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I have worked in the promotional merchandise industry for a long time now and I can assure you that printing bookmarks are the most easiest and powerful medium of marketing. It's the best bet for ANY campaign, and an absolute MUST for authors.

I am currently completing my debut novel and I have already wrote up a marketing plan for promoting my book. And guess what was at the top of the list. Yup! You're right. Bookmarks! They're so indispensable and so cheap that it can meet almost any marketing budget. Luckily for me I have been working as a Graphic/Wed Designer for over 7 years now, so I don't need to worry about paying extortionate design fees for professional designs. But if you find the right company they'll be more than happy to provide a template design with your details.

Be creative with your promotion. Know what will catch your customer's (in this case reader's) attention. (i.e. If you've wrote a romance novel, why not cut the top of the bookmark in the shape of a rose.) It won't only be pretty, but it will stand out from all the other generic bookmarks. Instead of catching the readers attention with the content of the bookmark, you'll be catching the attention with the bookmark itself. Hook and Reel (I think that's the term) You'd be surprised at how much money you will save by doing it yourself rather than paying the printers to do it for you, but only be willing to do this if you've got the time.

If your marketing budget allows it, you can also print on different materials rather than cardboard (i.e. Cotton, Plastic, Felt, Foam and etc.) It will give you and your book a unique identity and a memorable keepsake for the readers. For children's book writers, I would recommend investing in Foam bookmarks as they are safer without any sharp corners and it also demonstrates concern for the child's safety.

Overall, from my experience bookmarks are the sure thing for most marketing plans. I've seen companies re-ordering these in 100,000 quantities, so remember to buy sufficient amounts and a little more.

Kind Regards


Leslie Korenko

For my first book, I used the plain white back to leave personal messages when I stopped by a potential outlet. It was too big to get lost, like a business card, and too colorful to just put aside without reading.

Dana Lynn Smith

Thanks for the tips, FK and Leslie. Great idea about using the back of the bookmark to make notes. Authors, if you plan to do that, make sure the back of your bookmark does not have a glossy coating (specify C1S cardstock - coated on one side).

Dana Lynn Smith

Thank you to Juli Schatz for recommending another online printer - PrintRunner - which I have added to the article above.


Thank you for promoting the good old-fashioned bookmark! When considering marketing my book, this choice was easy. I thought back to when I bought books SOLELY due to reading about them on a bookmark at the counter. I worked with my local printer, Highstarr Printing and Copying in Edgewater, Md., who produced an excellent product at a good price. I may have found something cheaper online, but these guys treat me like I'm a million dollar customer each time I walk in the door, and customer service matters, to me. I've found it funny that people have even asked me to sign their bookmarks?! Thanks again for sharing this article, and I look forward to ordering the e-book, too. -Valerie

Delia Latham

I'm a die-hard user of bookmarks. As suggested in the article, I hand them out everywhere. Leave one with your waitress at restaurants, along with your tip. Hand one to the grocery store clerk. Don't forget your hairdresser. Include in the envelope when you pay your bills. Stick them in the pocket on the seat in front of you on airplanes. Leave a couple in your seat if you ride a bus. And yes - I'm often asked to sign them. Mine are glossy on both sides, but I keep a fine point black Sharpie with me all the time - they work fine to sign those glossy bookmarks.

I also design bookmarks. Examples of my work are available at http://deliadesigns.webs.com. As for printers, I always recommend www.onlineprinthouse.com. I've found no one who beats their price AND quality - plus, I get a tremendous price break, and I pass it along to my customers. If you need a bookmark designed, come on by the website. I'm running a March special - $10 off any order for a bookmark design placed prior to April 1!

Annette Fix

Your post reminds me that I need to order more bookmarks because I'll be launching the ebooks for Nook and Kindle at the end of the month!

When I originally designed mine, I wanted to make sure they had visual appeal AND all the necessary info, but not too much so that they looked cluttered. (http://annettefix.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/budbookmarkfront.jpg)

I read somewhere to include something from the book on the back, be it a particularly memorable quote, something useful like a how-to tip related to the book, or, in my case, something humorous. (http://annettefix.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/budbookmarkback.jpg) I always got a great response from my bookmarks and used to leave them in all the places mentioned. I definitely second the suggestion to buy more than you think you'll need. I ran out long before I expected.

Dana Lynn Smith

Annette, thanks so much for your comments and for sharing your wonderful bookmarks.

Everyone, be sure to look at Annette's bookmark at



Pat Holland Conner

Each time I read your blog, I come away with something magic. Although I've printed and used book marks for my Spring 2011 book, "Doorways to Significance: Finding, Peace, Power & Passion," I learned about a new idea from fellow writers. Thanks, Dana, your blog is the best.

Dana Lynn Smith

Thanks for the kind words, Pat, and good luck with your new book!

Sue Ann Bowling

I designed and printed my own, using Bristol board and a color laser printer. Cover, short blurb and website address on the front; various quotes from reviews on the back. Only problem is feeding the second side--the curl from the first pass causes problems. They're not big (10 to a sheet) but I can make changes (like adding an award sticker) quickly.

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