Monday, October 22, 2012

Blog Widgets and Marketing Materials for Authors

Blog Widgets

Most of us use standard widgets for our blog - widgets for following, blogrolls, archives, Twitter, etc.

But if you’re looking for some really unique widgets, visit Mashable’s 50 Great Widgets for Your Blog.

To give you a sample:
LinkedInABox – show off your LinkedIn profile. Perfect for personal blogs.
WikiSeek – search Wikipedia with this simple widget.
Now Playing – if you got to share your current playlist contents with the world, Sigamp will do the trick. Works with most popular music players, including Foobar, Winamp, iTunes and others.
3Jam – lets your visitors send messages to your mobile phone, without them knowing your phone number.
iBegin Weather Widget – Display weather information in your sidebar. Just like with Price of Gas, works great with travel-related blogs.

You can also visit sites such as Widgetbox and custom create your own widgets.

Any fun widgets outside of the standards you’d recommend?

Marketing Materials

Even though most of our promotions are online now, there are still tangible items that can help us promote our books:

Bookmarks - essential for any author

Business cards - also essential - you are a professional now

Postcards - mail to libraries, bookstores, target lists, fan clubs

Brochures - highlight your book titles, your speaking topics, etc.

Sell sheets & flyers - for the media, bookstores, and libraries

Press kit - your website should have a ‘media room,’ but it’s a good idea to have a physical press kit just in case

List of emails & addresses - can’t send out news of your next book without these

Posters & display items - for physical appearances

Giveaway items - pens, mugs, totes, etc.

Additional materials sold with your book - packaged with a CDRom, stuffed toy, etc.

Any other promotional materials you’d recommend?


  1. I love bookmarks. They don't encourage me to buy or read the book, but they are so handy to have. :)

    I can't say any of these promotional devices have caused me to buy a book. Word of mouth does it for me every time.

  2. Visually, these promotion tools catch the eye. That's what you need to do. Even if people collect bookmarks, they're eye is going to be drawn to the artwork and blurb. Speaking from experience, I've bought books after reading my cache of bookmarks collected from conferences.

    Press kits are important and I like the idea of postcards to book clubs.

  3. Widgets are great and I need to look into a few more. I'm going for the sign you can stick to the back of a car. Vista has them for cheap. I keep relling myself I'll order one, but have yet tog et around to it.

  4. Stina, it might not make you buy the book but it will help you remember.

    Sia, and that's why they give them out.

    Stephen, I had a magnet for the longest time and got it from a local sign shop for a reasonable price.

  5. Thanks for passing on the tip about widgets. Great promotional ideas too! Now if I just can finish my book. .

  6. This is a nice list to have on hand when it comes time to promote! Thanks.

  7. I have bookmarks! And half the time I actually remember to use them.

  8. Bookmarks are brilliant. I keep a bunch on hand always.

    Great list, Diane. All of this is pretty much what I keep with me whenever I do an event or a tour.


  9. The consensus seems to be for bookmarks and I have to say I agree.

  10. Bookmarks are a must because people won't remember your book otherwise.

  11. Thanks for the info. I need time to sift through all these widgets. I use business cards and bookmarks myself. Never thought about leaving the bookmarks at the library. Hmm...

    Thanks for the advice!

  12. I love bookmarks! :)

    I haven't spent much time looking at widgets yet - those are some fun ones!

  13. Chocolate. :D I'd love to get chocolates printed with The Backworlds on them. I'll have to look into that...

  14. One thing I saw once a thought was cool was character cards - kind of like collectible ones. It was a fun giveaway thing.

  15. Bookmarks and pencils are a must for me at signings and giveaways. I also like brochures and business card. I've had teachers pick up my brochure at a signing. It might lead to a school visit. One never knows.

    Good info. about the widgets too.

  16. Thanks for the great ideas. I'm really bad at promoting myself.

  17. I need to make some updates on my brochures and flyers. Your bookmark looks pretty cool.

  18. Bookmarks are my favorite. They're the one item I know I'm going to use.

  19. For some reason I'd never imagined creating mugs and bookmarks and stuff for any books I may publish in future, but it's a great idea. I've created that stuff for other websites so why not my own work?? :)

  20. I use bookmarks, but not to read them but to mark my books.

  21. I have my bookmarks and I like them. They are a handy thing to sign and mail, for one, but it is also nice to have a little offering when I am standing somewhere 'would you like a bookmark?' is an easy conversation starter.

  22. Bookmarks come handy!

  23. Nancy, leave them everywhere.

    M Pax, there are companies that do that.

    Beverly, that's right!

    Trisha, why not?

    Hart, yes it is.

  24. I really need to get some promo idea together. I'm trying to get my writing schedule organized first. :) And I love those Widgets. I need some new stuff for my blog.

  25. How about t-shirts? My comic book writing friends had some made up to promote their work.

  26. There are some great ideas here. I still need to order bookmarks. I had a shipment come totally messed up from a company and haven't wanted to waste the money since. :(

  27. I'm with the bookmark crowd! They're great for promo... and useful too. Thanks for the list!

  28. Great tips! I just tweeted this.

  29. Thanks for the link. I'll go check her out.

  30. Squid, t-shirts are good. I've done t-shirts of my book covers before.

    Ciara, I recommend

    Thank you, Sherry.

  31. Thank you so much! I have been looking for something different~
    You are always sharing great info :D

  32. I had no idea Mashable had cool widgets. Thanks for the heads-up.

    My favorite promo material is still the bookmark. I collect them and use them...kind of hate not needing one when I use my Kindle. :D

  33. Hi Diane .. great list of ideas - thanks for listing them out. I'll be looking at creative thinking ideas for promotion in due course ..

    Love the thoughts here - cheers Hilary