Monday, September 15, 2014

It Takes A Village To Publish A Picture Book, Part Three

When a book is newly released, the first thing an author might think of is to print up a bunch of bookmarks as a way to advertise their book. If I took a poll, bookmarks would probably be on every new author's list of how to get the word out. 

But that's not the only way.

There are sooo many choices when it comes to marketing ideas that it can become overwhelming for a newer author to decide what will work and what won't. Not only do you have to decide WHAT you want to put your book information on...i.e. swag items...but also WHERE do you want to promote those items.  This week I will be looking at some swag items and other promotional ideas I will consider as I get closer to my release date for my picture book, THE STORY CATCHER. Some of these things my publisher, Anaiah Press, has already told me they would be providing like bookmarks, key chains, book covers, etc. but I'm still listing them because it will be helpful as general knowledge for self-published authors as well as those who might not have access to a marketing or publicity department through their own publisher.

Printing Companies


These are just some of the online companies offering ways to advertise my book. Some are quite cheap and others more expensive than my little budget will allow so I will get creative with my promotional ideas. Yes, I'm sure I will get my stack of bookmarks to advertise THE STORY CATCHER but here are some other ideas I might consider too. I will also keep in mind that butterflies and bubbles are central to the story line as well.

Promotional Ideas

Ink pens
Car Door Magnets
Foam Butterfly Stickers
Adhesive Labels
Silicone Bracelets
Business Card Magnets
Regular Business Cards
Full Color Badge Ribbons
Display Table Runners
Handle Bags
Butterfly Necklaces
Small Plush Butterflies
Small Bottles of Bubbles
Butterfly Shaped Foldable Fans
Water Bottle Labels
Mini Flying Discs
Hi-Density Pulpboard Coasters
Corrugated Plastic Yard Sign
Indoor/Outdoor Banner
Emery Boards
Wooden Nickels
Temporary Tattoos
Bumper Stickers
Hand Fans

As you can see the options are nearly endless when it comes to advertising my book. Will I be able to afford 500 tshirts with  THE STORY CATCHER printed brightly on each one? Probably not. But it's my job as the author to lead the charge to promote my book and the future readers of my story probably don't care that my budget is tiny. I'll check what other authors are doing and make sure I give my book the best chance to succeed!

What have YOU used to advertise your books? What worked? What didn't? Let me know in the comments below...


  1. You can go a little wild with promo items, right? For BACKHOE JOE, I order a bunch of foam "stress balls" shaped like rocks, because my MC collects rocks. So far, they have been more popular with kids and adults than the bookmarks and stickers I've had printed (but, of course, they cost more, too). Hope you find just the right swag for THE STORY CATCHER! :)

    1. Hi Lori! I'm trying to stay with a theme for this book which has butterflies and bubbles in it...easy enough to do if my budget can afford it. I've gotten two door magnets, two yard signs, and business cards through Vista Print. I'm waiting to decide what swag items I will pick up after I chat with a few more people.

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

  2. Very helpful list, Donna. And congrats on being a soon-published author!

    1. Hi Jarm! I hope this series help pre-published authors as I sort through all this marketing/publicity stuff...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

  3. The problem is that these promotional items are so expensive, they will quickly eat away any royalties you might earn on the books you sell because of them.

    That being said, my publisher was able to afford some things for me, like MONSTORE gummy worms, which proved to be popular. Did they help sell the book? There's no proof they did or they didn't. That's the toughest thing about this. There's no reliable way to gauge what kind of impact promotional items make. I'm inclined to believe they make little impact. The book itself is your best marketing tool.

    1. Hi Tara! I agree that swag items probably really DON'T affect sales enough to overcome the cost, but I'm going on this journey with three "realities"...

      1) I'm not quitting my day job any time soon...;~)
      2) The swag items I choose, like the door magnets on my car, are helping to create my "story catcher" brand. I'm known at my local elementary schools as "the karate lady" so why not the STORY CATCHER also?
      3) My boss is willing to split the cost of some of the swag items as his way of supporting my writing career which brings things more in line with my budget. It doesn't hurt that he is also my best

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!