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What The Heck Are Sell Sheets?
By Denise M. Clark

What’s a sell sheet? And what’s the difference between a sell sheet and a press kit? Well, a sell sheet is generally a one to two page ‘flyer’ or brochure that includes information about your upcoming book that you can mail to bookstores, book conferences or conventions, or include with a press kit. Do you need one? Well, it’s not mandatory, but you should send them out. After all, everything you can do to promote your book is helpful.

This simple document presents your book to the public, in much the same way a birth announcement bears (no pun intended) news of a new family member. And if your novel or book isn’t as close to you as a baby, well, maybe I just get too attached. So… it’s a great promotional tool, and low cost to design and copy oneself.

While you may design the sell sheet with your own fonts, colors, borders and background, remember to keep it basically simple and attractive. Too much information crammed on a page can be overwhelming. Besides, there are a few ‘rules’ you should follow:

1. Put the title in bold letters at the top of the page.

2.      Include a small photo of your book jacket and of course, one of you, the author.

3.      Include all information necessary for anyone to find your book: author name, title, ISBN number, publisher, and date of release.

4.      You also need to include they type of format, i.e., trade paperback, mass paperback, hardcover, e-book, etc. Include the publication date, page count, book dimensions and price. List the locations were the book will be available, whether only on-line, or both on-line and on shelves near you.

5.      Include a very brief synopsis, or in this case I guess you could call it a teaser, or a summary of the sort you read on the back of books.

6.      If you have obtained favorable reviews, by all means include a few.

7.      Last but not least, a sentence or two about yourself that will fit nicely near your author photo.

I designed my sell sheets and took the original to a local copy store and had them print up a few hundred on nice, though not expensive, paper. For my layout, I used Microsoft Word and then cut-and-pasted the book jacket and an author photo right in. Experiment with fonts, colors and size until you come up with a creation you like. You can use the prototype of the sell sheet to design posters as well, and use them for author appearances.

Remember, this piece of paper or two has a purpose, and that is to interest a third party in your book. Make it dignified, yet add your own personality to the piece – try to tie in the design and format into the theme of your book, using appropriate colors and fonts. Ideally, you should limit your sell sheet to one page, so you need to plan carefully. But in the end, your time and effort and attention to detail will pay off.

This article originally appeared at the Amazing Author's Showcase.  Reprinted with permission.

Denise is a historical fiction author and book reviewer.  Her novels include Cross The Line and A Man's War.  Read more about them at her website, Denise's Pieces, at http://www.denisemclark.com/



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