Cynthia D'Alba

Promo or Trash

When I first started down the writing road, I didn’t realize–or I didn’t give thought to–the promotion necessary to not only launch a new book but to keep sales going (and climbing.) It’s extraordinarily expensive, both in time and financial investment by the author. And the worst part? The author never really knows what worked and what didn’t.

So my book, Texas Two Step, comes out in print in four months. When Texas Two Step was first published by Samhain in digital format. I had jar openers, magnets and romance trading cards as promo items. I didn’t bother with bookmarks because, you know, digital! Hard to use a paper marker. But now? It’s print and I’m re-thinking what I need for my print promo.

Bookmarks? Not horribly expensive but I think of all the ones I’ve personally thrown away over the years. It’s rare that I keep them. On the other hand, I know of one person who get them autographed and keeps them. Another friend told me she keeps a slew of them in a jar by her bedside so she always has one handy. And an author friend told me that at her last booksigning, her books didn’t arrive (gulp!) and all she had were her bookmarks to sign for fans. So do you use bookmarkers? If you are an author, do you make new ones for each book?

Ink Pens – I have ink pens by the ton load at my house and many of them are from authors. In fact, my favorite pen (and the one I have to keep hidden from my husband in my purse to keep him from taking it) is from Delilah Devlin. Always writes. Clickable. Comfortable grip. I also have pens from authors I’ve never read, never heard of, and probably wouldn’t buy a book by just because I have a pen with a name on it. What about you? Pen collector? Clickable or cap? Does the ink color matter at all?

Other promo items I’ve collected from authors include emery boards, wine glass rings, key chains, rulers, sticky note pads, drink coasters, and one first aid kit.

If I were looking for a new, fresh idea for a promo product, one that wouldn’t break my financial back, what would you suggest?

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6 thoughts on “Promo or Trash

  1. My thought on promo items is that they aren’t about selling the one book. They’re about building name familiarity. Once my name is familiar, I have a base for selling that one book. Based on that, my promo is geared toward promoting me: website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

    I also look for stuff that is ‘keepable’ so there are more opportunities to see my name and check me out. Pens make sense to me because not only are they something that people hang on to, the average pen changes hands seven times. One promo item, seven contacts. will it inspire all seven people to run out and buy me? Probably not, but it makes more contact than a bookmark or business card. With this in mind I’m more likely to give them away in twos, one for the reader and one for ‘a friend’.

  2. I don’t have any fresh ideas to add, but I also loved Delilah’s pen! LOL. I like bookmarks and flats best. They provide a visual and a summary. I’ve purchased books because of the blurbs on them.

  3. I’m throwing away bookmarks, magnets, key chains, rulers, or drink coasters. A good pen is a precious commodity, as well as a sticky pad. Click with black ink. I might even keep an emery board. Good luck, Cynthia.

  4. Pens are the best call as far as I’m concerned. Post Its are a close second. I usually toss bookmarks, postcards, etc. Magnets I will keep depending on the image. Racy covers on my fridge or file cabinets at work are a no-no, though.

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