Hooboy. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post, and there’s a very good reason for that: my book is coming out in just under a month.
But this post is not to perpetuate debut author’s fear of book marketing or the many, many things a debut author must do before a book launch. Nay, it is to inform, suggest, and maybe offer a little bit of help during this phase of publishing. Notice how I said little bit. This is my first book being published so I am by no means an expert, in fact, I visited a lot of other author blogs to help me navigate these uncharted waters. (Later, I will share a few with you.)
Before I get into the actual marketing of a book, let’s talk prep. Specifically, gathering all the materials you need to get started. Some of these may sound self-explanatory, but I promise you, it’s the little things you forget that will later bite you in the @$$ if you’re not thinking about them earlier on.
Here is a quick checklist of all the items that I put together to help future authors gather their promo materials in preparation for the book marketing phase.
Book Marketing Graphics
First and foremost, we are writers, and yet…we rely heavily on our book covers and our graphics. Why? Because the world is visual, especially in the world of social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. So, just like a business, all our graphics and promo materials need to have a similar look…like we say in advertising, a brand, if you will.
1. Book Cover Working Files
Don’t be scared to request your book cover files. I’m not talking just a high-res version of your book cover (though definitely need that to), I’m talking about the photoshop file that the graphic designer created for the cover. This also includes font files (which you may have to purchase/download separately) and images used in the cover itself. Unless your publisher does this for you, you WILL need these to create graphics down the road. So request them as soon as possible!
2. Graphic Designer
Get one. No, seriously. Unless you know how to use Photoshop medium-professionally, you need someone who can help you with carrying your brand across all different promo materials, knows the ins and outs of design, and can help with printing. There are a few print vendors out there that will allow you to use DIY online apps but they never look as good. Consider investing in a professional. They are worth their weight in gold.
3. Content for Materials
Once you have your graphic designer and all your files, now comes the fun part! You get to read through your book again! Yay! (I’m kidding…Sorta.) Basically, at this point you need content for your materials that you’ll need to design and share online. The best place for content is the book you promote, and the words you already wrote. Try gathering these types of content to add on your materials:
- Standard info: name, website, book title, social media handles, email
- Book review quotes with reviewer’s name and book
- Pull-out quotes from the book itself
- Tagline (example: “What if a kiss could turn the tide of war?”)
4. Types of Materials
Now, take that content and do some research on prices and what kinds of materials you’d like to use at book festivals or signings. Think about your audience and where they’ll be. What’s useful to them? What’s commonly used and easy to print? And don’t forget online. You’ll need social media graphics for cover photos and posts.
Here are a few I had designed:
- Business Cards
- Tabletop signs (one for my book cover and another for my reviews and book price)
- Teaser Graphics (to share on social media – #TeaserTuesday for example)
- Social Media cover photos (for Facebook and Instagram)
5. Cutesy Promo Item(s)
To help your book standout, to make it more memorable, try finding an item that goes along with your book’s theme. For instance, my book is about magical kisses, so I decided to order CHAPSTICK! It’s a little cheesey and gimmicky, but still somewhat unique and memorable and easy to connect to the theme of my book. I’ve even seen one where a book was Egyptian-themed so they gave out specialized bath bombs!
6. Print Vendor(s)
My recommendation for printing? Keep it simple. No need to reinvent the wheel or make your printing complicated. There are plenty online print vendors out there that do things like bookmarks, business cards, postcards, tabletop signs, posters, stickers, etc. for a reasonable price with really decent quality. Don’t forget, these promo materials are important but you also have to be willing to accept that most of these will end up in the recycling bin. (Oh! And don’t forget to keep track of all your printing receipts!)
Here are a few print vendors I used:
- Moo (business cards, stickers, postcards)
- Vistaprint (tabletop signs, bookmarks)
- Branders (chapstick)
That’s all for promo materials. Anyone have any suggestions that I might’ve missed? Let me know!
Next, I’ll discuss certain authorly logistics you need to be prepping for!