Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Marketing Tips for the Financially-Challenged Indie Author: Bookmarks

An image of
butterflies I created
for the front of one
of my bookmarks.
Who doesn’t like bookmarks, and what avid reader doesn’t need at least one?  Well, perhaps in this day and age of ebooks, bookmarks are more of an embellishment than a necessity.  Yet, if you are like me (someone who reads 99.9% of their books on an ereader but still has quite a collection of traditional hardcover and paperback tomes lying around), then you might still find a good use for those fancy placeholders of old.
Not only can bookmarks help us save our spot, but they can be a very useful tool for the independent author.  Like the business cards I wrote about before, bookmarks offer the indie writer a relatively low-cost option for advertising their books.  In fact, the most challenging aspect of the bookmark process, in my opinion, is the designing of it.  But don’t fret, it isn’t as hard as it might seem (I’m just a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to creating anything artistic ;)).
Once again, I use my old friend Microsoft Word to help me with this dilemma.  Before you begin, however, I would recommend browsing different sites that offer a bookmark package and checking on the exact dimensions you’ll need before cutting and pasting images onto a document.  Once you have the page set to the right length and width (plus the bleed of course), you can begin.
Here is the back of the
bookmark for my third
book, The Awakening.
With a bookmark, you also have two sides that you can really utilize to help sell your book (you have much more room to work with than you do with the business cards).  On one side I personally like to put an image that will make the bookmark itself more appealing.  I guess you could regard it as ‘wasted space’, but, being an artist as well as an author, I consider it another plus, especially when I can tell people, ‘Yes, I designed the artwork as well.’
Of course, not everyone is a writer as well as an artist, but you might want to consider sacrificing that space (I feel people are more willing to take a bookmark if it isn’t entirely jam-packed with information).  Sometimes it’s good to appeal to the aesthetic side of people.  For example, if you aren’t an artist, maybe you can make the entire side of your bookmark the cover image of the book itself (or a section of the cover to give it a little intrigue).  Whatever you choose, be sure to test it out on friends and family to get their feedback before sealing the deal.
Now for the other side of the bookmark . . . This is where you get to practice and experiment with fonts and the wonderful world of telling your story with as few words as possible.  The back of my bookmarks consist of a small image of the cover, the title and my name (I also say which book in the series it is).  Then I add a tiny excerpt (I tried to find the most intriguing ones; hopefully yours will be better than mine), and finally I polish it all off with a mention of the purchasing info and my website.   When it is all complete and everything looks good, I save it as a PDF and upload it to the website of my choice.
Another image for the
front of the bookmark.
Notice how I make sure
the image's edges are
well within the edge
of the 'page'.
Of course, you may have a much different idea as to what information should be included on the back of your bookmark.  Positive reviews might be a good choice or maybe even an author bio.  Whatever you ultimately decide on in the end, just remember to be creative and try to stick to the relevant information regarding your books.  Good luck!


  1. That's a great way to reach booklovers. A small budget can go a long way in this marketing strategy, too. People keep bookmarks around for a long time, so be sure to make them using sturdy materials.

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  2. Thanks Becky. Bookmarks are always handy and in the indie author world, I like to think of them as extra large business cards ;)

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