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How To Use Leaflets To Market Your Self-published Books

How to Use Leaflets to Market Your Self-published Books

Head and shoulders photo of RichardDee

Richard Dee, self-published sci-fi author

Bookmarks, business cards and postcards are common book marketing collateral for indie authors, but Richard Dee has invented his own alternative to promote his self-published books: the extract leaflet. It works for him, and he's happy to share it with you here today. Over to Richard…

What do you offer to entice readers? I’ve seen keyrings, bags of sweets (I like that one!) and all manner of bookmarks and postcards. But I wanted to be different.

When I first started to publicize my work, I looked for something that I could give my prospective customers at events. I wondered what was the best way to attract attention to my work. A few of my peers suggested the postcard-style flyer mainly from companies like Vistaprint, and I dabbled with them.

shot of Richard's books

Promotional postcards are two-dimensional

They are great quality, there’s no doubt about that but to me they seem a little static, there’s not a lot of room to put more than the cover picture, the back cover blurb and a couple of links. Not only that, you need to plan ahead and order quite a few at a time, which you might not want.

An Alternative to Postcards

Then I had an idea, a different approach, I already wrote short stories and published them on my website and I wondered about the possibility of producing them myself, in booklet form, to hand out. I could also use sample chapters from my novels.

When I thought about it I realised that I had already seen them given away with magazines.

I experimented and initially settled on an A6 size (¼ A4) and printed a few, cutting and stapling them myself. There was quite a bit of work to get legible text, having reduced the print size by 75%, but in the end I thought they were pretty good.

photo of three leaflets

The first experiment

Reader Feedback

And then I encountered the customers. I mistakenly thought that as I could read them (with glasses), they would be acceptable, but a few people told me that the print was too small. I experimented with the size of the font and found that increasing the size meant more pages, which made them harder to staple as you can only add pages in multiples of four.

Undaunted, I gave out loads of them at my first big event. They seemed popular and people actually came up to my display and asked for them. I was quietly congratulating myself on my marketing skill. Until I went home and spotted a bin full of them by the entrance!

Clearly a little more thought was needed. At the time I wasn’t able to print in colour with the quality needed, even at A6.

Refining the Experiment

I had a rethink and increased the size to A5 (double my original and half of A4) and also invested in a new colour laser printer, which I actually got half price!

three leaflets in colour

Bigger and more colourful

Now I could do better covers and as I refined the production I started adding extras, like screen grabs of reviews on blank pages and links to my website.

interior of a leaflet

Look inside…

photo of current versions

The latest models


I have the flexibility to print as few or as many as I want, and can change the selection I offer easily depending on the event. Or I can try new things without waiting for delivery or having to take a large number.

They fly off the table at events and generate a lot of conversations.

OVER TO YOU This is a simple but brilliant idea – do you have any marketing brainwaves of your own that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear them! #Authors - here's a simple, effective and low-cost means of #bookmarketng at events via @RichardDeeAuthor Share on X



Author: Richard Dee

Retired Pilot, Author and Creator of Worlds.

www. richarddeescifi.co.uk


This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Don’t forget to print your QR code on the flyers – you can generate them for free online and print them out. It means a prospective reader can order immediately if they like what they read.

  2. Hi, sorry it has taken me so long to reply.

    I aim to get to either 8 or 16 pages total, that’s a front and back cover, one page for copyright or my biography and the rest are for content. That way I use the printer and paper to its optimum and it’s easy to work out the order for printing the pages as well!

    In a 16 page booklet, I can get a 5,000-word short story and in the 8-page format a sample chapter.

    I try not to look in the trash now, they may have been read first anyway.

  3. Wondering: When you “refined” your ‘experiment,’ did you continue to provide a sample chapter in its entirety? I know a chapter could be a good (albeit regular-sized) sample, and wondered how many pages you’ve found to be large “enough” to provide as a hand-out, but not too much-so, finding them later in the trash bin as you leave? On average how many pages do you include in your sample leaflets?

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