Designing and printing marketing materials can be costly, so make sure you have a clear need and purpose for these items in your book marketing plan before you purchase them.
Bookmarks are great for distributing at book fairs and events and to bookstores that stock your book. Posters may also be useful for events and bookstores. Libraries like to receive posters and bookmarks for children's books. If you do a lot of speaking or other events where you're selling books, consider having a retractable banner made.
If you meet people at speaking engagements, networking events, or other venues, you'll need business cards. Two-sided business cards cost a little more, but you can showcase your book on one side and your contact information on the other. If you need business cards only occasionally, you might design bookmarks with your contact information so they can double as business cards.
Postcards are especially effective for announcing the publication of a new book, but make sure you have a good mailing list before ordering them. You can send postcards to friends, family, and business contacts, and you may also be able to rent mailing lists for your specific target market or exchange lists with a colleague.
Postage is expensive, so if your mailing is more than 200 pieces you may benefit from using bulk mail rates. Check with a local mailhouse for pricing. You can also save by printing your postcard at 4x6 inches and mailing it at the 28-cent postcard rate instead of first class.
Most correspondence is done by email these days, so it's likely that you won't need any printed letterhead. If you ship books to customers, you may want to buy mailing labels or return address labels.
A sell sheet is a flyer that's used to promote books to libraries and bookstores and can also be included in press kits or distributed online in PDF format. It's important to include the ISBN and other vital statistics and a list of wholesalers where the book is available. Here's an example of a sell sheet.
If you're a nonfiction author with other products and services to sell, you might benefit from using promotional items like custom printed pens or sticky notes.
Your book cover designer may be able to design coordinating marketing materials for you. Cover designer Anton Khodakovsky has several samples of book marketing items on his website, including a poster, sell sheet, postcard, business card, and bookmark, all designed to coordinate with the cover of George Beck's thriller, Trounce.
Many subsidy publishing companies offer book marketing materials such as postcards and business cards. Before purchasing these products, have a plan for using them and find out how much input you will have in the copy and design. You can probably get these pieces printed at a lower cost elsewhere, but be sure to factor in the cost of graphic design.
Here are some more tips for producing book marketing materials to promote your book:
• Make sure there's a sales message on your printed materials, not just a book cover and title, and always include your website address.
• Brand your printed materials to coordinate with your book cover, website, and other marketing items.
• Items like bookmarks and postcards are much cheaper per unit when ordered in larger quantity. Think about all the ways you can use these items and consider ordering in quantity.
• Compare prices with local printers as well as online printers such as PrintingForLess.com, but don't forget to factor in shipping costs. Local printers may be more economical for smaller quantities and they may also have graphic artists available to prepare artwork the artwork.
Printed materials can be very effective in promoting your book, but you'll get the most benefit from your investment when use them strategically.