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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, June 09, 2008


My absolute favorite promotional item is the bookmark. I order a huge supply for each book. A bunch are sent out to booksellers, librarians, and readers groups, and a bunch more I give away at booksignings or send to conferences. When sending out promotional books or contest prizes, I always include a bookmark.

I use bookmarks instead calling cards, always carrying them in my purse. Last week I ran into an old friend at the grocery store and I gave her my bookmark! I've given bookmarks to the clerk in the Post Office, a lady in a pen store, a woman in a Super Shuttle. When I visit bookstores they are always willing to take my bookmarks.

Here are some reasons I like bookmarks as a promotional tool:

Readers like them. Unlike postcards, coverflats, or some other promotional items, readers actually are likely to use them.
Bookmarks are relatively inexpensive and you get LOTS of them. The last site I ordered from gave me 2,500 bookmarks for about $150.
Bookmarks are light and therefore not expensive to send in the mail. They are easy to carry in your purse.
Bookmarks provide information about you and your books. At booksignings I hand them out to passersby and lots of times people read the bookmark then buy the book!
Many bookstores actually like to give away bookmarks to their customers.

What do you need on a bookmark?
The bookcover!
A short blurb about the book
A short short review quote
The release date, publisher, and ISBN
Your website address

Nice to haves?
Information about your backlist
Cover of your previous book(s)
More review quotes

You can design your own bookmark with Photoshop-type software or pay extra to have the bookmark designed for you. Or your publisher might agree to design the bookmark for you. The online printing sites give you the dimensions they require.

A nice site for both design and printing is Earthly Charms.
I've also used and Next I'm going to try Print Runner

What if you have a great promotional opportunity but you don't have a book to promote? You can still use a bookmark.

Before my first book came out I used a bookmark to announce the book's release. I didn't even have a cover for the book, so I used a print of a Regency lady reading a book. Last summer I didn't have a book to promote, but I did have a brand new website. I had a bookmark designed to promote my new website. It also had thumbnails of my whole booklist.

What do you think of bookmarks as a promotional tool? Do you have any printing sites you recommend? Any designers? Any designing software to recommend? Do you use authors' bookmarks?

Come visit my website for a Sneak Peek at Scandalizing the Ton, my October 2008 release. Hurry! This peek will disappear soon. Enter my contest, too, for a chance to win one of my books.

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At 5:41 AM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

Your bookmarks are beautiful!

I use author bookmarks all the time; and they look pretty on a desk in a glass jar. They are my favorite give away, too, besides those awesome ARCs.

At 6:09 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

I think bookmarks give you a lot of bang for your buck. I've had great results from Printing for Less--their customer service was above and beyond.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Janet Mullany said...

Some houses will design your bookmarks for you but make sure you send the printer specs to them!

I'd recommend or but I'd really argue against getting humungous quantities--you may want to redesign, particularly the back of the card where you might want to update your review quotes or preview the next book.

The very cheapest way I've found is to work up a design on a standard postcard and wait until they have a free logo upload offer for your cover (ask your publisher for a print-quality jpg). Vistaprint has an awesome free library of additional images. You design the bookmarks two per card and cut with a paper cutter.

For one of my books (Rules of Gentility) I don't use bookmarks any more--I have postcards with the Top Ten Things Her/Heroine wouldn't say in a Regency Romance on one side, cover on the other.

At 8:13 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

gillian, I also love the emery board giveaways, but I've never bought a book because of them.

Terry, I liked Printing For Less, too. I used Earthly Charms because of her designs and Onlineprinthouse because of the low price.

Janet, Your Vistaprint idea is a great one, perfect when you want to get a bookmark out there even though you know you will want a redesign soon. I'm going to look up those other print places, too.

I find I use almost all of my 2000 or 25000 bookmarks, but that's just me, because I really love to use them.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger meljean brook said...

I used Print Runner last time, and was very pleased with them (I design my own, though, so I couldn't vouch for their designing capabilities.)

The first time, I made the mistake of getting glossy coating and although it was pretty, it picked up fingerprints like crazy.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

When I went to Barnes & Noble and asked if they wanted to give away my bookmarks, they snapped them up and said it seemed like authors hardly ever did that anymore. I couldn't believe it.

Bookmarks make me want to get a new book to put them in. :D

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Meljean: I used Printrunner, too, but I love my glossy coating. I have very little black on the bookmark, though, so never notice fingerprints. Maybe that's the difference.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Strlady said...

As a reader I think Bookmarks are the best promotional tool a writer can used (other than ARCs but that is on a different level).

I really have no idea what to do with some promotional items I've received (magnets, postcards, cover reproductions, etc) but bookmarks are always a welcome gift and as someone else said, when you get a bookmark you need to make sure you get a book to use it with!

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Great bookmarks, Diane! I especially love the one with the thumbnails of all your covers.

I use bookmarks, too. Mine were designed by the guy who did my website and I have them printed at a local print shop, color on both sides, heavy stock, coated. Like Esri, I’ve never noticed fingerprints.

I’ve collected numerous bookmarks, and my favs are from authors who don’t try to cram too much information on them. Those with eight review quotes in six-point font are obviously targeting someone with better eyesight than I have :)

I also think it’s nice to incorporate a little space so bookmarks can be autographed. A fine-point permanent marker works on the coating, and I use a color that coordinates with my book cover. Kinda silly, but fun!

At 1:44 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I designed my "Perkins" bookmarks and had great fun doing it, but then I lost the software that I did it with with a new laptop and never put on a new version. I'd like to design them again. I think it is fun. I have a brand new laptop, a PINK Vaio that I'm in raptures over, so I should be able to do this again.

I'll think twice about the glossy coating, Meljean. I'm hoping to get my October cover in time for making Bookmarks for RWA!

At 3:20 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Diane, your website and your bookmarks are FABULOUS!!! Wow! I think the bookmarks definitely look like the way to go. I love all the pictures of you on your website. What a great smile!

And 2500 bookmarks for $150 sounds like a pretty good deal. Thanks for the great tip!!!

At 3:56 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Gee, thanks, Theresa. I am very happy with my website, I must admit!

And I think advertising it with a bookmark was a great way to get the word out about it.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Jill Monroe said...

Those are some of the best looking bookmarks I've seen around.

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Why thank you, Jill!

At 9:09 PM, Blogger louisa said...

Gorgeous bookmarks, O Divine One, of which I have NONE!! I will be stalking you for bookmarks at Nationals!

I am a big fan of bookmarks and like my buddy, Gillian I keep them in a glass vase on my desk. That way I can snatch one on my way out the door and tuck it into the obligatory book in my bag. Some people never leave home without American Express. I never leave without a book to read!

Some of the lovelier bookmarks I have turned into collages to hang around my writing studio as inspiration.

Great tips on places to have them printed. Making notes of these for sure.

At 12:29 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I do love my bookmarks!

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Love the bookmarks, Diane. I've always loved all your covers. The slightly muted, softer covers blend well and make an emotional impact. But the bookmarks are superb in the way they are laid out. They accent the cover yet also draw attention to the information.



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