Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Bookmarks and Postcards and Pens, Oh My

One of my favorite things to do at conferences is to check out the postcards, bookmarks and other assorted items left for attendees to grab up. I’ve gotten pens, postcards, bookmarks, candy, rubber jar openers and probably lots of other things I’ve now forgotten. But just how much of this stuff really helps sell books?

So far with my own books, I haven’t ventured beyond postcards and bookmarks. I’m thinking about expanding, but I don’t want to throw my money away.

Candy seems like a good idea, but I’ve seen people grab a package, tear it open and gobble down the chocolate without bothering to look at the writing on the package. Doesn’t seem like very good advertisement. I think I’ll skip that one.

Pens are fun. I have to admit they’re my favorite thing to snap up. I’m the kind of person who can spend hours in a stationery store. I do actually notice the author and book series that’s written on the pen when I’m using it. So that seems like a good possibility. Rubber jar openers are nice, but you really need to have a series that involves food or cooking, I think, to pull that one off. Since I don’t, I think I’ll skip it.

Between postcards and bookmarks, if I had to choose only one, I’d go with bookmarks. Most people can use bookmarks and you can have fun with the design. I do really like postcards, though. I put the book cover on the front and information about the book on the back. This is the kind of thing I enjoy getting at conferences for books I’m thinking of buying later. I stash them away and, yes, I actually look at them after I get home.

Unfortunately, I tend to go overboard when it comes to the number of bookmarks/postcards to order for my own books. Does anyone have any rule of thumb when it comes to how many to order at a time? And what are your favorite items to get at conferences?

On a different note, I enjoyed Rick’s post last week on the little free libraries that are cropping up everywhere. We have several in our area. I checked one of them out the other day. Lots of older books. I dropped off a book that I enjoyed that was published fairly recently, putting one of my own bookmarks in it, and I noticed it was snapped up within a couple days. So I’m going to start putting other books I enjoyed in the library with one of my bookmarks. Someone else will get to enjoy the book, it’ll free up some space in my own library, and who knows, maybe someone will buy one of my own books after looking at the bookmark.


Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Hi Sybil, I order my bookmarks and postcards from The price difference for 250 vs. 500 bookmarks is about $3...and since shipping for me is the biggest expense (Coming from US to Canada) it's better to have more than less.

I agree, bookmarks are a must. I ordered postcards for my first book, The Hanged Man's Noose, and seem to have a lifetime supply. There just aren't the same number of opportunities to hand them out. I did leave the back blank, though, so I just them as notecards when I'm sending a book out from a giveaway, and I've also put a label on the back with a recipe for the drink on the cover of my book (blueberry martini) -- but I didn't order postcards for my second book, Skeletons in the Attic. To me, the value isn't there.

I also like getting pens, but I've priced them out and they're too expensive for me to consider with a limited advertising budget. I've never bought a book because of a pen. I have bought a book from a bookmark...

I think that a lot of the swag at conferences is tossed out in the room before people fly off to their homes. It's easy to spend a lot without an ROI.

Back to bookmarks. I carry them with me always. If someone asks me what I do for a living, I hand them a bookmark or two! I've done that at golf, in the grocery name it!

Sybil Johnson said...

Thanks, Judy, for the comments. I have noticed pens are expensive. If I ever do them, it'll probably be a limited number for a special event.