ and click on the square. You can click and drag the square into a long rectangle that fits the width of your page. Make it as wide or thin as you like. Then click the colored square at the upper left of the page to change the color of your rectangle banner:
Next, click ‘Add Text‘ and then drag your text box to overlay the rectangle you just made. Change the color of the text to white, using the color changer than you just used on the rectangle banner. In the left-hand corner of your white menu bar, you can change the font style. (Fair warning: this is where I tend to get hung up and spend waaaay too much time just scrolling through fonts. If you feel like a deer in the headlights, like me, just do a search in another browser tab for ‘best free Canva font combinations’ and find two or three you really love.)
For this, I used ‘Kollektif’ font. Select the font you want to use by clicking the drop down font menu and finding one you like. You can adjust the size and text alignment in the working menu above your page. (See where my mouse cursor is in this screenshot?)
Double click the text in your text box and type your name.
Make another rectangle and shrink it and drag it to the upper right side of your page. Then click ‘Add Text’ and shrink it and drag it to overlay your new smaller rectangle. Use complimentary colors and easy-to-read text.
Don’t go too bananas with colors and fonts. I recommend picking two fonts and two colors and sticking with them for a clean, simple look. Remember, this is an AUTHOR’S media kit, not a resume for your graphic design skills…
Double click on the text box and type ‘Media Kit’. You can use the color selector button to change text and element colors. Just remember to click on the item you want to change before you adjust the color. There’s also an ‘undo’ button in the horizontal blue menu along the top if you get in trouble!
Next, go to ‘Elements’, click on the shapes menu and choose a shape that you like that will frame your headshot. For this example, I picked the lined circle:
Now, go to Elements > Frames, and choose a photo frame that will fit inside the shape you chose in the last step. Click and drag both the shape and the frame until you’re happy with the size. Don’t worry, you can always change this later.
In the vertical menu on the left, click ‘Uploads’ and upload your author headshot. ( I realize I need a new one, but I currently have pandemic hair, so I’m putting it off…) If you don’t have a headshot, use what you have for now as long as a.) you don’t have to crop anyone out of the photo and b.) it’s got fairly good lighting. No selfies!
When you click and drag your photo over the frame, Canva will automatically fit the photo to the frame–voila!
To make a column on the left side of your media kit, go to Elements > Shapes menu again and find a shape you like. I used the ribbon banner and resized it to fit beneath my photo. Grid lines will appear and help you align all your page elements so they’re straight.
Click on ‘Text’ and ‘Add a heading’ to make text boxes for the following headings. (Don’t worry if you don’t have followings or accounts on any of the platforms I used in the example. Just add what you’ve got.) Click on the ‘bold’ button in the horizontal white menu bar along the top so your topic headings really stand out nicely.
You can click ‘Add a subheading’ to fill in the account information below your social media headings. Then click ‘Add a little bit of body text’ and use the corner adjustments to make text boxes that fit beneath your ‘About’, ‘Works’, and ‘Services’ headings.
SUPER IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to add your contact information. Here I used email and my website, but you can include your phone number if you feel comfortable, too. Especially for person-to-person contact or smaller event proposals, a phone number is the way to go.
Finally, give your file a name by clicking the ‘Add a heading’ field and typing ‘your-name_media-kit’ or whatever you want to call your file. Then click the downward arrow to save the file to your computer. I recommend saving it in multiple formats (PDF, PNG, JPG).
Again, if any of this makes you feel cold and panicky, I put a template with three different color schemes in the resource library. You can just download a template, upload it into Canva or your word processor, and add your own information. Click the button below if you need free access to the resource library:
Now what? I challenge you to send your media kit to make a connection RIGHT NOW 🙂 You probably already have a pretty good idea of who you want to contact. Maybe it’s that conference coordinator, who’s a friend-of-a-friend. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to make an appearance on a certain podcast or morning news show. Have a couple of writer friends proofread your media kit, then send that baby off TODAY.
I dare you 😉
P.S. If any of the steps were confusing or hard to follow, leave me a comment below, and I’ll revise!