Monday, April 4, 2011

Bring Attention to Your Books With Promotional Items

We may be in the business of selling books, but we can diversify into other products—both for sale and promotion—to make sure we always have something interesting to offer our readers. Following are some ideas for items you can personalize to advertise your book.

Bookmarks are one of the most versatile, inexpensive, and dispersible products you can utilize, since not only are they something readers can unquestionably use, they’re also easy to distribute by sticking them in returned library books, leaving them at book signings, and handing them out in place of or along with your business card.

Bumper Stickers have the potential to spread your advertising all over town. Create something simple, clever, and eye-catching, and be sure to include your web URL. Drivers may not be able to read the small print, but people in the parking lot will.

Keychains are relatively inexpensive and, since people carry their keys with them everywhere, your keychain has the potential to be seen by untold numbers of people.

T-Shirts are walking billboards. Include your book cover and URL, or maybe exert a little extra brain power to come up with a catchy phrase or slogan.

Tote Bags also have the potential to be carried all around town. Chances are good your tote bag will end up being used to haul books to and from the library, and who is more interesting in buying good books than friendly neighborhood librarians?

Mousepads aren’t likely to receive as many unique views as some of the other items, but they’re still a fun way to keep your book within view of customers—and to remind them that the purchase of your book is only a mouse click away.

Mugs are a great way to combine everyone’s favorite habits: reading and coffee drinking. Mugs tend to be more expensive to produce than some of the other items mentioned, but they make great contest prizes.

Pens are cheap and easy to distribute (and great for using and giving away at book signings). Just make sure you’re able to fit your important information into the relatively small printable surface.

Posters work wonderfully for display at book signings and other events. When you’re finished you can sign them and present them to fans.

Wallpaper for the computer costs nothing to create. This is a fun way to advertise your book and build interest as you’re counting down to its release.

All of the items listed above can be created with a little photo editing know-how and purchased at relatively inexpensive prices from the following sites: NextDayFlyers, Cafe Press, Vistaprint, and Walmart Photo.
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  1. Great ideas! One thing to consider, though. If you're putting your book cover on items you'll be selling, like mugs and tote bags, and if your book cover includes a stock photo in the design, be sure to check the photo license agreement. In some instances, you'll have to pay royalties per a certain number of items sold, even for royalty-free photos.

  2. I agree. Promotional giveaways are great for books and almost any other business or event. Another site to check out that I like is

  3. Ooh, great advice :) I think you can really spread the word with these things. I think having a link to some merchandise on your site is a cheap, good idea. Thanks for sharing!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  4. @Tommie: Good point. It always pays to review the licence agreement, either through your publisher, graphic designer, or directly through the photo retailer.

    @Ryan: Thanks for sharing the link!

    @Sarah: We're all hunting for ways to make our writing as lucrative as possible and while these extra items aren't likely to sell as well as your books, they're free advertising at the very least.

  5. Katie, I love how you think beyond bookmarks. Magnets are fun. Maybe create an address label template on your website that folks can download and make for themselves and all their friends. Thanks for getting our creative juices juicing!

  6. Good idea! I opted not to do magnets in my own promo, but they're another inexpensive option. I've seen people who print their business cards on magnets to make them a little more permanent.

  7. Great ideas! Marketing your writing seems like hard work :/

  8. Yes, it is hard work. But it's necessary in the current business model of publishing - and the good news is that it can be very enjoyable and rewarding in its own right.

  9. Even if the promotional products are free, bear in mind that promotional items are here to promote your brand and business, so don’t settle for an item or a product that consumers will not appreciate. Make items that are useful and functional.

  10. I agree. That's why I really like products such as tote bags and mugs that the person can use on a daily basis.