Guest Post: Marketing Doohickeys

More Marketing Tips for Authors

author marketing tipsA librarian told me that writing the book is half the work; selling it makes up the other 50%. As a writer, how can you stand out in a world of other books? Try these personalized marketing tricks:

QR code.

Traditional marketing plans involve making postcards and bookmarks with your cover image and book information on them. (I’ve also heard of bracelets, necklaces, shirts, and cookies used for swag.) One way to make the bland postcard or bookmark more alluring (and to tie in new technology) is to use a QR code.

QR codes are those black and white fuzzy squares now appearing on posters, newsletters, and even cereal boxes. When somebody scans them with their smartphone, the code takes them to a web URL you set (the publisher’s site, the author website,, or even a secret download—like an extra short story).

There are free QR code generators, like or Some printing companies like offer the service when creating promotional materials. Sites like can also track who’s been clicking on your code (but you have to sign up for a free account).

Customized goodies.

Giveaways are quite popular. Sometimes the prizes involve something monetary, like a Barnes and Noble gift card. One way to spark more interest, though, is to make a book-themed basket. Is your story set in the classic Hollywood era? Maybe a set of black and white films will entice potential readers.

Character-themed goodies also work. Silk, one of the main characters in my debut novel, has emotional memories tied to cherry blossoms. These flowers adorn the prizes in my gift giveaways.

author marketing tips

Autographed copies.

People enjoy getting free copies of your book. When you add a signature, though, it adds a sense of specialness to the receiver. Make sure to personalize the inscription to best reflect the reader. An inscribed copy is a way for people to show off their uniqueness and ensure that they’ll keep the copy in their library.

Which idea did you like? How have you made marketing more interesting and specific to your book?  

About the Author

Jennifer J. Chow, an Asian-American writer, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA. Her geriatric work experience has informed her stories.  She lives near Los Angeles, California.

Her fiction has appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, IdeaGems Magazine, and Mouse Tales Press.  Her Taiwanese-American novel, The 228 Legacy, made it to the second round of the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and was published by Martin Sisters Publishing in July 2013.
photo credit: TMAB2003 via photopin cc