The received wisdom of merchandizing handouts for promoting your book is that you need bookmarks and picture postcards to give out at your readings and personal appearances. While I wanted to do that, it never quite worked out. My first book, Emperor Dad was done as an experiment and while I ordered the PR kit from Lulu, I think I still have some of those unused postcards around some place, if I haven’t already thrown them out. I didn’t like the looks of them, and they were too expensive for what I needed, especially since they seemed to be advertising Lulu more than my book. When I switched to Lightning Source as my printer, I needed something different.
When the deadline approached for a convention appearance, I used my business card software (Business Card Composer) to print out some custom business cards for my books, and I’ve been quite pleased with the results.
Once I’ve added the cover image, there’s not a whole lot of space left, so I’ve settled on a couple of URL’s, my own webstore and an Amazon link, plus a two line blurb. Because of the way the software lets me print multiple cards on one Avery 8879 pre-cut sheet, I tend to make up about five or six different blurbs for each title. The end result is a stack of clean edged glossy image cards with a variety of cute sayings. I hand these out at my book signing table, or distribute on the freebe tables at cons. Occasionally, a younger one with no money for books will get me to autograph the card.
At various cons, I have used them as discount coupons for cheaper books, or urged people to collect the whole set. By having variety in my handouts, it works well with my business model. I intend to keep the books on sale. Yes, there’s the latest and greatest book at any one time, but I’m just as pleased when you buy one of the older titles. And when I run low of any title’s cards, I just load some more Avery 8879 sheets into the printer and add some more.
It may be that I never go the traditional bookmarks and postcard route. These smaller cards work just fine as bookmarks and they’re just the right size for people to collect with their other business cards. Next time we meet, collect the whole set.