Thursday, November 17, 2011

Promo Puzzler

Publishing is a very different animal than it was just ten years ago. With digital sales taking off and more writers taking the self-pub plunge and publishers' promo dollars shrinking, discovering the most effective bang for your promotion buck is more important than ever.

Bookmarks, magnets, posters, pens, post cards, buttons, book trailers. Authors try everything to attract readers to their latest book offerings. And the million dollar question is always, "What works best?"

Two of my friends recently celebrated the launch of their first book, DESPERATE HOUSEDOGS, the first in the new Pampered Pets mystery series by Sparkle Abbey. At several recent book events, the debut authors really impressed me with the thought they put into their promo items and giveaways.

Between their publisher-created book trailer, large colorful poster, bookmarks, postcards, dog treats and human treats (chocolate in the shape of a bone), these authors obviously put a lot of thought into their promo and presentation.

Certainly, some books and series lend themselves better to clever and unique promotional items, and authors and publishers continually try to evaluate which ideas provide the best return on their investment.

Questions of the day:

Authors: What promotional items have you found give you the best result for your promotional dollars?

Readers: What promotional items do you most like to receive from authors?

With more of the responsibility for promotion falling to authors, it's crucial we figure out what works best and focus on those opportunities so we can spend more time writing the books our readers are waiting for.

I won't be blogging on Thanksgiving so I want to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. And if you venture out on Black Friday, be careful out there!

~Bullet Hole~


krisgils33 said...

I'm not a keeper or collector of things, so most of that promo is lost on me. But I have some book buddies who go crazy over the bookmarks and trading cards. *shrug* so, I guess it depends on the person. Love the display in the photo for the's adorable and well thought out!

Rebekah E. said...

I love pens and note pads. Something that I can use later. I'm not much a collector so I like things that won't be a clutter and is useable.

Robin Kaye said...

The best promo item I ever got was this cool Band-Aid holder. I keep it in my purse and have had it for 3 or 4 years--but then I couldn't tell you the author it was promoting. Coasters work well for me too--again, something I can use but I don't think they actually sell books.

Refhater said...

Pens are my favorite. Pens are a hot commodity in the hospital I work at, so I love getting a pen or two. Someone usually permanatly "borrows" mine at least once a day and its nice to have a fresh one to replace the missing one.

Kathy Bacus said...

I know Gemma has had good luck with the trading cards, but like you, kris, I'm not much for hanging onto things.

The pampered pets concept lends itself to a lot of cute promos so that's a plus for sure.

Thanks for weighing in!

Kathy Bacus said...

Definitely pens and note pads are some of my fave things to get, too, Rebekah. And seriously. Who wants to throw out a perfectly good writing utensil and paper!

Kathy Bacus said...

Wow, I've never thought about coasters really, but I can see how they would a nice promo giveaway, Robin. Again, useful seems to be the best route to go.

Do they generate sales? Probably not. But at least they generate name recognition.

Kathy Bacus said...

And the more folks those pens get handed off to, Refhater, the more people see the author's name and/or published work! Win/win!

Tomi C said...

Pens are one of the best promo items however I've seen cookbooks featuring recipes in a book, magnets, bookmarks, clothing like tees, aprons and other clothing items. I love then all.