Printing Marketing Items for Book Publishers
Using the example How to Make the Most of College, The Essential Guide for College Students, what marketing products can you sell this publisher? Certain items immediately come to mind such as:
Review copies. These books are sent to various publications for review and praise that can be used in other marketing efforts. I had one example of successful review copy marketing for a book entitled Computer Baby Steps. It was a book written for senior citizens on how to use computers. The publisher printed the book with me. He did not consider review copies. I suggested that we send out 150 review copies to various publications, including the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune wrote a review of the book that immediately resulted in 25 book sales to various bookstores in Chicago..
Publishers, particularly smaller ones, overlook the value of review copies in their marketing. Review copies are the cheapest form of advertising a publisher can do, according to Dan Poynter in The Self-Publishing Manual.
The other part of the story about Computer Baby Steps is that my printing company fulfilled the review copies in addition to printing them. The books cost $2,615 to print. We fulfilled them for $7 per book. For the price, we printed a cover letter, folded and inserted it with a book, along with a marketing piece and an acknowledgement postcard, into a book envelope and mailed the package media mail rate. That $7 per book resulted in $1,325 in revenue against less than $500 in cost.
Letterhead, envelopes and business cards. Each publisher may want separate letterhead and envelopes for the new title. At the very least, the publisher will need business cards. My printing company had success printing business cards with the picture of the book’s cover on the front and the contact information on the back.
Direct mail advertising pieces. Since this book was being marketed directly to students and their parents, direct mail was used. Printing and mailing the marketing pieces is another revenue opportunity.
Postcards. Some publishers like to print postcards to mail to potential buyers. This is particularly effective if the publisher is selling to the bookstore trade. A postcard to independent bookstores and specialty stores is more cost effective and provides more impact than sending a sales letter. The postcard typically has the book cover on the front, some marketing verbiage on the left side of the postcard and space for the address on the right side. We printed 4 x 6 postcards on the same stock as the cover. We typically gang printed the postcards.
Bookmarks. The publisher is marketing to readers so a good promotional tool is a bookmark. The most effective bookmarks were 2 inches wide by 8 inches long. The picture of the book cover plus the publishers’ contact information is on the front of the bookmark. Nothing is printed on the back. We gang printed the bookmarks when we printed the covers. We also laminated them at the same time we as the book covers.
Posters. We also recommended the publisher print posters of the book cover for book signings, trade shows and lectures. We printed the posters on our large format printer. We sometimes laminated the posters and put Velcro strips on the back so the posters can be affixed to air walls in hotel meeting rooms.
Buttons. Maybe it’s my Kinko’s background coming out, but we also recommended the publisher produce buttons to wear at trade shows and media events. The button is the cover of the book. Typically, we had these produced at a nearby Kinko’s.
Booklets or pamphlets. A less obvious printed piece that could be produced for How to Make the Most of College, The Essential Guide for College Students is a booklet or a pamphlet. There are reasons to print a reduced version of the book in pamphlet or booklet form. A booklet or pamphlet gives the publisher another product to sell from the same material already in the book. Some specialty retailers may not have the space to sell a book. The publisher may want to use the booklet or pamphlet as a “teaser” to entice the reader to buy the book. Or the booklet or pamphlet could be distributed to college placement offices in high schools for counselors to use with students that may also lead to additional sales.