July 5, 2011

Author Promotional Items

This week I want to go over some promotional items you may want to consider purchasing prior to the release of your book. *Taken from a series of articles on the CAN Marketing Blog. 
  

Little engine, this month is an easy ride—no mountains or big hills to climb, only the straight long journey of say, a prairie or the plains of Kansas. Easy, but still an important aspect of marketing.

As I entered into the final stretch before my first book came out with Zondervan in 2009, I went over my notes to make sure I was staying within my marketing budget. From there, I began making a list of promotional items I thought I might want to offer my readers. And promotional items are just that--things that promote you. For me, that meant each item would have my name, my Country at Heart tagline, my website url and whatever else I might be able to add. The items that interested me most were:

Ballpoint pens
Bookmarks
Business Cards
Postcards and/or Posters
Grab Bags
Misc. Items

With this list in mind, I began searching various places online for the best bargains. I’d also visited several authors about the promo items they offered on their book signing tables and where they had purchased their supplies. Most offered bookmarks and pens or pencils. Some offered little gadgety things that went along with their book themes such as key chains, erasers, hand stress relievers, etc. For this sort of thing, Oriental Trading  is a good place to start looking.

Patti Lacy had made grab bags out of cellophane bags, which included sparkly confetti pieces, business cards, bookmarks, and tea bags with her book cover on them, all tied together with color-coordinated ribbon. I liked her idea and wanted to create a grab bag all my own. Try a hobby or craft store for good prices on such items.

It's important to mention, too, that you should contact your publisher/marketing department to see if they are willing to take care of any of these promotional items. If so, you'll save a considerable amount of money and time. Also keep in mind when you are purchasing your promotional items that the more you order, the better pricebreak you'll receive. That may mean order 1,000 items instead of 500--which would save you more money in the end. If you can make your promo items generic enough to use for more than one book, all the better.  

Here are a few links you might consider when you shop:

Pens:

Bookmarks/Postcards/Business Cards:

Or you might consider having someone design your bookmarks, postcards or business cards. Here are two designers who do this:


Now, is all this necessary? No. But if you have the money in your budget, it's nice to offer people something to take with them from your table, whether they buy a book or not. If you can only afford one item, I would suggest offering bookmarks.

Next Tuesday, we'll go over Creating PR Materials. Until then, keep chugging up those hills . . .
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