Monday, September 23, 2013

Essential Materials for Writers and Authors



For many of us, the Internet is where we do most of our marketing. We need websites, blogs, social sites, etc. However, we can’t totally forget the real world and the opportunities there to promote.

There are thousands of ways to market and a long list of promotional items to assist those efforts. Two things are essential though.

Business cards – As an author, you are now an expert and a professional. Cards are essential for any business owner. There are sites that offer free cards, but since your business card is a reflection of you, don’t go cheap. A business card should contain your name, your professional title, contact email and/or phone number, and website. Never put a physical home address on the card—P.O. Boxes or business addresses only. You can include your book cover, but every time you write a new book, you’ll need new cards. A logo, slogan, or basic design is a better choice.

Even if you aren’t a published author, a business card still benefits a writer. Instead of “author,’ you are a “writer” or “professional writer.” Hand out your card at conferences and conventions. Use it as a networking tool at every opportunity. With a business card, you will look and feel more professional.

Bookmarks – The most practical promotional item is a bookmark, because it serves a purpose. Even with the e-book explosion, most people still own physical books. A high-quality, two-sided color bookmark will get the most mileage. Your bookmark should feature the book’s cover art, synopsis, ISBN, price, reviews/blurbs, author bio, your website, and publisher information. Compact everything and keep it short. There’s only so much room on a bookmark and you want the text to be legible.

Most people won’t remember your name, let alone your book’s title, five minutes after they meet you. Don’t let them forget by handing out bookmarks. You can also leave them for patrons at libraries and schools or at the doctor’s office. Get creative and have fun!

Does everyone have a business card? Authors, do you have bookmarks? And do you actually take those items with you when you venture out into the world?

44 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Good info, Diane. And...yes, I have both. But I forget to put them in my purse! So that's a fail on my part. I've got to do better with that.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice, Diane. No, I don't have business cards yet because I'm not published. But if I start going to conferences, I should probably get some made.

I also agree that bookmarks are essential and so easy to carry around.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I do have business cards, but have neglected the bookmark. Must remember that!

Scribbles From Jenn said...

As always, great tips, Diane. I recently got business cards, which I always carry with me. When the time comes I plan on getting bookmarks, too.

Southpaw said...

Nope. And I know everyone should have something. I think the hard part it decided on the look of the card.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have both!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

Everything checked except - author instead of writer. Why writer? I used writer long before I was a published author.

M.J. Fifield said...

I have neither, but I really do want to have bookmarks some day. It would be just neat to have those.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I just ordered new business cards this weekend. Never mind I write more NA now than YA (the old version said I was a YA writer), my previous website address is no more, and I realized I need new business cards for this reason alone. But this time I used the picture I have on my website and FB banner. Last time I used one of their free designs. Hello branding! :)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yes, I do have a business card and got them when I started my blog. When I was going to conferences I did pass them out. I also have several authors who would include my card in their swag and I've put together a cup of chocolates and cards in a coffee cup with my logo on it that have found their way into several author friends conference baskets. I also have nice mouse pads with my logo.

I also go by book stores and libraries with friends book marks. I always have some in my purse. It's a way of helping out.

Sia McKye Over Coffee

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Elizabeth, I always choose purses based on whether bookmarks will fit - LOL!

Natalie, they work well even for writers.

Southpaw, the design is important, and you only want to do it once.

Peaches, and you should use writer long before you are published.

Stina, branding is so important!

Sia, you are way ahead of the game!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

There is so much we have to do in this business.

Laura Marcella said...

I think pens and pencils are good promotional tools, too. They're inexpensive to personalize and buy in bulk, and everyone needs something to write with, even in this digital age. Of course, you can't fit as much info on them as you can with a business card or bookmark... but I still think they're a useful promotional tool!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Johanna Garth said...

I have business cards, but have often been guilty of leaving them at home.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I recently updated my business cards but I do need some new bookmarks.

Stephen Tremp said...

I have two kinds of business cards, but no book marks. Do you recommend QR codes for cards and bookmarks? Space is a premium and QR codes take up space.

And how much do you recommend on spending on bookmarks? I found even using Vista and their specials that bookmarks cost a lot of money.

I'll check back for your answer. Thanks!

Karen Lange said...

It dawned on me the other day that I need to update my business cards. I had them made up a few years ago and it's time that they reflect my latest venture. Bookmarks too, coming soon. Thanks for the reminder!

Bish Denham said...

I'm working on mine!

Arlee Bird said...

I've had some kind of business card since the late 70's. They're easy to carry a few all the time and give to that someone you happen to meet that may want to contact you later.

They may seem kind of old school, but business cards are practical and a darn sight better than a scribble on a scrap of paper.

Lee
Tossing It Out

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Laura, they are!

Stephen, if you can put a QR code on a bookmark, that's perfect. And Vista is expensive. Got Print is better.

Lee, they are practical and professional.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks for the prodding for bookmarks. I don't have any and think I should get some. I'll check into Got Print.

Mary Montague Sikes

Julie Luek said...

I have the business cards, but never thought of bookmarks, at least not yet. Maybe when I get a book actually published!

Steven said...

I use business cards all the time when I am out researching, especially interviewing people. Sometimes the best marketing tactics are the simple things.

Ella said...

I have business cards, I am getting ready to leave abandoned art. We will see how that goes.
You always have great ideas ; D

J E Oneil said...

I don't have need for those yet, but I'll have to remember this for the future.

Robin said...

As always, an excellent post with invaluable information.

Donna Hole said...

Thanks for the info :)

.....dhole

Carol Kilgore said...

Great tips. I have cards, but I don't yet have bookmarks. I will have those with the next book.

Yolanda Renee said...

I hand out business cards all the time, have even sent them in bill payments and other correspondence. You never know a book lover may open that envelope!

Tara Tyler said...

check and check!! great advice! and thanks for the reminder! i need some mor =)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I have both and always forget to hand them out when I get the opportunity. Doh!

Susanne Drazic said...

No, I don't have business cards. Something I will consider getting in the future.

As for bookmarks, I've heard that some authors put them inside books that are for sale in stores.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I heard in Europe people use business cards for personal and professional reasons so I used to carry them around. In this age of smart phones and email, handing someone a card is still a great way to connect with people.

Melanie Schulz said...

Business cards? Check. Bookmarks? Check.

Now if you'd asked about facebook, or other techy things I'd be like...well...

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I have business cards but no bookmarks. That's a great idea, Diane. They're cheap and easy to make (or to have made), and they're very useful. I'm always in need of bookmarks. Thanks for the tip.

xoRobyn

J.L. Campbell said...

I've run out of both, but yes, they're important to have at all times. Adding to my list of things to get done...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Mary, they do the best job.

Carol, you will find you use them more than anticipated.

Yolanda, I send bookmarks! And I save those no postage required envelopes and send bookmarks that way.

Karen, it's easy to fall out of the habit.

Susanne, I have done that...

Medeia Sharif said...

I'm a bookmark person. When I have business cards, I always forget to give them out or carry them around.

klahanie said...

Hi Diane,

Excellent advice for writers and for those who don't actually write but might be reading your posting for inspiration.

I have business cards. Sadly, now there are few phone booths these days, I shall have to stick them somewhere else.

Gary

E.J. Wesley said...

Bookmarking (no pun intended :) this post, LD! I get a huge F on both of these, but have to remedy that soon.

Mark Means said...

"Don't go cheap"....superb advice, Diane!

I also like the bookmark idea and will keep that one in mind when the time comes.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Have some homemade business cards, but the next batch is going to be the "real" deal, and I plan on getting bookmarks done at the same time.

Vanessa Morgan said...

Business cards work really well indeed. People you have met in person will be more curious about your books.

Rhonda Albom said...

Great advice. I just won a copy of Pop Travel (Tara Tyler) and I love the custom bookmark she sent with it.