What is author marketing collateral? What’s the least you’ll need? Having an advance plan will let you make the most of your budget, no matter how limited.
Typically your author marketing collateral includes all that “physical stuff” you schlep from event to event that doesn’t include your book. It’s important to develop a list and budget for the items you’ll want and need to best market your work.
Your author collateral can be divided into three areas:
- The permanent/semi-permanent marketing pieces you’ll carry to each event and back home with you. This includes any hanging banners, pop up banners or signage, table cloths, counter cards, and/or posters or any other kind of display items. If you plan to do live events, you’ll want a nice display that will move easily with you from event to event.
- The marketing/promotional items you’ll give to your attendees at a conference or guests at a book signing. These include your business cards, bookmarks, and/or postcards. This also includes any special giveaways, such as pens or pencils with your branding, mugs, t-shirts, etc. You can get really creative with these items. The authors of Drink Wine and Giggle gave away custom branded bottles of wine, a big hit!Keep in mind your author collateral doesn’t have to cost much, or anything at all. Your own content has value. You might offer sample chapters or other downloadable content right at your author website.
- Items you may sell or use to incentivize book sales. These can include t-shirts (that can be giveaways at a launch party for example, and on sale later at your website or future signings). Other giveaways/sales collateral we’ve seen: mugs, cups, pens, pencils, koozies, stress balls, thumb drives. The sky’s the limit but of course you want to find something attention-getting but economical.Author Heidi Durrow arranged to have book plates (shown at left) produced. If someone bought her book but wasn’t available to attend one of her signings, she’d send them a free autographed book plate they could paste inside their copy. Clever and profitable; all it cost her was the cost of printing the book plate stickers, an envelope and a stamp – but was an elegant touch for readers.
Or, as we covered in an earlier article, author drop cards with a giveaway code of a sample of your book, excerpt, or other free downloadable content can be a nice incentive for potential readers to get to know more of you and your work!
How Much to Budget for Author Collateral?
Are all these items necessary? Obviously it will depend on how many “live” events you’re planning; the size of your launch party, if you’ll be participating in conferences and book festivals, etc.
Begin a wish list of the events you’ll want in the twelve months following your launch day, and put an estimated number of attendees next to each, i.e. 50 at your launch party, 100 contacts at a book festival, how many readers you might expect at how many book signings.
Whatever items you decide on, you’ll want to keep the look and branding consistent with the look of your book’s cover. Obviously the only limit to what you can produce and give away to potential readers will be your own budget. And you don’t need to go overboard! We’ve seen plenty of authors do just fine with business cards and book marks. Others forego the bookmarks and do postcards instead for a more unique look and feel.
What’s most important is that you take the time to plan and budget for your author collateral in advance so you won’t be caught unaware. Included below are resources our clients have successfully used, and they offer the items you may need at the lowest prices.
Author Marketing Collateral Resources
Vistaprint – Our go-to source for business cards, postcards and easy banners.
UPrinting – Has great pricing on bookmarks and easy to upload and proof the art. Also a great resource for retractable banners.
BookLogix – This self publisher has a whole suite of promotional products, including posters, biz cards, bookmarks, flyers and more (and their quality is uncompromising).
Evermine – Book plates, full customization available. They also do invites if your book launch party needs a fancy touch!
American Promotional Products – Embroidered clothing items, and any branded promotional products (pens, bags, mugs, etc.) Hint: Call 843-442-9078 and ask for Jeff!
Zerflin Design Agency – The folks behind Heidi Durrow’s brilliant rollout of postcards, bookmarks, book plates, biz cards and even a t-shirt!