Merchandising – Making Money Beyond Your Book

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Publicity Tip #41

Spaceballs MarketingYour book is done and you can’t wait to start making royalties on internet & store sales or by selling it in person to earn that extra dollar per copy or so. But there are other ways of earning money as so brilliantly shown by the 80’s movie Spaceballs and the blockbuster franchise Star Wars… “Merchandising, merchandising, merchandising…”

Whether you’re a first time author or you’ve published a few books, when you do in-person talks, workshops, readings, or sales have you considered offering your fans a mug, note book, or t-shirt with an image, logo, or the name of your book with a fantastic quote from inside? And you’re not limited to just these items. There are a whole host of ‘marketing ideas’ available.

Yes, I hear you – how can you spend money on product that’s just going to sit in your basement or in your study? Isn’t that counter productive?

Yes, it would be if you blindly walk into developing books marks for a fan-base that reads your work mainly via e-book or you just put the cover of your book on a mug or shirt (this can work if it’s really quirky or such fantastic art work that people will want to buy it regardless of the fact that it’s a book cover). You need to understand who is buying your books and whether or not they would be interested in Bling related to your publications.

You can do this by sending out a questionnaire to your mailing list or polling your blog followers and talking with other writers who share your genre or subject area. Once you’ve found the right ‘catch phrase’ or image (or both) that will entice your readers to buy these additional items, you can place your orders.

But we’re back to the money issue, right?

What if your Bling supplier gave you a “store page” on their home site that you could link to via your author website/blog and you only needed to buy a few items to bring with you on your book tour, signings, and other public appearances? The bulk of your stock would remain online and you would find out first hand what is and isn’t selling. Then, when an item isn’t selling as well as you thought you can take whatever remaining stock you have and offer it with a giveaway of your first book when your second one is preparing to launch – this is a great way t0 drum-up sales for your new book using your last book.

So, how do you find a decent distributor who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for putting your design or quote on their product?

Here are two well-priced options to consider:

Printfection (US Residents will get the best discounts)

Vista Print (With Canadian distribution warehouses this is a great option)

Both of these marketing distribution sites are virtual which makes their products less expensive. Just like your books with your publisher, the more stock you buy upfront the bigger the discount you get per item and thus the more money you make when you sell them.

Both of these marketing sites offer “store pages” for you. Printfection’s pages are free but Vista Print asks for a small fee per month.

Both of these sites have a wide range of products for you to select from and decide what would most benefit your fan-base. However, Vista Print tends to the side of paper-products (but they do offer mugs, letter openers, & t-shirts too), whereas Printfection has a larger selection of house-hold items (like beer mugs, hats, & mouse pads) and different colours and styles for t-shirts if that’s what you’re most interested in.

If you have a bit of room in your budget or you’ve received your first royalty check and it’s burning a hole in your pocket, consider how adding another marketing element to your sales might help boost your overall revenue.

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