As an author, one of the most important things you need to plan and budget for are prizes. Generally, it all depends on how you operate, but the most key events to have swag prepared for are: signings, book events, release day, random prize giveaways and other milestones that you want to celebrate with your fans.
As a newbie author, you probably won’t do much of this until you really know what you’re doing and how to get it done without blowing the bank. But, here are some easy, quick things you get buy that are personalised to your book/author brand, that you can get in the UK. I won’t be covering US sites, because – honestly – I’ve never used them and it would be pointless. I won’t talk about something I know nothing about. So, this post is exclusively about UK sites, because they’re really hard to find.
Forget about bookmarks, because unless you buy rackcards instead, you’re unlikely to find any UK sites, with decent postage, that won’t charge you an arm and a leg for bookmarks. Your best bet is to print your own (2×6, 2×7 or 2×8″ are good sizes) or buy some.
Amazon do great bookmark options. You can get these die cut bookmarks, 10 in a pack, for just £2.17, which is a total steal. Then it’s just an extra £2.39 (plus £0.45 postage) for a pack of 10 tassels, if you want them, and £6.48 for protective sleeves, if you choose to go that way (only 6 in a pack, but still great value). Bargain!
If you do want to go the route of buying them, you can go to Moo.com and buy a bunch of business cards that can act as bookmarks (you even get nice rounded edges on some designs) or you can head over to Zazzle.com to personalise a bookmark (£6.65 for a pack of 20). You can also try VistaPrint, which always have offers on (TV100 is their advert code). They do ‘rack cards’ which are basically bookmarks the size of those little booklet flyers you get in banks.
It’s all about what you prefer.
You should definitely check out Moo.com if you’re looking for something a little different. If you have the money, you can get some really special adaptations of the usual swag.
Their Tailored Collection of business cards include options like gold foil, spot glass or raised spot glass. You can also get letterhead business cards. (shown in order lists)
You can also use business card designs to make something different. I chose to make character cards from mine. I simply chose one front design (my author logo) and used the wonderful feature of up to 100 different backing designs to create character profiles. Each one has their name, book, age and a profile of their character traits, followed by a single quote. Here’s a close up:
I also made series cards. These were made using the square business card option. It was super easy and, again, you could choose one front option and many back options. I simply chose the half-cut layout, with half being an image and half as words, then used the book covers for the image part and a series description for the writing.
Another great option is to choose MiniCards and make quote cards. I chose one quote from each book and made one quote card for each book.
For each option, you really have to be careful about your font size and wording, because the space isn’t huge. If you play around with different fonts, you’ll find one that works best for you. I kept mine the same for every card, in case I wanted to do a ‘series’ giveaway. You can also change the layout and colour of your background etc, so there are a lot of options for personalising it. I just prefer the simple look and having them all with black text and a white background means that I can mix and match each book/series mini card with the corresponding character card.
As for cost, they were all affordable. Here’s what I ordered and what I paid for that order:
Business Cards (Character Cards): Matte Laminate Business Cards x 100
(ordered Dec 2015)
Square Business Cards (Series Cards): Matte Laminate MiniCards x 100 + Orange MOO MiniCard Holder x 1
(ordered Nov 2015)
Mini Cards (Quote Cards): Matte Square Business Cards x 50
(ordered June 2015)
If you want something really spectacular and different, try out Moo’s Limited Edition section:
“Make stunning Limited Edition print with exclusive designs from the incredibly talented Ohh Deer. (And no pressure, but once they’re gone…they’re gone forever!)”
Hopefully you’ve found something that tickles your fancy. As soon as I find more awesome swag, I’ll let you know.