2013 and 2014 GOLDEN HEART® Finalist

Friday, April 13, 2012

Promotional Points - Go home with your readers

One of my various day jobs is writing and hosting a weekly webcast for the promotional products industry called The Industry Show.  It's posted on our company website for the general public to view and also emailed to thousands of people who've signed up to get it every week.  If you'd like to see a sample, go here:

The Industry Show      

Each week, we feature new and interesting promotional products in a different category, for instance, sports-themed, pet products, watches, eco-friendly, calendars-- anything and everything that can be logoed and used to promote a company, product, cause, or event.

Guess what else they can be used for?  Book promotions.  Because I'm already spending time researching these products and often come across things that could make for economical but memorable book promotions, I thought I'd share an idea with you each Friday.

Many times, when your book has the backing of a traditional publisher, their marketing department provides you, the author, with materials such as posters for your book signings and flyers or bookmarks to give away.  Not so if you're self-pubbed or maybe you're with a traditional publisher and just looking for something extra.  You might want to invest a little bit in your own promotional items.

I noticed a really fun one recently when I attended the book talk and signing of historial romance author Sarah MacLean at Barrington Books, an independent bookstore in my town. She's also an author from Rhode Island, and after hearing of her through a newspaper article, I picked up one of her books to read (quite good), and then decided to go to her book talk to meet her and see how she handled the whole signing/reading thing.  For more on Sarah and her books, go here:


Sarah was charming and adorable.  She made everyone feel welcome (wine! cheese! chatty Q&A!). She made easy eye contact and welcomed people individually.  She also had fun promotional products on hand.  I got one of her lovely bookmarks, of course, because I can never have too many.  She also handed out dice, imprinted with the name of her newest series (which focuses on a group of dashing men who are partners in a London casino) and a web address http://www.rulesofscoundrels.com/ that will take you right to her author home page.  Great idea!  The oversized red dice now live in my home, and whenever I see them, I think of Sarah, her books, and how nice it was to meet her.

So Sarah (or her publisher) cleverly tied in the casino theme (which will be carried through her next few books) to an inexpensive, but useful and fun item that readers can take home with them and enjoy.  So, how can you go home with your readers?  Is there a theme to your book that might be represented by some small item that could be easily packed and handed out at your next school talk or book-signing event?

Hard theme to match?  Well, most readers do love bookmarks, so let's go ahead and start with the obvious, but not be obvious about it.  Why settle for just ANY bookmarks?  What about a bookmark your readers can use, then plant, then enjoy as it blooms into a flowering plant or fragrant herb?
I found these from a company that makes all sorts of promotional items from seeded paper. This particular design features a seeded shaped paper (chooses from dozens of shapes and colors) attached to a bookmark the reader can keep using.

 With this particular double-sided bookmark, you just plant the whole thing.
Both choices are made from biodegradable eco-paper, manufactured with post-consumer materials and embedded with seeds. You send them your full color custom artwork, and they'll print it right onto the seed paper. You can  include planting instructions, and they're reportedly easy to grow.  
When the paper is planted in a pot of soil, the  paper composts away, and here's what you get:

Promotional products are usually less expensive when ordered in bulk, and must be obtained through a distributor-- not bought directly from a supplier.  Most cities and towns will have a local promotional products distributor, sometimes called a marketing or promotional consultant, but if you don't happen to know of one near you, contact me, and I'll be happy to help you find someone who can order these bookmarks or other promotional products for you. 

Next Friday, we'll move beyond bookmarks to a promotional product that might not occur to you easily, but that readers will be sure to want and use for a long time to come.  Have a great weekend!

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