Thursday, January 31, 2013

What sorts of things can I use as promotional material?

Hello again!

Today I'm going to give you some ideas for promotional materials and some links to websites that you can get them from.

Let's start with the basics.
  • Bookmarks
  • Postcards
  • Posters
  • Refrigerator Magnets
  • Bumper stickers
  • Window Decals
Most of this stuff you can find at Staples or Vistaprint.

Other basic items you should consider:
  • Stationary (including small paper for writing thank you notes, return address labels and possibly stickers and post-its.
  • Pens
  • Tote bags
  • T-shirts
Now this is where we get to the cool stuff. This is the stuff you can get custom for your book. Every book is different and you may want to pick one of these and order a lot or you may want to pick a few of them and order as you need them.

Let's start with what you can find at Vista Print:
  • Coffee Mugs
  • iPhone cases
  • Bottle openers
  • Letter opener
  • Key chain flashlight
  • Can Coolers
  • Rulers
  • Photo key chains
  • Magnetic Clips
  • Mouse pads
  • There is also calculators and flash drives, but they are a little pricey.
Now here is what you can find at Staples:
  • Calendars
  • Key chains
  • Luggage tags
  • Sports Bottles
  • Match Books
  • Button pins
  • And tons more!
The last few items are a little hard to find, so here is the direct link:

Okay, let's move on to a site that I stumbled across the other day, Printer Studio.
  • Puzzles
  • Dominoes
  • Magnets
  • Mouse pads
  • Bags/purses
  • Tote bags
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Coin Purses
  • Cosmetic bags
  • Wristlet Clutches
  • Calendars
  • Clocks
  • Aprons
  • Notebooks
  • Laptop Sleeves
  • Playing cards in all sizes
Printer Studio has some great prices and allows you to do the most customization possible with out charging you even more for it.

Okay, so far we've talked about promotional items that can be used for virtually any book. Now we need to talk about cool things that you can giveaway that are specific to your books theme. For example, my book takes place in Hawaii, so I give away Hawaiian Leis. Also in my book, there are protective rings that ward off vampires carved from sea shells, so I found some carved sea shell rings online and bought them for giveaways. They've actually been very popular.

One site that offers cheap goodies is Oriental Trading. They have great prices and lots of stuff to choose from, plus some of it is customizable! What kind of things do you think would work well for your book? What promotional items would you add to my list?

Come back here tomorrow for ideas on DIGITAL promotional materials!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Packaging up giveaways. Make that prize reach further.

Okay, so you got your promotional materials and you held a giveaway and now you need to send off those awesome prizes to your lucky winners. Here's what you need to include:

  1. The Prize (duh)
  2. Your business card, signed on the back with a thank you message
  3. You BOOK business card, signed
  4. Possibly a bonus prize if you are feeling generous (free bookmark)
Now, you already know what the prize is. If you need some ideas go to this site:

Let's get to the business card. Do I really need one? You may ask. Yes. Yes, you do. Your business card reminds the giveaway or contest winner that you held the giveaway yourself and gives you good person points. The thank you message on the back tells them that you care, not to mention, fans loved signed stuff and if you can't sign the prize itself, this is the next best thing.

Moving on the the Book Business Card. Why does your book get it's own business card? Because. By the time your prize winner actually gets their prize, they may have forgotten all about your book. If they don't already own it, this is your last chance to get them to buy it. If they do own it, this is a chance to get them to READ it and possibly leave a review.

What should you include on your book business card? The front should be JUST the cover, the back should have something like a tag line and a website and/or a QR code. I would recommend both, since not everyone has a smart phone and not everyone is going to take the time to type in the web address, especially if they have a smart phone that can do it for them. Then, you can tell them where your book is available like: "Available now on Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble!" Make sure to sign it if you can.

The bonus prize is of course, optional. You can give them a double prize and tell them to give one to a friend who doesn't know about your book yet, or something like that. It's just an extra thing that could pleasantly surprise your winner and/or give your book a wider reach.

Okay. Let's get to the packaging part. Don't just throw stuff in a box or envelope and send it off. Take care in packaging these items for your winner.

If they won something that needs to be boxed, make sure it's not going to rattle around using bubble wrap or paper. Then, put the business cards on top, so that when they open the package, those are the first things they will see.

If you are sending a large envelope, its not a bad idea to wrap whatever you are sending in tissue paper so that it doesn't get jumbled up. This way when they pull out the prize, they unfold the tissue paper and see your business cards on top, instead of them getting left in the large envelope.

If you are sending a regular envelope with a fancy book mark and your business cards, again, cards on top.

How do you package your prizes? Have any more tips?

Come back tomorrow for a big list of stuff you can use as promotional materials for giveaways, signings and other events.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why marketing materials are essential.

Today I just wanted to talk a little about marketing materials. Marketing materials to me are things that you can give out for free to people who are a fan of your work and they want to flaunt it. I would rather give away these marketing materials in a giveaway than my actual book. Why? Three reasons: 1. Cost 2. Free Advertising 3. Sales.

Lets talk first about cost. Let's just say a print copy of you book costs you $10. Every time you give away your book, it costs you $10 plus shipping. (Two ways if you count the shipping cost to get the book to you in the first place.)

Now, marketing or promotional materials such as tote bags, bookmarks, t-shirts and more can cost much less than a book if you are careful and pick the right websites. I just ordered 4 decks of custom cards from They were cheaper than my book at $8 per set and I got free shipping.

This brings us to our next reason to use promotional materials: Free Advertising. You might think it's silly, but giving people stuff with your book cover on it is FREE ADVERTISING. They will walk around with that t-shirt or tote bag and do advertising work for you. Okay, maybe it's not completely free since you have to pay for the item, but it's still pretty dang cheap.

The playing cards I ordered? I figure that whoever gets these will someday play a game of poker with them and their friends will notice that they don't look like normal cards. After a night of playing, they'll be seeing the images on the cards for weeks. This kind of stuff gets your book image into their head, which may translate to sales.

Sales. Our final reason for giving away promotional items instead of your actual book. Who is going to buy your book if they already have it or know that they can just enter a giveaway to get it? No one. That's why promotional materials are the best way to go, because not only do they make readers happy, but they are the gift that keeps on giving. After you send off your promotional materials to those lucky winners, most of them will be so happy when they get them that they'll post a picture on facebook or tell their friends about it.

Come back tomorrow for an article on how to package those giveaway prizes!