Aug 3, 2012

Bookmarks as Promotional Tools

Designing bookmarks for the book - will have rounded corners when I'm done.

What a busy time it's been! My Zombie Dog ebook has been selling well on Amazon, and I'm now producing a paperback for the Australian market with help from The Book Cover Cafe. Exciting times. So, I've started thinking of different ways to promote the physical book. One popular idea is bookmarks.

Like most booky people, we love bookmarks in our house. Instead of giving birthday cards to their friends, my girls create bookmarks on the computer, print and laminate and usually finish off with a bit of ribbon through a hole in the top. These are usually treasured by the receiver. So, how do you do up bookmarks for your novel?

I had to play around with design. At first I tried putting the book cover at the top of the bookmark. I've seen this done before, but it didn't work well for me, the book looks too small. So instead, I put the title of the book on the front of the bookmark, and you don't have to stick to the traditional portrait direction (vertical), I went with a landscape (horizontal) look. I stuck with the same font as my ebook, because that's what will appear on the paperback book cover, plus I just love it. You can find out more about using fonts in this post: How to Font your Cover. I went with a bright purple background because it makes the font colour pop and... well, purple is magic.

You can design your bookmark in Photoshop, Word, almost any design program. I like to use InDesign and Photoshop. Before you start, you'll need to know what size your bookmark is. I've been a long time fan of Vistaprint, but sadly they don't do bookmarks (but if we all keep tweeting them about it, they might give in). I found this printer: Overnight Printing they print bookmarks and even provide a template for you to download.

If you go through a regular printer, you can choose your size. If you have a business that gets a lot of things printed up, you might be able to get them printed cheaply at the same time, because they are long and thin, they can be printed in the 'off cut' area.

If you only need a few to start with, you could always design them on your computer, print them yourself (you should be able to fit 4-5 to a page) cut them out and laminate. Home laminating machines are easy to get and quite cheap now, ours was under $20.

Back to the design; I also found too much text cluttered my bookmark. Now my novel is aimed at kids 8-13yrs (even though my readership seems to include a lot of grandparents), so that's another reason for me to keep it short and snappy. You want to make sure the design suits your genre. Mine is humour/horror, so I wanted a funny tagline. 

Some authors prefer to keep the back of their bookmark plain, so it gives them something to sign. It's a good idea, but I've decided to put the important details on the back. Here's some things you could include:
  • Very short blurb, what's the book about?
  • Testimonial from happy reader, or another author if you can get it.
  • Who would like your book?
  • Where can they buy your book? This is the most important.
  • Where to find out more about the author and other books they may have, so a link to your website or blog. I chose my website, because my blog is aimed at writers, not really kids. I also have a QR code for my website, so if the kids scan it with a smart phone, it goes straight there.
Have fun with the design, something quirky is more likely to peak the interest of potential readers. You could play with shape, or try folded bookmarks with magnets... the only limit is your imagination! These will be great to hand out when you have book launches, or host a stall at a market/expo, or just when you meet people. And if you want to generate a QR code for your site, try: QR Stuff, it's easy, here' mine:
Do you have any other bookmark suggestions?

And it's that time again! Insecure Writer's Support Group - hope this post was supportive for you! You can find a lot more great posts by clicking on the picture and heading to Alex J Cavanaugh's site.


  1. This was great! Thanks, Charmaine.


  2. This is some good information. I wonder if you can buy card stock that is already perforated for easy printing and tearing-apart? I'm going to look into this. Thanks!

  3. I love the colors. You did a good job with that!

    Appreciated the info on bookmarks.

    Wishing you the best on your book!


  4. My publisher made some very cool bookmarks for both my books. They weren't able to do the QR code for the last one, but I guess the next ones will have it.

  5. I finally went to Staples with a jpeg of my cover and they fit it on a bookmark. I'm pleased. I have two books now & I'm getting a bit possession over who gets one. Haha. When I first published I was so thrilled people actually talked to me at signings, I'd hand them 3. Probably not a good idea. Now I just top off the candy bowl more often.

    Happy IWSG, Charmaine. I don't know how Alex does it, visiting everyone. Three days later and I'm still making the rounds. Nice to meet you.

  6. Thanks for the comments :)

    Beth - I've used perforated business cards once to print at home and they don't usually turn out very well, they have raggy edges. You could get board stock and use a splicer or rotary blade to cut them up - that would be quicker anyway. You can get those anywhere you get scrapbooking or quilting tools (our Kmart stocks them).

  7. Great tips for creating bookmarks. They do seem to be a popular tool and far cheaper than a magnet (I imagine).

  8. Hi, Charmaine! I like your ideas for the bookmark. I also like that you kept the front simple and put the book info on the back.

    Thanks for sharing the links. I'm definitely going to earmark this post for future reference.

  9. Great post! I love the bookmark! Thanks for the info. Take care!

  10. Just downloaded My Zombie Dog. My reading list looks like an agent's slush pile right now, so I don't know when I'll get to it. Hopefully soon, because it sounds like a fun book. :)

  11. Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your website is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles.

  12. A super-cool idea... smart and practical too...

  13. I tried several DIY sites. I believe the last one I used, and the one I stuck to, was iPrint.

    I love your bookmark.

  14. I think bookmarks are an excellent promotional tool. They're like business cards except longer and people probably keep them for a longer time as well. Kind of like functional business cards.

    Wrote By Rote

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