Promotion - Credibility Extras
For many of us, marketing our titles is one of the most tedious tasks of being an author. Even authors who published with large New York houses are expected to take part in marketing and promotion. Many articles and several books have been written to give us guidelines. One thing all marketing experts stress is the importance of being professional.
Here are several extras that other industries use, and we authors should too, to boost our professional credibility. Remember BUYERS are your clients. Treat them as such.
LOGO -- What kind of logo for an author? Pens, stacked books, computer keyboards? Think more of your product and develop something that reflects the subject of your books. This is not something to use when you query for publication or representation, but AFTER you have a finished, marketable product.
Invest in professional letterhead. Use your logo and give concise contact information, including e-mail and web sites. It should be 24# paper with matching envelopes. Use this for regular letters, and for any invoices you send out.
Along with this letterhead, you should have attractive or matching business cards--again using your logo. Do not put your address on the business cards. Telephone, e-mail and web site is enough. Hand out these cards to anyone who glances your way.
Do you have bookmarks? Use colorful card stock, and on one side put your logo, list your contact information (P O Box is recommended) and perhaps a friendly comment. On the reverse side, list your titles and a short (25 words max.) review by a third party. Use them for handouts, and include them with every book you sell.
It’s also important to make certain your books are always in the public eye. An easy way to do this is with flyers. Keep at least two varieties in your car (along with a tin of push pins).
A flyer for your local region that advertises your book, your web site and you as a commodity (speaker, workshop leader, et cetera). It should list the places your books can be purchased.
A flyer for when you're away from home that highlights your titles and where they can be found online.
Design the flyers with an angle to the time of year, the region or some other feature that will make them stand out. On both flyers, be certain all the contact information is in large non-frilly type. Mention any specials you can think up. FREE GIFT could mean an inexpensive bookmark thrown in, and you can encourage buyers to your site by featuring autographed books.
Put these flyers up on bulletin boards in libraries, churches, supermarkets, colleges...and any facilities that relate to your subject matter. Drop them off with local radio and TV stations, especially if you're available for interviews. Send copies to your regional newspapers.
Developing flyers isn't difficult with today's basic computer software. The best size is 5"x7". You can enhance a simple, white-paper printout by mounting it on a larger sheet of colored construction paper.
Fifty of each flyer is a good start, and shouldn't cost more than $5.00 (for black and white)--a bit more if you use commercial facilities.
FOLLOW UP -- If you have negotiated for your titles to be carried in independent bookstores and gift shops, it is a nice touch to send a thank-you note right after the books are placed. Also send thank-you notes to the coordinators of any book festivals or bazaars you attend. And don't forget these helpful people during the holidays. Send a greeting card--and tuck in your business card.
These professional touches will keep your name fresh in the minds your the public and help build a larger clientele--your fan base. The cost for these is slight, and if you’re persistent with these easily done "extras," your returns will be considerably higher.