Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why Do I Need Promotional Postcards?

Kathryn Page Camp
I like to support other authors, so I buy a lot of physical books at conferences and book fairs. But sometimes I would rather read the reviews first or purchase the Kindle version. That’s fine if I remember the author and the title of the book. Unfortunately, I’ll probably forget both unless I have something in my hands to remind me.
That’s why authors need postcards or bookmarks that promote their books. Readers can pick up this promotional material when they aren’t ready to purchase and then use it to prompt their memories when they are. Writers can also send postcards through the mail to interested persons when that new book has come out or the author is doing a book signing in the area. That may seem unnecessary in this digital age, but some people still appreciate and respond to “old-fashioned” methods. And hard as it is to believe, there are even people who don’t use technology and social media. My 53-year-old brother-in-law just got his first cell phone and Facebook account.
So what should you include in your promotional postcards? Your book cover is a must, as is purchase information. You should also include the ISBN, which is the book’s fingerprint and is the easiest way for a bookstore to locate it. There may be other books with the same title and even the same author, but no other book will have the same ISBN.
Then, of course, you will want to grab a reader’s interest. This may be done with a short summary, a quote from a review, an honor the book received, or all three.
As the first picture demonstrates, the front of my Writers in Wonderland postcard includes the book cover, the name of the publisher (my own imprint), and a witty quote about the book. I printed the quote in a font that matched the tone of the book, but I probably should have looked for one that was easier to read.
The back of the postcard (shown below), carries a short statement about why someone should buy the book, a note on an honor it received, the ISBN, purchase information, and my website. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention that a Kindle version is available.
When I designed the In God We Trust postcard, I included the book cover, a short summary, the ISBN, purchase information, and the publisher.
This time I left the entire back of the card blank so that I could sticker the left side with information on upcoming events. Even when the left side is filled in, as was the case with my Writers in Wonderland postcard, the right half of the back should remain empty to leave room for an address and postage. Or you could add blank lines for the address if you prefer.
For the second time, I forgot to mention that a Kindle version is available. Worse, I also left off my website address. Oh well. I live and learn like everyone else.
Next time I’ll use a checklist like this one:
_____ book cover
_____ ISBN
_____ purchase information
_____ e-book availability
_____ publisher
_____ website
_____ summary and/or endorsements and/or honors
Do you have anything to add to the list? I’d also like to hear about creative ways you use promotional postcards or bookmarks.
Kathryn Page Camp is a licensed attorney and full-time writer. Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal was a Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection for April 2014. The second edition of Kathryn’s first book, In God We Trust: How the Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions Affect Organized Religion, was released on September 30, 2015. You can learn more about Kathryn at

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