Monday, May 31, 2010
Ready, Set...Launch! Using hard-copy promotion to your advantage
As soon as you’ve signed a contract, or if you’re self-published, as soon as you’ve established a publication date, it’s time to get serious about promotion. On May 23, 2010, I discussed electronic promotion and this week we’ll talk about hard-copy promotion.
Business Cards: Business cards provide a professional image and are a valuable marketing tool. Have plenty of them printed and always have them with you. At a minimum, a business card should have name, address, phone number, e-mail address and website URL. Some writers have their book’s cover art on their cards; other writers have several writing interests and want to present a wider image.
Bookmarks: Have a stack of bookmarks handy at personal appearances. Slip a bookmark into books as you sell them, or hand them out as incentives. I’ve found that bookmarks measuring 1 ½ x 7 inches a practical size and allows 6 bookmarks across a page. Card stock of 110-pound weight is perfect for making a substantial bookmark. Include cover image, author’s name, a short synopsis, a reviewers blurb, where the book is available, the ISBN, and author’s website. Bookmarks can be printed on your own color printer. For sharp looking bookmarks, cut them with a paper cutter.
Postcards: Postcards involve a little more expense, but they are well worth it. I’ve had many book orders because of this promotional tool. By shopping on-line and designing the postcards myself, the cost was a little over $50 for 500 cards.
I saved and studied many book announcement postcards that I’ve received over the years to decide which features I liked and wanted to incorporate. On the picture side of the postcard is the book’s cover image. On the left of the reverse side is the book’s title and author, a synopsis, and a reviewer’s blurb. Include the ISBN, price, ordering information for personalized copies and where else the book is available, such as a favorite bookstore, the publisher, or Amazon.com.
Again, start assembling address lists early–don’t wait until you have the book in hand. I printed out address labels for the postcards and, once the book was available, sent them to about 400 people and have used the rest of them at events. Recently, I ordered another 500.
Press Release: Press Releases are used for media business contacts such as newspapers, professional reviewers (such as Midwest Book Review). A press release should be one full-page and include date of release, contact information, and a title that includes the purpose of the release. As an example, I’ll use my release: AS THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF MOUNT ST. HELENS’ DRAMATIC ERUPTION APPROACHES, AUTHOR MARY E. TRIMBLE RELEASES HER TIMELY NOVEL, TENDERFOOT. The release continues with a one-paragraph synopsis, a reviewers blurb, a short bio, where the book is available, ISBN and price. Also included in my Press Release is the book’s cover image and an author image.
Save the Press Release file in PDF format so that it can be either e-mailed to media contacts or printed.
Posters: Posters are good event marketing tools and serve to validate a writer’s achievement. When I appear at fairs or speaking engagements, I have a poster at my table, along with my books. Usually, my poster is in a clear plastic stand-up 8 x 10 inch picture holder, though I’ve also had posters enlarged and made a stand for them.
It’s handy to have generic posters made, but for special events, it’s also a good idea to use the basic poster and add the date and time of the event. Title your posters; for example, “Coming Soon,” “Just Released,” “Meet the Author.” When you are scheduled for a presentation, booksigning, etc., deliver two or three posters well ahead of time so the host location can promote your appearance.
For poster art, my picture appears with a solid background, a barn, leaving space beside me to over-lay the book cover image. This half-page picture (5 ½ x 8 inch), can be seen from a distance. Under the picture is the book’s title, author, and a short reviewer’s blurb.
Marketing and promotion take time and involve a little expense. But, after writing the book, the next step is selling it and aids such as those I’ve mentioned will build momentum and will help launch your book into the hands of readers.