Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Promotional Items?

I was cleaning my son's playroom today and came across a promotional item I was given at a local wine festival last year. It was one of those little flashlights in the shape of a bottle advertising Captain Morgan Rum. (My son likes judging!!! *sheepish-grin*)

Seeing this item made me think about promotional items writers use. I know things like bookmarks, business cards, pens, or notepads are popular, but are these things worth the investment? Do they really make people want to buy your book? Also, should you put your name or the name of your book on the promo item?

As I get into the submission process and start dreaming about a marketing plan (yeah, I know...roll your eyes), I find myself thinking about things like this. There are so many options. Excerpt books, lip balm, notebooks, pens, pencils, stress balls, posters, computer brushes, bookmarks, post cards, etc. So I thought I'd poll my writer friends with experience for curiosity sake since I am still dancing the submission limbo *laughs* and have no need as of yet for promotional items.

What promotional items have you found to be those that give you the most bang for your buck? What have you felt really makes a difference in sales? What was a huge flop? Do your promo items have your name or your book name or both?


  1. I have wondered about that as well. I personally wouldn't buy a book just because I have a bookmark or pen with an author's name on it. Maybe if I am seriously interested in the book and think I won't remember the author's name before I can go buy the book I would take one of those promotional items. Other than that, I don't really see much point in them.

  2. Unfortunately, I have zero experience with this since I am still working on my first book. But I do see an appeal to signed bookmarks as an added plus if I buy a book for a friend. It adds a little extra to the gift. Other than that, I don't see promotional items having much of a return on investment, (says the girl who never published a book in her life). (:

  3. I'm just getting warmed up for the "submission limbo" myself. :) If you're thinking of self-publishing, it would be important to find answers to this question, but otherwise I think the publisher usually decides if you're getting promotional material and what it would look like. I could definitely be wrong about that, though!

    I do know what I like to dream about: huge posters, bookmarks galore, and piles and piles of books. :D

  4. I'm thinking that what you need to scheme about is branding... either for you or your book. I know an author who is talking about stickers/patches with the logo she developed/envisioned for an organization that plays a key role in her book... That kind of thing COULD make someone buy your book... at least it might get the idea out there.

    1. I think this is a great concept. Not a great example, but say you're writing a non-fiction book about gardening, and you give away plant pots with your name and/or book title painted on them. Something like that would be cool

  5. My mind boggles when I think of all this stuff. It's nowhere near my radar... and I have no idea how effective it is. Sorry I'm not helpful, but I'm a sucker for mugs. I'll always take one of those if they're going!

  6. So I had bookmarks with just my website printed up. Then we went and stashed them in Pioneer Woman books at every book store/Hellmart we could find. (Shhh... Do not tell Ree.) I also leave them in bathrooms wherever I stop. I know it's not GREAT, but it makes me feel better. ;)

    Personally, I will download every free kindle book I hear about just because I never know when I'll read it. I usually end up reading them while waiting for the girls after school or at the doctor's office. That, to me, is the greatest marketing tool of an author.

  7. Absolutely great concept. Promotional item is really an great idea to get attention.
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  8. With utmost consideration to the nature of your business, take time to think about unique promotional items on which to imprint your logo or your business tag line. Perhaps, your business is all about computers.