September 21, 2015
It Takes Money to Make Money
(Marketing and Promotion Number 10)
A Word about Business Cards
Before we discuss today’s topic, let me revert to something I’ve already mentioned in two past blogs: business cards.
Although I’ve mentioned a frugal way to make your own with desktop publishing programs, you can also do well by watching for special deals at places like Staples and other office supply stores.
Just last week I purchased 500 cards for $9.99 on Staples’ website. After choosing one of their templates, I designed my own card, used one of their many photos, and uploaded a photo of the cover of A HORSE TO LOVE, book one in the Keystone Stables Series. I chose the closest store to my home for delivery, and in less than 24 hours (16 hours to be exact), the cards were finished and ready to be purchased at the store.
I am extremely well pleased with the cards, and, frankly, at that price, I couldn’t make the cards any cheaper. So check out those special deals at office supply stores not only business cards but also for posters, calendars, notebooks, or any other “paper” you’d like to use for promotion.
Other Ways to Promote your Books
Now, let’s look at several of the more expensive ways to promote your books. Remember, I’ve said it takes money to make money, and when you promote and market yourself, it does take bucks.
How much you want to invest in your marketing strategy depends on your financial situation. Mine is quite limited, but here are three techniques that have worked for me over the years:
Rent vendor’s space at conventions, conferences, or gatherings of like-minded folk:
One of the best places I’ve sold books is at the annual PA CHAP state homeschool convention held every May for two days in a huge hall in Harrisburg, PA, with over 150 vendors. Yes, the vending fee is expensive, and each year I just about break even, but as I’ve said before, “exposure is the key to successful book sales.” Thousands of homeschoolers attend that event every year. Usually, if families buy one or two books, they come back for more the next year or buy others online or at book stores. Even with the staggering economy, I sell an average of 130 books at that convention over a two-day period. I’ve also had vending space at craft fairs and “horsie” events, most with reasonable vending fees, which sometimes paid off. (Most states have their own large annual homeschool conventions. Check it out online.)
Offer special deals with your book sales:
I have all kinds of special deals. These three are the most popular:
1. Buy a set of two or more of my horse books, and I tie them together with binder twine (used on hay bales) and include a free bookmark and a tiny plastic horse party favor tied onto the front of the set. I also void the state tax (which I cover).
2. Get a nice “horsie” gift such as a horse Christmas tree ornament or one of my other horse books if you buy the entire Keystone Stables set.
3. Buy any four books on the table, get a fifth one free.
Offer a 20% coupon (which you’ve printed yourself with a graphics program):
The coupons go to folks who say, “I’m interested but can’t buy today.” Have an expiration date on the coupon and give them the coupon with your business card. Often, folks won’t follow through, but once in a while, someone will order.
Buy ad space in magazines:
This venue I’ve used very little except in local craft fair booklets or regional homeschool ad books. I can handle $25 or $50 per quarter of a page, but horse lovers’ magazines? Writers’ magazines? Farm or ranch magazines? Kids’ magazines? They start at something like $300 per quarter page and $1200 for a full page, which is far beyond what my budget can afford, so I stick with the “small stuff.”
So there you have it. Decide how much money you want to invest in making money and get busy.
(More shameless promotion)
THE SECRET OF WOLF CANYON
Try to solve the mystery of the hidden Civil War coins before Woody
and the kids at the sleuth camp do.
Marsha Hubler Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables books
(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com
(Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheon Information) www.susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com
(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com