Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Author Marketing From a School Librarian, Part 2

Yesterday I posted the interview with Mandy Watson, who gave us some great information about author marketing from a librarian's perspective.

Today I'll share what we learned from Mandy's presentation during the Houston SCBWI meeting. First, her "shopping list" to help you remember the marketing strategies:

Here's more about each item to explain what all that means:

Turkey: Don't be afraid to act like one (like during school visits).

Dressing: Do you have something you wear or carry that makes you or your business stand out? For school visits and author events it might be an item of clothing having to do with your book that people will recognize. Or, you may have a unique logo that identifies your business.

Passion fruit: You have to be passionate about the work you do.

Bread: Business cards are a staple to your business, like bread is a staple in most homes. (More about business cards later).

Pie crust: You might use pamphlets to advertise your upcoming book release or school visit program. The pamphlet should be filled with good things, like a pie crust. But don't throw in too many different things or it'll turn into a giant mess.

Cereal: Shopping for cereal can be overwhelming because there are so many choices. Same thing with websites--is there something about yours that will make it a more attractive choice than others? Offer something on your site that gives people a reason to visit it.

Ice cream: Not something for every day, but fun to shop for. Have some special novelty items or swag to hand out at events or signings that will promote your work. Oriental Trading Company is one good source.

Eggs: Eggs aren't usually sold individually, and we can't sell ourselves alone either. Have a good team of people around you for support.

Energy drink: Give it your best! A good quote from Nuno Bettencourt to keep in mind: "As much as you put into it is as much as you get out of it."

You can use a similar list to decide which items you already have and which you need to "shop" for.

Now, back to business cards. In yesterday's post Mandy talked about business cards she's more likely to keep--ones that can double as a bookmark or are unique in some other way.

A few inexpensive ways to turn your business card into something people want to keep:

- Punch a hole and tie a thin ribbon onto one end to make a bookmark. You can find inexpensive charms to add to the ribbon too.
- Apply Zig Two-Way glue to the back of the card so it can be used as a sticky note
- If ordering custom bookmarks, save space at one end to upload your business card design. After the bookmarks are printed, use a perforation tool to make a perforated line between the business card and the bookmark. People you give your bookmarks to can separate the bookmark from the business card (like a ticket stub and a ticket).

Some resources to help you create your own business cards:

- Find templates on sites like Microsoft Office or Avery
- Look for free images on digital scrapbooking sites or by Googling "free images." Some sites to try are Two Peas In a Bucket, Designer Digitals (once you register, you'll be able to look at the "Freebies" section under the "Communities" tab), and Jessica Sprague (click "Freebies" under the "Digital Products" heading).
- If you need just a few cards on short notice, you can get a page of twelve cards printed at stores like Office Depot for about 25 cents.
- Online stores like Vistaprint have fast service and inexpensive cards; you can upload your own design or create a design on the website.

Thanks again to Mandy for the interview and for passing along all the helpful advice for authors!

Have any of you used the ideas mentioned here, or do you have other good ideas for author marketing? Please share in the comments!


  1. What great suggestions! The shopping list is so memorable & those are really creative ideas about how to spice up a generic business card. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this list! Thanks so much for sharing this. I've used Vista Print for my business cards and when you use them they send you offers for free products. All you do is pay shipping. I got a free tote bag that I use for signings and school visits. It has my book cover on the bag and it carries my supplies for those events.