Let’s talk business, baby – it’s business time. But not that way. Seriously. I like ya’ll fine but, not in that way. I mean serious business – promotion. Putting swans and hats aside for a moment, what are your best tools for self-promotion?
I ask because after RWA and the Goody Room that was 90% bookmarks and 8% books from Dorchester (BIG OOOPS) and 2% Other Stuff, I got to thinking: what’s the best way to promote yourself with extras and goodies and random stuff?
Linnea Sinclair, at her publisher signing, told me that she’s the master of cheap or free promotion. Her secret (and I hope she’s not pissed that I give it away) is to wait for any opportunity for free postcards from VistaPrint. The postcards, cut in half, make for excellent bookmarks, and you can upload your own designs, with two bookmarks per card. So 50 free postcards yields 100 free bookmarks. Nice!
I’ve also seen mugs (though they weren’t giveaways, to be sure), candy and chocolate giveaways (which I appreciated a LOT), magnets, pens, and post-its. I’m such a sucker for post-its, it’s sad. Other promos that I have and continue to use include a RWA NJ chapter itty bitty booklight, and two chip clips from Elizabeth Keyes, who keeps my tortilla chips fresh two years after I got two of her chip clips,
I’m relatively sure, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, that authors pay for a lot of this promo swag on their own, so I have to ask: what works? I’m not sure it’s possible to quantify, but do bookmarks work for promotion as well as magnets? Are there some items that are just 100% fantastic and everyone wants one? What innovative cheap promo items have you seen that worked to spread the word about a book? And how do you choose and use your promo swag?