Over the years I've worked with many authors during multi-author events and I've coached authors on all areas of marketing, and one of the most common questions I get is, "What should I buy for promotional tools?" I used to have no problem answering that question, but now we're heading into an ereader world, where the usual promotional tools may not be as effective.
Many of my author friends have gone all out, spending thousands of dollars on t-shirts, mugs, fliers, bookmarks, business cards, coasters, calendars, pens, baseball caps, and many other items. I wonder how many of those items were either thrown away, given away or never used.
More importantly, most authors only make a dollar or two per book--sometimes less--so it's important to weigh the cost of such items and ask yourself if it's worth buying these kinds of promotional tools. I've tried many different things over the years; I don't mind experimenting. Most of the items I mentioned above are just too expensive.
My favorite promotional tool has been bookmarks. They're useful. Or they were until ereaders became so popular. Two-sided bookmarks were excellent promotional tools. You can get a lot of info on one, including book covers, where to buy and website URL. They're the easiest thing to give out when at a book signing or special event. They're also more affordable than most of the other promo tools listed above. I suspect bookmarks won't be as effective in the future as more and more people turn to ereaders.
Business cards are great to give out during conferences or when meeting an agent or publisher, but they're not so good for readers. Most will bury them in their purse or wallet or toss them. T-shirts, mugs and even pens are just too expensive, though they're a great gift or prize, if used to encourage sales first.
With ereaders, there is less demand for authors to tour bookstores and do book signings. I mean, it's not that easy signing an ebook on a Kobo or a Kindle. :-) So I'm looking for new promotional tools, things I can give out when I meet people. Something with some value so that people don't throw it away. Something that will bring people to my website or maybe give them a sample of my work.
I've designed a different kind of business card. It's more like a coupon. On one side I can add a brief description of a book and the cover. On the other side I give them the URL to a sample online. Or the second side has a special coupon code that allows them to read one of my works for free. The entire ebook. I'll even autograph the card if someone wants me to.
I plan to give out a lot of these cards over the next few months and I'll be taking a stack of them with me when I go on a Mexican Riviera cruise in February. I bet I'll see a lot of people relaxing by the pool--with a Kindle or Kobo or Sony or iPad in hand. Stay tuned for another Random Acts of Divineness, and if you happen to be on that cruise, come find me and I'll sign your Kindle or Kobo. ;-)
Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.
Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."
You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherylktardif.com and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com. Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.
Would you ask your favorite author to sign the back of your ereader? If so, who would that be?
Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.