Some would say my time would be better spent writing, but I’ve had a heck of a good time designing RIM To RIM’s cover, business cards, posters for a future book launch, handouts. That’s creative, too, right?
Last week I discovered PicMonkey.com, a free website which allows you to edit digital photographs. I wish I had found it before I wedged my ideas for my bookcover into the adequate, but not flexible, CreateSpace cover designer. (Don’t get me wrong, CreateSpace. I love the way RIM To RIM’s printed cover turned out.)
A while back I found on the internet the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt –
“A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.”
It stuck with me. Then it dawned on me that a woman finding her inner strengths is one of the themes pointed out to me in RIM To RIM by several early readers. Voila!
But how to use it?
I decided long ago that there are too many bookmarks out there that get dumped into the garbage after events. I want mine to be different — or at least looked at before they get dumped. I want to give the bookmark recipients a little something – a gift, a thought, some reason to hold onto my card a little longer.
Eleanor Roosevelt’s humorous, somewhat startling, words resonate with me. I’m guessing my target audience will like the quote, too. There’s my gift. To sweeten the deal I intend to string a ribbon through a hole in the card and attach it to an actual tea bag (an eye-catcher/something for free).
Now that I have their attention, maybe they’ll read the name of my book, RIM To RIM, and if they’re still interested maybe they’ll turn the card over. On the backside I have a photo of my book cover, two short testimonials, and contact information.
How to Create DIY Promotional Materials
Step one – Find a quotation Search the internet for quotes pertaining to the themes of your book. Not quotes about you. Not quotes about your book. Find something that your READERS care about.
Step two – Choose an Image Find a picture that gives an impression from your story, sets the mood. RIM To RIM is a backpacking mystery adventure. Hence, the outdoor setting and the tree stump. As an extra tie-in, my protagonist, Amy, starts each morning in the canyon with mug of hot tea. i-stock.com has hundreds of inexpensive, high quality photos. Still, I didn’t find the perfect one, so I used my cell phone camera in my backyard.
Step three – Edit Photo Send your photo to your computer and upload the best to http://www.picmonkey.com. Play with different fonts, effects, colors, and arrangements. Include a plug for your book. PS: It helps to have Chrome as your browser. I crashed and lost my design four times before I figured that out and downloaded Chrome (easy to do). Also, think about the size of the finished product and leave room on the edges for cropping. In my case I had to crop top and bottom to fit on a business card. Save your design to your computer.
Step four – Get it Printed Vista Print.com is my new best friend. Click on “Free” business cards and choose “Your Own Design”. Upload your PicMonkey design and Poof! Now allow your potential reader to follow up on the interest you generated. Include contact information: your website and your author’s e-mail address. Pique their interest further with a photo of your book cover and two shortened notes of praise for your work. You’d be surprised what can fit on a business card. biz card mug proof PS: There is no such thing as free. The backside costs $6, glossy costs more than matte, shipping, etc. They’ll try to up-sell you stickers, and posters, and postcards — All good stuff. I ordered the totebag. The results have always been good and Vista Print is a great deal.
Step five – Make it Memorable Add something extra, so that your card doesn’t lay flat amongst all the others. (My tea bag, for example). I’m going to Costco for a tea bags in volume, but try Orientaltrading.com for inexpensive add-ons. Be creative!
Step six – Put Yourself Out There Pass those babies out like candy on Halloween. Put them into people’s hands and talk to them about the quote. Refer to the add-on. Tell the story of how you took the photo. Anything to have a conversation and get them to remember you. If they then buy the book or visit your website, hurray!