Originally published at my old Pepper Press blog.
Today I just wanted to talk a little about marketing materials. Marketing materials to me are things that you can give out for free to people who are a fan of your work and they want to flaunt it. I would rather give away these marketing materials in a giveaway than my actual book. Why? Three reasons: 1. Cost 2. Free Advertising 3. Sales.
Lets talk first about cost. Let’s just say a print copy of you book costs you $10. Every time you give away your book, it costs you $10 plus shipping. (Two ways if you count the shipping cost to get the book to you in the first place.)
Now, marketing or promotional materials such as tote bags, bookmarks, t-shirts and more can cost much less than a book if you are careful and pick the right websites. I just ordered 4 decks of custom cards from http://www.printerstudio.com/. They were cheaper than my book at $8 per set and I got free shipping.
This brings us to our next reason to use promotional materials: Free Advertising. You might think it’s silly, but giving people stuff with your book cover on it is FREE ADVERTISING. They will walk around with that t-shirt or tote bag and do advertising work for you. Okay, maybe it’s not completely free since you have to pay for the item, but it’s still pretty dang cheap.
The playing cards I ordered? I figure that whoever gets these will someday play a game of poker with them and their friends will notice that they don’t look like normal cards. After a night of playing, they’ll be seeing the images on the cards for weeks. This kind of stuff gets your book image into their head, which may translate to sales.
Sales. Our final reason for giving away promotional items instead of your actual book. Who is going to buy your book if they already have it or know that they can just enter a giveaway to get it? No one. That’s why promotional materials are the best way to go, because not only do they make readers happy, but they are the gift that keeps on giving. After you send off your promotional materials to those lucky winners, most of them will be so happy when they get them that they’ll post a picture on facebook or tell their friends about it.