Three ‘must have’ promotional items for authors

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There are lots of different promotional materials available for writers out there and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming knowing what (if anything) to choose.  When I first started out, my budget was much tighter and I decided to spend very little on promotional materials.  I made my own cheaply printed business cards and had some postcards printed. That was it.

Now, a few months down the track and with book sales still steady, I’ve recently decided to dabble in some additional promotional items and these are my current ‘must haves’ for any writer:

1. Business Cards

I’m in the habit of always carrying around a copy of my book, just in case.  Last weekend, I managed to sell 5 paperback copies to friends at a wedding, purely because I had them with me in my suitcase.  For those times that you don’t have a book with you, business cards are a great alternative. My first business cards were just designed on my computer and then just printed onto stiff card, which is a great cheap alternative.  Having used all of those up, I decided that it was time to step up and get some professionally made ones.

These little beauties were made by Moo.com and I’m absolutely in love with them.  The colours are even more vivid than what you can see and the colours work in really well with the colours that I’ve chosen for the new Frankly Books look.  They’re matt with rounded corners and are totally memorable, which is important.  I’ve already been using these when dropping samples of my book into bookshops for them to consider stocking it.

2. Postcards

When Diary of a Penguin-napper first came out, I went to Vistaprint and got 50 postcards with the cover of the book printed on one side and blank on the reverse side.  All I paid for was the cost to upload my design and the postage (which came to around $15 altogether).  Having them blank on the back meant that I could print a variety of different things onto them at home.  I’ve used them as ‘Thank you’ cards when I’ve sent ARC copies of the book  or to give people who have helped me along the way. I’ve printed the blurb and other information onto them to giveaway at bookshops, plus I always put one onto the fridges of people I know when I go to visit.

3. Bookmarks

These are pretty much a no-brainer as far as writers are concerned.  They’re a great promo – particularly for middle grade authors as kids just love them and are sure to use them.  I’m yet to find a place to get these printed for a reasonable price in Australia, but they’re on my list of things to get.  What gives the postcards the slight advantage over the bookmark is that you don’t need to get a special long design made up to print them – you can just print your book cover onto the postcard without any modification.

Bonus inclusion: My ‘Signed by …’ stickers

I used to think that these were a bit of a luxury item, but they’ve recently moved up in my opinion.  Why?  Well I’ve discovered that people *love* signed copies of books and that they’re definitely more enthusiastic about buying a book if they know that you’ll autograph it for them.  I am yet to discover if this leads to more bookshop sales (with people picking up my book because it is a signed copy), but I’m going to be adding these stickers to all copies that I sign from now on and I’ll let you know how to get on!  These stickers are also from Moo.com and I got them in four different colours – not because I’m indecisive but rather because I’m not sure what colour my next book cover will be and I wanted to ensure that I had some to match (whatever colour it ends up!)

These are my current picks. What are your favourite promotional materials?  Have you tried anything really unique and special to capture the attention of your readers?  What are your ‘must have’ promotional materials?

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2 thoughts on “Three ‘must have’ promotional items for authors

  1. These are adorable! For a prior business, I have used NextDayFlyers for bookmarks. They were the cheapest AND they looked fantastic. So many compliments on them. I was in the balloon twisting business and put instructions on how to make a balloon dog on the back of the bookmark, so they would have a reason to save it – other than wanting to remember me. Honestly, it was probably my best marketing tool I used other than word of mouth.

    I definitely recommend putting something of use on one of the sides of the bookmark.

    I don’t have a clue about the shipping to Australia but if you haven’t yet checked them out, they may be worth looking into.
    Cool Mom/Stanley & Katrina

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