Blogger: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Location: The Woodlands, Texas PR Office
Weather: Warm and Steamy!
Freebies, promos, and giveaways! The buzz on writers’ loops abounds with ideas for promotional items and makes it seem as though any author who hasn’t paid to engrave a pen with her latest release’s title or crafted a postcard to send out to his extensive mailing list just isn’t doing enough.
However, budgets are limited nowadays, and both authors and publishing houses are finding their funds need to be stretched as far as possible. Thus, where there might once have been more money for promotional items, now there isn’t. Yet an author’s signing seems sadly lacking without something for potential readers to take home besides the book. What’s an author to do?
The answer is simple…and complicated: Do what you can. For some authors that may mean shouldering much of the burden of purchasing promotional items while for others it may mean none of the fancy giveaways they’d like.
Good news! Bargains abound Here are a few that will punch up your promotion with giveaways:
1. When considering items such as pens, tote bags, and other personalized materials, shop for bargains. Websites offer pens for anywhere between a few cents each to a few dollars each–or more. Is the difference worth the price? That’s something you will have to decide, though I highly recommend asking around for recommendations on outlets that do quality work for reasonable rates.
2. Think beyond the usual to the unique. Perhaps your book has a protagonist who is a teacher or a home builder. Why not snatch up a batch of rulers and have your website address or your newest release’s title printed on them? Don’t have the budget for custom work like this? Fine…create a stencil, purchase a small container of paint, and do it yourself.
3. Consider brand over book to maximize returns. Instead of creating a different promotional item for each book release, why not find an item that fits your brand? Pens are a good choice, especially if you stick to your name, website address and perhaps a tag line. Try to pick a pen whose “personality” matches your brand. Write romance? Red suggests passion. Write thoughtful nonfiction? A classy black pen might be the best choice.
These are just a few ideas for putting some punch into your promotions. Now I want to hear what sort of giveaways you’ve used. What worked? What didn’t work? And most important, pass on any tips for vendors who might offer great deals, great service, creative items, etc.