11 Tips for Ordering and Using Business Cards, Bookmarks, & Postcards

“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression—with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.”
— Natalie Massenet

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I purchased business cards, bookmarks, postcards, posters, car magnets, a banner, and book-related giveaways. In Part 1, I share general tips for all these materials and specific tips for business cards, bookmarks, and postcards. The rest I’ll cover in Part 2.

General Tips:

  1. Start saving for a marketing fund even before you sign a contract. You’ll be glad you did.
  1. Order your materials about 4 months before your book releases. First, set what part materials will be of your marketing budget. My materials were about 17%. The rest covered:
    • events
    • giveaways
    • ads
    • website design
    • a writers conference
    • travel
    • postage
  1. Join writer loops’ and save emails about good places to order materials. For Calculated Risk, I decided on one recommended vendor where I could design and order everything, except my book-related giveaways, online from one place.
  1. Purchase only business cards and bookmarks when your materials fund is small. 
  1. Order quality materials if possible. I have a cache of bookmarks and business cards. Most of the authors chose a decent level of quality. The low-quality materials standout among them. In a bad way.

Your low-quality business card will stick out in editors’ caches of quality cards. Click to tweet.

Your low-quality bookmark will stick out in readers’ caches of quality bookmarks. Click to tweet.

  1. Choose to print on only one side if you need to save on cost. In my cache, several authors chose quality, but the one-side option. If you can’t afford at least one-sided quality business cards and bookmarks, use tip 1 for your next book.

Specific Tips for Bookmarks, Business Cards, Postcards:

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    Bookmark


    Choose a finish on which ink doesn’t smear. I chose 14 pt. gloss (AQ) coated paper. Sign your materials. Readers like signed things. Some authors in my cache did this.
  1. Buy a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point. Choose a color that fits you or is from your book cover. Make it your “signature” color. Then sign everything with that pen. While watching a Netflix movie, I could sign 100 items.

 

  1. Include only one link on your materials: your website (and maybe your email address). Make sure your website has:

1. social media buttons on every page

2. your embedded blog

3. a contact-you page

This removes clutter from your materials and drives people to your website, where your book page with buy buttons resides.

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Business Card

10. Put your book cover(s) on all these materials.

  • Also, a professionally taken headshot, especially on business cards, helps people remember you.
  • For your materials, use the same headshot as you use on your website, social media, blog, and author page banners. This consistency helps people feel like they know you.
  • Some conferences offer low-cost, professional photo sessions.
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Postcard

11. Include your book cover, endorsement, blurb, and all ordering information (especially ISBN and release date) on your postcards. Acquisition librarians and bookstore managers appreciate such post cards for ordering your books. I used my postcards also for my launch party invitations.

What tips do you have for acquiring and using these materials?

3 Ways a Holiday Can Enhance Your Story and Help Market Your Book

“I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.” — Marcus Samuelsson (Chef) 

AcrylicArtist

Whether your story is humorous or suspenseful here are ways holidays can please readers and help in marketing your book.

Way 1: Family Traditions

Come up with a fresh, creative family tradition that readers can try. They’ll appreciate an idea to make their family’s holiday experience richer. The idea may also initiate getting the word out about your book as readers share it with others.

photoExample: In Calculated Risk, Nick’s family introduces Cisney to three Thanksgiving traditional events.

  • An active game in the basement among the cousins. This one shows Cisney a side of Nick that doesn’t fit her image of him in the office. (Cisney and Nick are extreme opposites.)
  • A mission project in which the whole family is involved. I think readers will find this one fresh and creative. Readers could start such a mission in their neighborhoods or churches. Although Nick is a little exasperated with Cisney at first, he learns much about her heart during this mission.
  • An outing on Thanksgiving evening with the cousins. Nick learns something about Cisney that drives him crazy and something that amuses him.
  • I used all three of these traditions to add something to my giveaway basket of goodies I talked about in a recent post.

Fresh holiday traditions in your story could start buzz about your book. Click to tweet.

 Way 2: Delicious Holiday Foods

Recipes, recipes, recipes. Get readers salivating for the food and then give them recipes on your website or in your newsletters. Also, use at least one food in some kind of conflict readers will remember.

Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Example: In Calculated Risk, Nick looks forward to his mother’s snowflake rolls.

  • Those rolls instigate some problems between Cisney and Nick that raises Grandpa’s eyebrows at the Thanksgiving table. I plan to offer a recipe for the rolls in a newsletter. My research said they’re easy to make.
  • Sweet potatoes become a retaliatory food for Cisney. Grandpa’s smile shows his approval. The events with the food are subtle but memorable.

Holiday food in your stories can generate recipes to use on your website and newsletter. Click to tweet.

 Way 3: Family & Friends

In past manuscripts, I avoided including family members of my main characters in my stories. I felt like I dropped them in, and they didn’t add much to the story. BUT when I included a holiday that’s all about family and friends, characters were easy to write. They were necessary “props.”

256px-Charles_Green01Example: In Calculated Risk, Nick adores his family, but some members exasperate him, especially when it comes to the way they admire Cisney.

  • Nick rooms with his cousin Tony. They’re almost as opposite as Cisney and Nick. Tony challenges Nick’s desire to keep his life private.
  • Nick’s younger sister and best friend fuel Cisney with handy information about Nick.

Holidays in your story lend an easy way to introduce characters’ family members. Click to tweet.

 What is your favorite holiday novel and why?

Delight Your Readers and Your Guests at Promotional Events with a Fun Activity

“Without promotion, something terrible happens…nothing!” —P. T. Barnum

by ARTG33K74

Many authors delight readers with recipes. Not a cook? How about a fun craft.

Delight your readers and guests at your events with a book-related craft. Click to tweet.

Why?

  • The activity offers your craft-loving readers who visit your website’s “For Readers” page free directions for something they like to do. They’ll return for more. Give them more. Just like the recipe idea.
  • Organizers of fairs know people like to participate in activities. So they provide face painting, games, and crafts. LEGO® is great at this idea at its LEGO® events. So for your events, offer a take-home craft for your guests.
  • A simple craft will draw people to your book-signing table.
  • Participants will have something to help them remember you and your book after they leave. They’ll have something to show others and talk about your book.

Important:

Your promotional craft should relate to something that’s in your book. Click to tweet. 

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Example:

In Calculated Risk under the throes of being dumped by her boyfriend, Cisney rashly accepts Nick’s invitation, given in a moment of compassion, to spend Thanksgiving with his family. On Thanksgiving Day after receiving a new tablecloth, Nick’s mother asks Cisney to re-set the table to use the new tablecloth. Cisney folds the napkins into birds of paradise. To Nick’s chagrin, the folded napkins are a hit with his female relatives.

I learned to fold napkins into birds of paradise when I volunteered at Bible Study Fellowship headquarters in San Antonio during a training session. The fold was simple to do and dressed up the setting so nicely. I used them at home for a dinner gathering.

Napkin Step 8So in addition to using my personal experience in my story, something I talked about in a recent post, I use it as a promotional activity. I share the activity on my website with step-by-step photos. I’ll also have a table for napkin folding at promotional events.

Added Benefits

  • Three teens will host a table of folding birds of paradise at my book launch party. A perfect way to involve young ladies. Hopefully, they’ll enjoy helping guests fold the paper-napkin flowers. The teens will make extras that people who don’t want to fold napkins can take.
  • Guests will learn a way to dress up their table settings at home. I hope the birds of paradise will also help guests remember Calculated Risk after they leave the party.
  • I plan to offer the activity at my upcoming book signing. The folded birds of paradise will give me something to talk about with customers who stop by. This activity will be in addition to the giveaway basket of book-related goodies I talked about in a recent post. 

From the last book you read, what might be used for a craft to share with readers?