For me, the marketing side of being an author had come the hardest. I am not a salesperson, unless you count the tons of eBaying I used to do, and the odd car boot sale (for my US buddies unfamiliar with the term that's like a garage sale, but we do it out in a field usually, hundreds of us all flogging junk from the boots of our cars). Learning that I not only have to promote my book(s) but myself as well came as a bit of a shock.
It also seems like pretty much any kind of marketing and promotional items have been done to death. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the promotional items I've seen. I'll happily collect bookmarks if they're pretty. Postcards too. Fridge magnets tend to fall victim to my youngest child, often vanishing under the fridge until years later when we buy a new one. Sadly if they're of the paper/card variety they don't survive the interim. Bags and T-Shirts seem a step too far - certainly too expensive for my budget! If I'm going to pay out hard cash, I'd rather spend it on some decent advertising.
I've been blessed with a stunning cover, so creating a bookmark was an automatic must (but I asked my publisher's permission first!). I have a cunning plan you see...but I'm not giving that one away, mwah-ha-haaaaaa! Er, sorry... I've had a printing company recommended to me - sadly in the US (I'm in the UK) and their shipping costs to me were downright heinous! $83! Luckily I have a good friend there who will ship them to me if I send them direct to her for about a tenth of that. Another fabulous author told me that he prints his own and laminates them an A4 sheet at a time (after autographing them), and then cuts them up. I'm going to give that a try too. Well, as soon as I've bought myself some card and a laminator. :)
An idea I came up with when the SFR Brigade were looking for promotional ideas/swag was for an sfr charm bracelet, so I did a little research and even made one of my own. I'll be making one, or maybe more than one, specific to Keir at some point.
The other thing I wanted was a business card. I could just hand out bookmarks (since they'll have my blogsite address on them anyway) but I wanted something that related more to me than just my book. I mean, hopefully at some point I'll have more than just the one book to my name. I do have a short story I published myself although I probably haven't done as much as I could to promote that. Right now, everything is centering pretty much on Keir alone.
I'm not entirely sure about it yet. Just putting 'author' doesn't seem quite right, although the 'weaver of words' may be a little OTT. I need to play with it some more. I did think of using the banner from the blog, but since that's a free image I'm not sure I'm allowed. Also that bright glow in the middle makes it hard to place text that will show up. Something with a general sci-fi theme is enough for me I think.
So how are you finding the promotional side of being an author? Did you have a marketing plan set up beforehand? Did you have any idea it was coming? If you have any tips you'd like to share, please do so! :)
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