Bookmark It!

11 Sep

It seems to me that it wasn’t so long ago that all a writer had to worry about was getting a book published. Times are a changing now and you not only have to sell that book, but you are expected to promote it as well. Sadly, the talent that gets the book written is not the talent needed to market your work.

Sure, there are clues out there to how it should be done. Join myspace, facebook, twitter, create a daily blogspot, frequent other’s blogspots, and the list goes on. We spend hours managing these sites, and we wonder if our time spent is actually useful. Ask any author where they generate the most book sales, and many will say they’re not completely sure.

Then again, how much money should an author spend to promote his/her books? Yes, you will get some author copies, but you will find you just have to give a free book to certain people. After all, you so want them to have one. It doesn’t take long to find others actually expect you to give them one. After all, you’re a rich writer now. In reality, don’t expect to quit the day job anytime soon.

I told my husband that as promotion, I needed to donate three to five books to an online site where readers have the chance to enter and win a free book. When he asked me my motive for this contribution, I had to stop and think. I decided that if I was a member of this group, I would be after free books. This is a wonderful site for readers looking for a deal on books. Sure, I could send in my books, someone may read one and want to buy all the books I have, but it is a gamble considering the percentage a writer gets paid for their books. It’s a risk whenever you donate your books, for that matter.

Promotion is still a learning game, perhaps one day soon we’ll all have it down and know just how to spend our hard gained promotion monies. One would have to wonder, though, since so much is changing in the publishing world today.

During this past summer, I had the opportunity to join author Paty Jager at a book signing. We discussed marketing techniques and she said she spends the most money on bookmarks. She uses Earthly Charms and spends somewhere around $130 on 1,000 bookmarks. From my research, it seems to be a good deal and Paty’s bookmarkers are beautiful. At Vistaprint, I found I could get a smaller amount of rack cards, adding three covers and color to the back side at 100 for $48. I even located a link where you can do it yourself:

Paty uses her bookmarks in several ways. When conferences are looking for contributions for goodie bags, she sends them bookmarks. When she’s traveling around, she leaves them in coffee shops, restaurants, hotel rooms and lobbies. Paty slips opposite ones into her books, so the person buying her book gets a bookmark for the book they didn’t purchase. As an author, every time you give a talk hand some out or make them available for people to pick up. She’s even slipped them into bills she’s paid. Finally, she hands them out to people she meets after they’ve talked about books.  

 So, I give Paty an extra thank you for helping me promote my books, in a visually appealing way, without breaking the bank.


Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Idaho, writers, writing


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20 responses to “Bookmark It!

  1. Joanna

    September 11, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Thank you. I am not yet published but researching how about promoting and I love the bookmark idea, practical tips and link.

    • Mary Vine

      September 11, 2011 at 10:08 AM

      I think it would be very good to figure the promoting side out (if you can) by the time you really need it. Thanks for commenting, Joanna!

  2. Janis

    September 11, 2011 at 7:04 AM

    The giving books away is a challenge. How many, how often, to whom. Loved the rich author crack! It’s a complex business and the actual writing is hard enough without having to think about “the rest of the story.”

    Thanks for the insight.

    • Mary Vine

      September 11, 2011 at 10:05 AM

      Yeah, I don’t know where people get this idea. Maybe in the old days writers were rich?? Doubt it though. Thanks, Janis.

  3. Liz Fredericks

    September 11, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    Thanks for the ideas, Mary. I’m not there yet, but it’s good to know what to expect.

    • Mary Vine

      September 11, 2011 at 10:09 AM

      Thanks for commenting Liz!

  4. Carley Ash

    September 11, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    This is great information. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  5. Meredith Conner

    September 11, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    I love bookmarks Mary! I actually have a collection of them, starting from grade school when a friend made one for me. I’ve always picked them up at conferences too. Now I know what to do with them when I get published – and where to go to order them. Thanks for all the info!

  6. Mary Vine

    September 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    When I get my new order in, I’ll have to give you one for your collection. And since you’ve seen so many you’ll have a good idea what you want to put on yours.Thanks for commenting, Meredith.

  7. Peggy Staggs

    September 11, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Promotion is so difficult to figure out. Thanks for the great ideas. Now all I have to do is get published.

  8. Paty Jager

    September 12, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    Hi Mary! sorry I didn’t get here earlier, we were on the road between places. Promotion is the hardest part of writing I think. It’s figuring out what works and what doesn’t and that’s hard because you don’t see your numbers until months after you’ve pushed a big promotion. I’m playing with the idea of the new trading cards thing. Haven’t jumped on it just yet, but I’m thinking about it.

    • Mary Vine

      September 12, 2011 at 9:24 AM

      Thanks, Paty! Looking forward to seeing your trading cards!

  9. Clarissa Southwick

    September 12, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Hi Mary,

    I try to leave comments on all the blogs I read, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the responses.

    I used to enter online drawings for free books all the time and I frequently won. Lately, I haven’t been entering as many because there seems to be an expectation that the winner will write a glowing review of the book. I can’t do that if I don’t like it or don’t have the time.

    So it’s interesting to know how effective it is as marketing tool. I think the giveaways on Goodreads always seem to draw lots of attention.

    Thanks for another great post. 🙂

    • Mary Vine

      September 12, 2011 at 8:11 PM

      Thanks for a few more ideas for me, Clarissa.

  10. Lynn Mapp

    September 12, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Mary, you’ve given me something to think about. Now, all I have to do is get published!

    • Mary Vine

      September 12, 2011 at 8:18 PM

      I am looking forward to that day, Lynn.

  11. Marsha R. West

    September 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    I love bookmarks. Even though I now read a number of books on my Nook, I will always buy “real” books, and I love to put that little piece of card stock between the pages. It’s the one thing I don’t like about an e-reader. It’s hard to tell how far I am to the end of the chapter or the end of the book. (Perhaps there’s a way, and I’m just too much of a novice to have figured it out.)

    Having said that, I’ve heard of conferences where they really don’t want bookmarks, but something seen as more useful. Was it RWA in New York this summer that didn’t want them? I didn’t make that trip.

    Thanks for the tip on where to get bookmarks made. I’m not published either, but I believe in being positive. With the changes coming in publishing, I guess we’ll all make it one way or the other.

    Love y’alls blog.

    • Mary Vine

      September 14, 2011 at 3:15 PM

      Thanks, Marsha, for commenting on my blog. Hadn’t heard about some conferences not wanting the bookmarks. I have three books published but hadn’t done the bookmark thing yet. Now, they’re in the mail.


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