7 Worth-it Costs for an Author (Part 2)

In Part 1, we looked at the steps taken to choose and employ an editor and a cover designer.

In Part 2, let’s take a look at the third ‘worth it’ cost. This relates to the promotional material you’ll need to help get the word out about your new book. I’ve included a “requirement level” to help you decide where your money is best spent. Do remember that you can spread these costs over a few months if cash is tight – you don’t have to take on everything at once.

Business cards

Requirement level: essential

You’ll need these for everyday use. Always carry some with you wherever you go. Writers conferences, bookstores, at work, at book signings – everywhere.

Give some to your family and friends to hand out at work, if they don’t mind.

Make sure your business cards reflect your author brand. Mine currently have my contact details on the front and my book covers splashed across the reverse with a line from the San Francisco Book Review comments for Under Fire. I’ve nearly run out of this current batch, and before I have the next lot printed, I’m going to add the line “Travel into the heart of suspense” added across the top of the book covers, to match my website home page.

The Photographer – Kurt Bauschardt

Author photograph

Requirement level: essential

You’ll need a good photograph to use as part of your author branding. This is the photograph you’ll use across social media, your website, and send to any interviewers. If you can’t afford a professional photographer, ask a friend to take a photo of you.

Wear something you’re comfortable in (I’m usually in jeans!), try to find a plain background to stand against, and plan to take at least 20-30 shots.

Experiment with different poses – facing straight towards the camera doesn’t always work, unless you’re intentionally aiming for the police mugshot effect – and have fun!
Bookmark – Quinn Dombrowski

Bookmarks

Requirement level: added bonus

I’ve only started using these this year, so I’m still gauging the effectiveness of them.

However, bookstores are always happy to display them on the counter leading up to a book signing as they’re less cumbersome than postcards (see below), and you can hand them out with your books on signing days – mine are based on my business cards, with all three book covers displayed and additional review quotes.

If a customer finishes reading the book they’ve bought and enjoy it, they’ve got a constant reminder of my other books – even if they’re reading something else because, chances are, they won’t throw the bookmark away afterwards.

We’ve got bookmarks saved from book purchases made five years ago, and we don’t throw them away until they fall apart.

A5 flyers

Requirement level: useful for specific events

You don’t have to be very tech-savvy to design your own promotional flyers for events if postcards (below) don’t fit into your budget. All you need is an author photo, cover image(s) and details of the event and you’re done.

Don’t forget to add your website and social media details – people might not be able to make it to the event, but they might still be interested about your books (or they may prefer eBooks and want to buy one of those!).

Postcards

Requirement level: nice to have

Postcards are a bonus, depending on your budget. Bookshops or cafes are usually happy to display these, depending on available space. They’re also great for work canteens and office break-out areas (if your boss doesn’t mind).

I tend to use these only when leading up to a book launch these days as they’re a bit expensive to do all the time, especially when compared to the relatively small expense of using A5 flyers.

I hope this article and Part 1 has given you some good idea for your book marketing.

If you’ve used any other techniques to get your word out about your book, why not share these in the comments below?

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