With so much of our work as self-publishing authors demanding the use of high technology, it's both comforting and refreshing to tap into one of the most traditional and low-tech devices there is to market your book: the good old-fashioned bookmark.
Inevitably, producing bookmarks is made easier, faster and cheaper for 21st century authors by the use of digital printing technology, but the principles of why and how to use them remain the same. Over to US indie author Karen Myers for some top tips to help you produce effective bookmarks to promote and cross-promote your books, and how to make your bookmarks future-proof as you go on to write more books.
Whenever we send someone a book directly, or sell one at an event, we have an opportunity to include other things. Most commonly, these are bookmarks, which we also distribute wherever we can. Business cards are also very useful to carry when you’re meeting people, or standing around at a convention.
What are they good for? How can we make them maximally effective?
Bookmarks are the stand-alone representations of your books. They’re popular as leave-behinds in bookstores or at group events, and are the obvious choice for inserts into your books when you sell directly (via online ordering or at trade shows/events).
There is debate about whether all bookstores want them, but many do. If you’re not sure, ask.
What’s the Goal of a Bookmark?
To interest someone in buying another book. You can’t list all your books on a bookmark, as though it were a mini-catalogue. That may seem plausible when you only have one or two books, but it defeats the purpose of seducing the reader with well-designed, professional information.
Instead, set up one bookmark for each series or important stand-alone book. Remember, when you start a series, you may not know how many books there will be, or what their names are. I created the bookmark above (using cover art from the first book) before I wrote a fourth entry and a story collection.
Focus on the first book of the series, name as many of the other books as you can without muddying up the image, and refer to “… and more” after that point.
If you create a new bookmark for each series, you can be inventive about including a bookmark for series 2 in a book sale for series 1 to encourage cross-sales. Whenever you have any reason to mail something to someone, include a bookmark and a business card.
And since you may write faster than you use up a print run of bookmarks, future-proof them by using only digital contact information bits, not physical ones. I’ve moved since I made that bookmark, and I expect to move again before I run out of them.
Karen will be returning again next month with a similar piece about how to produce the best business cards for indie authors. There's a longer article about book marketing stationery for authors on her website here.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION! Please feel free to add your own top tips on the design and use of bookmarks via the comments box.#Authors - best way to use #bookmarks to #market your #selfpub book - by Karen Myers aka @Hollowlandsbook Click To Tweet
FURTHER READING Your bookmarks should of course reflect your author brand. More about how to establish an author brand here, with Leila Dewji: