Yep, they masquerade as all sorts of wonderful and beneficial marketing tools for us writers. Cheap little buggers too.
Here's the scoop: One of my online writing pals, Elizabeth Spann Craig, has a 6-year old marketing genius in her household and she claims that the genetic make-up skipped a generation--namely, hers. Well, although I don't necessarily agree 100% with that assessment, I shared with her some of the ways postcards get away with living their secret life.
Since Elizabeth now believes I'm a marketing genius (please don't disabuse her of this notion), I thought I'd share this genius with all my fans.
- Design your own postcard and pay a printer a bucketload of $$, order them online (fairly inexpensive and good quality) from any one of a variety of firms (i.e. http://www.vistaprint.com/), or pay a graphic designer a bucketload of $$ to design AND print them. Purpose: put your book cover on one side and your website and details of where/how to buy it on the back - leaving enough space to hand write either an address for mailing OR a personal note if distributing by hand.
- Bribe friends, family, and co-workers to pass out/mail your marketing postcards: i.e. in exchange for a free copy of your book, they must pass out X # of postcards
- Display your postcards, with handwritten notes on the back side, in the office at your "day" job
- Pass out signed postcards to your bank tellers, grocery store cashiers, hairdressers, manicurists, etc. - and all their co-workers
- Pass out signed postcards at PTA meetings, Little League games, soccer matches, the local library, church, etc. You'd be surprised at how many people/places would love to take a couple of postcards - especially if the picture/book cover is terrific.
- Allow your children/grandchildren to bring a copy of your book to school for Show and Tell - along with a bunch of signed postcards (this, actually, was my daughter's genius - she sent my 10 YO granddaughter Bridget to school w/book and PCs - way to go, Beth!)
- Scan your PC into your computer, both sides, and e-mail to everyone you know (this is my other daughter's genius - yay, Laurie!)
- Produce a son who, when he grows up, is part-owner of a lawn care business who is thrilled to pass out his mother's marketing PCs to all his clients (Michael, genius #3)
- Imitate the marketing genius of my 79 YO father (who was an insurance salesman before he retired) and pass the damn PCs out at the casino - but only to strangers who qualify after you ask them specific prospecting questions, like: Do you like to read? Do you like to read mysteries? Would you be interested in reading my famous daughter's mystery? When and ONLY when you get yes answers to all 3 questions, THEN you pass out the PC. This is a true story - my Dad DID this: he didn't want to "waste" the good money I spent on the postcards by giving them to unqualified prospects. The funniest part of the whole scenario is that one total stranger tapped him on the shoulder about 4 weeks after he gave him a PC and told him he bought and loved the book!)
Now that you're applauding my genius, all I ask in return is that you: a) add your genius to the blog in the form of comments with other ways to creatively distribute postcards, b) link to this post in your own blog so we can all exponentially expand our marketing horizons.
P.S. Just landed an online gig to write self-marketing articles. Once things are finalized, I'll post an announcement here.
P.P.S. Elizabeth, please share your daughter's genius. She's an ace - can't wait to see what she decides to do when she grows up!