We all procrastinate. Even I do at times, though my personality trait is more geared toward being a planner. A few months ago I was asked to attend a literacy extravaganza at a local Middle School on Long Island. I was so honored to have been asked to attend this great event to speak with the students, as well as have the opportunity to promote and sell my book. So the event had been on my calendar for a while, but life got in the way and I ended up forgetting about it until it popped up on my calendar this past weekend. So here I am, one day away from the event and stressing out. Do I have enough books? What am I going to wear? Do I have enough promotional materials for this event? The latter, to my dismay, was going to be a problem.
I checked my stash of promotional materials and found that my stockpile had diminished quite a bit from previous events. My friend, who had worked for a company that provided a discount for printing promotional materials, was no longer at that company. Even if she was still there, she would not have been able to get the materials printed out within this short time frame. So my advice is Do Not Procrastinate! But for those of you who, like me, are down to the wire…don’t worry. I figured out a way to do this quickly and efficiently, and not spend a fortune on promotional materials.
So after a momentary freak out, here is what I did:
- Type of Promotional Materials– What would Middle School kids take away with them? I couldn’t spend any money on little chachkies and cool toys with my book’s logo on it. However, I figured that since the event is being held in a library, why not make bookmarks! That is a cool takeaway that students can take with them, complete with book synopsis, reviews and additional key information.
- Research- I researched other author’s bookmarks to see how they designed them and what they included on the front and back of the bookmark. The ones I found had one side dedicated to the book and the back was dedicated to the author. I saved a few that I liked to reference later on.
- You’re Computer Savvy and Don’t Even Realize It– Now, I am not a web designer or would even call myself computer savvy, or anything like that. But I was surprised at how simple it was for this next step. So don’t be afraid to play around with designing your own arwork for your materials, especially when you find a template laid out for you to experiement with. For designing a bookmark, many people recommend using Microsoft Publisher. That program has templates not only for bookmarks but for posters, postcards and other materials that you may want to create. However, for my bookmark I didn’t like any of the templates I found so instead I created my own design. Here is what I followed when designing my own bookmark template: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/publisher-help/can-i-create-a-bookmark-in-publisher-HA001233648.aspx
- Design and Have Fun- This part of the process is where you can let your creativity run wild, and have some fun! I referred back to the bookmarks that I had saved during the research stage. What did I like about these bookmarks? I liked that they included a reviewer’s quote, that there was a synoposis of the story and that there was information on where to buy the book. And then I borrowed these ideas for my own bookmark. I had fun playing around with the colors, moving pictures around and playing with different page parts to find ones that worked well. I did a front and back for my bookmark so that I can include more information and not try to squeeze too much into a small space. I recommend including a professional author picture as well as the front cover of your novel. Don’t be too wordy and add pictures where possible to make the materials more visually appealing. You want someone to take the bookmark from your table, read it, keep it and use it. An added plus will be that the person will buy your book and follow you on social media or go to your website. So be sure to include a link to your website and where they can follow you on social media. I have also seen some authors include a QR code on the bookmark to link directly to their author site or purchasing site, so that is another great idea.
- Just Print- I bought some Card Stock paper at Staples so that the quality of the bookmark was on par with other bookmarks out on the market. It came to less than $20 and it contained 250 sheets in the package, which will come in handy when printing out additional promotional materials in the near future. Then once you load the card stock into the printer, just hit print. Be sure to print Front and Back so that the two sides print on the same sheet of paper. Then cut your bookmarks out and you have your very own bonefide bookmark!
So I can’t wait to share my custom-made bookmarks with the students at the school tomorrow. Hopefully these bookmarks will prove to be great markers for my book and other books that the students will read in the years to come! Let’s promote literacy together!