Business Cards, Leaflets, and Bookmarks Oh My!
It may seem crazy that authors need such things, but I hope to give you a few tips as to why they play a part in your author marketing. You may feel such items belong in a book launch, but I can assure you they play a part in your author platform as well.
Welcome back to the How To Build An Author House Series. I’d like to today focus on promotional materials and how an aspiring author should always have a few to hand to take their author marketing to exciting levels.
Promotional materials are often used for competitions and giveaways, and although they certainly belong in such a category, you can also use them in a more general sense.
As an aspiring author setting up an author platform, you will no doubt place yourself in situations where networking can occur. Whether this is at a conference, or a book club, or some kind of seminar is irrelevant. If you really want to become an author then you need to put yourself in front of agents, and editors, and publishers, and most importantly, fellow writers.
Introvert or extrovert, it doesn’t matter, somewhere along the way you will meet relevant people and should always be ready. If done properly it screams out professionalism and says, “Hey, I’m taking this whole thing very seriously.”
So the question is, what should be in an author’s Promotional Kit?
In my opinion everyone should have a business card, but that’s just me. An author, or anyone looking to build a platform of some kind (aka and author platform) certainly needs a set of professional looking cards.
There will be times you meet people and get talking about books and writing. Sometimes this is in a formal setting, but it may just as easily occur on a night out, or at an airport, or anywhere else for that matter.
Be proud of your author platform and let people know what you’re doing. There’s no shame in showing passion for what you do. It isn’t selling your soul or being pushy, merely expressing your delight at being an author.
When such circumstances occur it’s handy to give out a card with all your information on. The chance meeting may lead to nothing, but who knows, it could just become your big break.
So what information does an author need on their card?
– Your name (and Pen Name if appropriate)
– Your Phone Number (preferably a mobile number) & Email
– Your Website/Blog Details
These are the bare essentials and most of the time you can stop here. I come across way too many cards jam packed with info, and guess what, it makes my head hurt and more often than not leads to me throwing the card away. Keep things simple, because being simple is nearly always the way to go.
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Saying that, you also need to remember you have two sides to work with. You’re an aspiring writer, which hopefully means a creative person. Show some flair and personal touches with items such as:
– Unique Messages
– QR Codes
– Coupon for Future Books
– Anything Else That Will Produce and Instant WOW
It really is as easy as that. Don’t over complicate things as you’ll end up confusing your entire message. Simply create a design you like, showcase your author platform, and spend more than pocket change. I’ve bought cards from Vistaprint before (and other cheap places) and, well, they’re cheap looking.
You don’t need to go crazy, but spending a few extra dollar or pounds can make all the difference. You want people to keep your card, right?
This may seem a little ‘corporate’, but hear me out.
You’re a Writer, and Writers Write, and some Writers even use pens from time to time. Whenever you can find a promotional product that links in with what you do (aka Bookmarks for a Book Launch), I strongly suggest bringing it in to your author marketing arsenal.
I like the idea of personalising a pen because they’re always in need. I hardly ever write these days (I do everything on a laptop), but I’m forever searching for pens. It doesn’t make sense!
If you meet someone you like at a networking event give them a pen. It’s a nice ‘Thank you for your time’, whilst also getting on their desk, in their pocket, or within the hectic world of a woman’s purse.
Be warned though because the same rules apply here as they do for Business Cards. Don’t try and fit everything on this small pen, and don’t go for the cheapest option.
I’ve sometimes been given pens with so much text I struggle to make out it’s a pen. Pens are small, so trying to fit your life story won’t work. Your name and website will suffice trust me.
As for price, well, imagine yourself in this scenario will you? You meet someone, they give you a pen, and the cheap piece of crap breaks and ruins your nice suit. What do you think of the person that gave it you?
A few extra pennies per pen can be a game changer. You don’t need to buy a corporate gift, just something nice 🙂
This is my personal favourite, and unfortunately the most expensive option (Isn’t it always the case). All of these tips depend on your budget, but if you’re saving up money to go to a conference or writing retreat, then go the extra mile and save up extra cash for items like these.
I love the idea of the mug because it fits the writer stereotype. As I think of a writer I imagine long hours at a desk with a pot of coffee next to them (and screaming at the computer screen). Having a personalised mug to give out gets you in the mind of the owner, and that’s what building an author platform is all about at this stage.
The key to a successful mug is creativity. You may want your name, or website, or email on show, but the only way a mug will stay on someone’s desk is if it looks the part.
If you’re a creative person then a design is something you can probably come up with. It doesn’t have to be a fancy picture; some of the best mugs I’ve ever seen are made up of witty and humorous text. If the design side of things is beyond you though consider reaching out to friends and followers.
It could become a great crowdsourcing project, which enhances your author platform even more.
As I say, all of these things depend on your budget, and some people will have none for this kind of thing. If that’s the case don’t worry, instead try to be creative and allow your mind to come up with some interesting ideas that leave a mark (homemade cookies, lottery tickets, a homemade card).
Promotional materials are not only for promotions though, and that’s the point of this post. If you approach it in a creative manner then the result can seriously add kudos to your author marketing, and help enhance the other things you’re doing too.
That’s all for now, and I won’t lie, this Blog will be rather empty and quiet in the next month. I’ll be telling the world my plans later this week, and needless to say it’s very exciting.
I’ll be back with plenty of Blog activity soon, but sometimes you need to take a step back to make several forward.
Stay tuned folks
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million