Promotion Is More Than Just Bookmarks

Monday, March 05, 2012

Working for the marketing department of a local newspaper I had a great honor bestowed upon me: the keys to the prize room. The prize room is just what it sounds like--a place where they keep prizes of every shape and size emblazoned with the paper's name. Sure there are the expected pens and notepads but there are also golf towels, camping chairs, lunch cans, computer gadgets and more.

Many authors also have a "prize room". Sadly it usually contains just two things: copies of their books and bookmarks. There are only two problems with these prize rooms. First, giving away copies of your book can get expensive. Second, everyone has countless bookmarks and, unless they collect bookmarks like I do, they have a good chance of ending up in the garbage. So what's an author to do? Branch out!

As a WOW blog tour organizer and a book reviewer, I've seen authors give away many different things. Not only does it often help their budget but it keeps readers interested in their blog tours or live appearances. They came to the first blog to read about your book and enter to win the book but they follow you to other blogs hoping to win those other, quirky prizes.

There are companies that will plaster your name, the title of your book, and your website on just about anything. Recently I saw tattoos of a book character! Of course, the non-permanent washable type. My advice is to watch for sales and choose a "prize" that is somehow related to your book. Recently I saw big red plastic stirring spoons...great for a cookbook or a book called The Big Spoon, not great for a book about Victorian England or how to crochet.

You can also go the sort-of-homemade route which can give you that original prize everyone will talk about--and by extension they'll talk about your book! One author of a novel with gardeners as main characters gave away seed packets (very inexpensive!) . That same author, Mindy Friddle, also recreated the cover of her novel with old boots and plants from her garden for live appearances. Another gave away a recipe (all printed up on an index-sized card and ready to slide into someone's recipe book). And a third gave away a CD of big band music because her novel took place during World War II.

Use your imagination and choose a giveaway that is memorable and gives recipients all the vital stats of your book: title, author, website, and a one sentence synopsis if you can manage it.


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

This is something I have to work on--interesting giveaway items. It seems a little easier for non-fiction writers, but I might be wrong. What about fiction authors who write stories about the people who are members of a fictional book club? Here, the bookmarks might work, but they are too hackneyed.

Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks much for your help and for a great post.

hkhagan said...

Those are great ideas. Do you have any ideas for giveaways for ebooks? We are having a giveaway now of copies of our first ebook on our blog. But the best I can think of,right now, as a follow up giveaway is some kind of gift card. That seems expensive. Any ideas would be appreciated!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I know authors who do a great job with give aways for fiction. Start out by looking closely at your book. What are things the character likes or does? I've seen give aways that include recorded songs (distributed through the author's web site), nail polish, temporary tattoos, and more.


Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Great ideas, SueBE. Thanks much!

research papers writer said...

Very nice!

Jodi Webb said...

Sue, I agree that both fiction and non-fiction have great opportunities if you just think about it. Karen, the name of your series: The Bibliophiles is just a natural. I would love a magnet on my fridge that said "Are you a Bibliophile?" Or a t-shirt or tote bag but that could get pricier! The washable tattoos seem to be popular right now too. If you're a DIY kind of gal how about a bookend to give away with the word "bibliophile" on it?

Gemini, I wouldn't focus so much on it being an e-book as what your book is about. Give me some details and I'll give you some ideas!

Margo Dill said...

Jodi, I love this post. I have two books coming out and I am starting to think about this kind of thing. I might hit you up for a brainstorming session. :) LOL
Thanks for getting me thinking, Margo

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Most of the authors I know who have written nonfiction have come up with awesome classroom activities or book launches vs. actual items to give away. Something like celebrating your book about animals at a zoo or nature center with all kinds of animal based activities.

The fact that you have an e-book doesn't have to change things unless you want it to. You could giveaway another ebook the compliments yours or do something else altogether. Is this the garage sale book that you and your mother wrote for Kindle? You could do a garage sale "kit" with tags, markers, signs, etc. Or you could do a "pamper yourself after the big sale" give away with a candle, peppermint foot lotion, tea bags, etc.

Sorry. I actually enjoy brainstorming quite a bit.


hkhagan said...

Yes, it is the garage sale book. Thanks for the idea about the kits. I love that idea and it sounds fun to put together...much more fun than a gift card. Now my wheels are starting to turn! Thank you!

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