Sunday, January 11, 2009

Marketing #2: Bookmarks

Second only to your website, a good book mark is the single most important marketing tool at your disposal. Why are they so important? -- One word ROI (Return on Investment). These little gems cost you next to NOTHING and if you used properly can be tremendously successful. The reason the ROI is so good on a bookmark is they are so inexpensive.

First off if you are published through a vanity (iUniverse, Lulu, etc) there are usually "packages" that offer you bookmarks NEVER buy one of these. They usually offer something like 100 bookmarks, 100 postcards, 100 business cards for $149 or so. That is a ridiculous price to pay. I've used two sources for bookmarks in the past: GotPrint and one who I forget but will post later when I remember. Here are current (as of 1/11/2009) pricing for bookmarks from them:

  • 1,000 - $ 38.55 (3.9 cents a piece)
  • 2,500 - $ 76.99 (3.1 cents a piece)
  • 5,000 - $126.55 (2.5 cents a piece)
  • 10,000 - $249.55 (2.5 cents a piece)
  • 15,000 - $398.00 (2.6 cents a piece)

The prices above are for 4/1 that means 4 color front and 1 color (black) on the back. There are other options 4/4, 4/0 but I HIGHLY recommend the 4/1 format - which we will discuss in a moment. I also recommend you do 5,000. Now I know what you are about to say... "Robin, "I'll never get rid of 5,000 bookmarks - well I first ordered 2,500 (thinking that would be way to much and ran out in 2 months. So when I reordered I did 5,000. As you can see the price per does not change above 5,000 so start off there so you don't have extra.

To the right is the bookmark for my husband's book The Crown Conspiracy. Notice it is a "full add". If someone has it...they essentially know all they need to in order to buy the book. It's title, a bit about it, where to find it, etc.

Having the "blurb" of the book on the back is essential. My husband's publisher gave us 700 free bookmarks with their logo on the front and covers of 4 of their books (2 of my husband's 2 of other people's on the back). If someone walks away with this they may use it but they don't have enough information to make a "buying decision". The "blurb" is why I suggested 4/1.

The front should be as pretty as you can make it and preferably about your book. Here is the cover of the book -- notice how the bookmark compliments the book. Part or all of your cover is great to use, but it could be anything that is pleasing to the eye such that someone would use it. Try to make it "gender" neutral most men don't want a bookmark with flowers on it.

Other things that should be on the front:

  • Book Title
  • Author's Name
  • ISBN (I forgot that on mine - doh)
  • Hook (few words to grab the reader)
  • Any Awards about the book
  • Website (there is a reason mine is on the back - see below)

The back is also essential and here is why I wanted 4/1 instead of 4/0. It should contain:

  • Your "blurb". (introduction about your book that is on your back cover).
  • Anything you were not able to get on the front (see list above)
  • Any promotional price - like 20% off or free shipping
  • Website to buy direct (if you don't have a way for them to buy direct - you need to - we'll have a future post on this subject)
The reason my URL is on the back of the bookmark - is Michael has a long URL that requires it to be put in a small font. Since the front of the bookmark is all colored it would need to be in "reverse type" (white on dark background) and with such small print the white might "close" up and be unreadable. To "play it safe" we put it in black on the back which is all white.

I've passed out thousands of bookmarks - when offered one an incredibly small percentage of people don't accept them gratefully. I've never had a "negative" reaction. Sometimes I get a polite "No thank you" but the vast amount of time people are excited to get a free book mark and thank me ... with enthusiasm. I'll have other posts on success stories of using them but here are a few ideas:

  • Writer's groups
  • Book clubs
  • Book store signings
  • Book fairs
  • Book conventions
  • Leave some at used book stores
  • Leave some at libraries
  • Leave them in library books
  • Leave them in books in bookstore similar to yours
  • Pass them out at parties
  • Pass them out to commuters reading books
  • Pass them out in front of bookstores
Essentially you should NEVER be without them that way if your book comes up in polite conversation you have something to give them that will give them an easy way to find your book (i.e name, url etc) in the future.


FlagshipOne said...

personally, I am still using the bookmark that Robin gave me and at least once a week I sit and wonder when Michael's next book will be available.

Robin Sullivan said...

Glad you like the bookmark to keep using it. Book 2 is 107 days away. There is a count down at the top of this blog.

Kappa no He said...

Thersa from Goodreads here. I keep coming back to your blog on bookmarks for reference. I just wanted to thank you again for the great information.


Robin Sullivan said...

Glad you find it helpful.