At the Three Wicked Writers chat loop yesterday, a lot of us were talking about promotional items and things we liked to pick up on the cheap for mailers and what have you. It was a pretty interesting conversation. I guess with convention season fast approaching, we're all looking for ideas to spice up our booksigning tables. I believe lots of newbies go crazy with that stuff. That's okay...really. Nothing wrong with letting your excitement swing over into all the little goodies places like Vistaprint has to offer. It's cheap. It's fun. So why not? The thing is...don't break the bank.
Since I veer into the thrifty and practical realm, I took things slow. One of the dumbest things I did was order business cards that featured the title of my first book. Ridiculous. Not a smart thing despite the fact the cards were cheap. Now this first book is no longer with the same publisher and the cards were tossed in the trash. Live and learn. Now my biz cards are generic. They have my name and website. That's it. When my backlist started to expand, I ventured a little further. After the business card stupidity, I knew I wanted to get more mileage from things. I often order oversized postcards featuring my latest cover. On the back I list other titles, website, and contact information. Advertising one single title on a postcard seems a waste of money to me. And we all know that paper goods eventually end up in the trash.
Lots of writers dream of blowing up their bookcovers to decorate their office walls. When I had my first booksigning, I uploaded my cover to a cd, took it to Kinkos and for forty bucks they blew it up on put it on a heavy duty foam board. This was a great idea because I used it during my signing by propping it on an easel. The foam board has a hanger on the back so later you can put it on a wall if you want and no framing is required.
I tend to do things in stages. Now, I work with promotion companies to promote my releases. That's a step I've recently made because promotion is time consuming and I found it stole hours of my day that I could've better spent writing and soon I'll be looking at other forms of advertising. Ads on review sites are often a good option and fairly cost effective, I think. A number of magazines offer ad space but you really need to consider the cost here. In my view, if a magazine reaches a very limited number of subscribers and their rates are astromonical, you'll have to sell a ton of books for it to pay for itself. This can be a losing proposition. I like to make a profit. Don't you?
I think one of the worst mistakes a newbie writer can make is to go ape shit with this stuff right out of the box. I've seen writers spend hundreds for promo junk for one book when they haven't even received their first check yet. This is a quick way straight into the red. Guess what I'm saying is weigh your options, make smart choices. There are cost effective ways to get your name out there. So do a little research and find what works best for you.
In other news I got a couple of five angel reviews from Sonya at Fallen Angel Reviews. YAY. I'm so thrilled with the responses I've gotten for the books in the High Plains Shifters series (Ellora's Cave) so yeah...more are coming! If you'd like to check them out, I'm posting the link. Ringo's Ride Edge of Nowhere