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Making Your Promotion Materials Work For You

I’ve done similar blog posts to this, but lately I’ve been thinking more and more about promo materials. Maybe it’s because we have a new logo and I’m obsessed with putting it on everything. Okay, no maybe about it, that’s exactly why.

The Goody Room is one of my favorite places at a conference, but I’ll be honest, I bypass every single piece of paper in that room and go for the stuff. I always bring back pens and post-its for Beth and make sure to grab can cozies, notebooks and chapstick for myself. I’ve never picked up a bookmark, postcard, or anything else that strictly tells me about the book.

The question is, do any of those things sell books? Do you remember BookEnds because you grabbed our pen in a Goody Room? Is that why you submitted to us? Somehow I doubt it. However, they are fun. There’s something thrilling about having your own promo material and handing someone a pen with your name, or your company’s name, on it. It makes me proud.

I did a recent poll of my team to find out what materials they’d like to have the BookEnds name on. I’m hoping to order more pens in the new year, and definitely looking into notebooks. It seems that when it comes down to it, pen and paper are what we like best. Although a cool coffee mug wouldn’t be so bad.

When deciding how to spend money on promo materials, or if to spend money, I think you need to decide what you want out of it. Are you doing it because everyone else is or are you doing it because it excites you to have something to hand to people, and maybe use as a conversation starter? In my mind, the ability to have something to hand to people, to share with them, is worth a lot more than a stack of paper in a Goody Room.

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3 comments

  1. I don’t do a lot of promotional materials beyond rack cards that I can stick in my signed books like oversized bookmarks when I’m giving the books away to readers–they list whatever series the book I’ve signed belongs to, and all the titles involved. BUT, the very best promo handout I’ve ever seen would have to be the refrigerator magnet clips from well-known publicist and PR maven, Nancy Berland. (and yes, Nancy would be my dream publicist!) Every year she puts out a different shaped clip and I have them on my refrigerator with photos and notes and all other sorts of things every grandmother keeps on the front of the fridge. With her name front and center, I am constantly reminded of who she is and what she does. And isn’t that the point of good promo?

    The most effective promo I’ve ever done were my adorable little stuffed wolves made by the Douglas Cuddle Toy Company. I started giving them out the year Wolf Tales debuted from Kensington Publishing, and probably went through at least ten cases of wolves before they finally got too expensive to give away. I still hear from readers who have kept my little wolves on their bookshelves with my books, with the tag that says “DOUGLAS” sewn to their fuzzy butts…

  2. I love conference goodies, and have to confess I ignore postcards and bookmarks as well. The promo items I love are pens and notebooks/stickynotes, but the other things I like are things that are different – especially if they are useful (and then I’m reminded of what’s being promo’d all the time).

    My unusual favourite things are:
    – microfibre glasses cleaner
    – 4-in-1 tape measure (eg here)
    – 3-in-1 travel kit (eg here)
    – packet of travel tissues (perfect for conference because there is always someone wearing perfume that gives me hayfever)
    – chapstick

  3. As an owner of a promotional products company who has been a closet author since before I started my business, I can say that you should never advertise yourself on something that you don’t find to be useful and handy. If you like it, chances are others will, too, and if it’s of a unique design or material, then it’s eye catching for more than one reason.

    While a person’s taste is subjective, giving them something handy is always dandy.

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