One really effective way we have managed to promote awareness of books is using a simple postcard. While it does not replace the need to use websites, blogs, and social media, it is a very cost-effective way to help promote the book.
As a small regional publisher and book production provider, we have tried a number of methods to engage the public when not in a computer driven social media setting. The two most common things used are bookmarks and business cards. But a while back we started experimenting with postcards and palm cards with great results.
The postcards simply have a copy of the front cover on one side and information about the book on the other. This information can be pretty much anything about the book and author, for instance it can be the upcoming release, an upcoming signing, or other author appearance. The cards do not need to be confined to any geographical area but can be sent to friends and family. But also they can be sent to the media and bookstores. If, for example, your book is a novel with a particular historical bent, i.e. the Civil War, there are clubs and organizations which have newsletters or websites usually looking for content. Mentioning your book can provide anything from a byline in the newsletter to an article about the book and author. While you may be able to get their contact information and send the same via email, something physical can sometimes garner more attention than yet one more anonymous email.
A variant of this is what’s known as the “palm card” (see below). Basically, it’s the same idea but is not intended to be sent but rather handed out or can be left at some location such as a bookstore. Assume you are doing an appearance or signing somewhere. While you may have your book available, if the potential buyer is interested but does not have the cash available to buy right then, a palm card can be a great way to help them remember the book. Bookmarks and business cards are okay, but they can be somewhat limited for space. The back of a 4X6 palm card has plenty of real estate to include the jacket copy, book metrics (format, page count, price, ISBN, etc.), where to buy, contact information, QR codes, and so on. Also, you can include one with the book purchase. The buyer may pass it along to a friend with similar interests.
We have found both postcards and palm cards to be so effective it is one of the first pieces we make for our book promotion. Now, whenever we finalize the layout and do the first production run for self-published authors, we offer 100 of either for free to help start promoting their book with suggestions on what we feel may be their best use.
Postcards and palm cards are not the only thing to do but they can be another piece to the puzzle on getting your book noticed.