Well, I decided to make a promotional item. Just a small one which I’m going to take to a con and abandon on the freebie table like unwanted orphans. I ordered stickers from Vista Print.
How useful are promotional items? I don’t know. I do know that I am personally a freebie table junkie. I love postcards with art work in particular. I have several drawers of promotional posters, postcards, even a towel that says “Don’t Panic” from a panel at Comic Con promoting The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Some of the items have lured me to websites. Many more simply have space in my drawer.
I don’t think there is a big return on promotional items unless you have visibility at a con. A table where you are selling books and can interact with people. I like fun items like stickers which is why I chose to make those instead of bookmarks. Postcards may be somewhat useless but I really enjoy receiving them so I will no doubt be making some of those, though perhaps not for Carmine.
Now- what’s missing from these stickers? Web addresses. Normally at the very least I would put my web address on it. Better yet the address of the publisher. However I wanted a striking image, not a billboard. My hope is that the image will make people curious to Google my name. But I am highly Googlable. A lot of links come up in a search of my name so I decided the risk of not putting my web address was worth it not to clutter the image. But I would never recommend doing that.
I also didn’t order very many stickers. Only forty of them. Enough to leave on the con freebie table and to mail out to some friends who I think will like them. But that’s all. There is no reason to order very many of anything, even when selling at a convention. Usually 30-40 of anything is all you’ll need at any given con. I remember printing 70 of a doujinshi for a con and selling about half. Which was phenomenal BUT I still have about 35 leftover, forever taking up space in my house.
There is also no use in making promotional items for older books. A better bet is to make something general to promote yourself as an author. I’m not sure what to do about that LOL!