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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TOPIC: Being a Published Author - Vistaprint is my new friend!

As promised this post will be entirely devoted to the mantra - Vistaprint is my new friend!

For any author, this website is a gold mine of promotional items - you name it, they probably have it. And best of all, they run "freebie" product sales, where you only pay for postage.

Used wisely, and sticking to a budget (see previous post titled Promotion & Marketing), you can stock up on useful items to compliment your giveaways or make up surprise swag packs to send out while on blog tours etc.

One warning though, Vistaprint can be addictive! :-)

And to balance that out, one piece of advice - make sure the items you purchase are useful or practical. Don't waste money by purchasing something a reader will throw away at the first opportunity. Magnets are winner all round - practical, useful, visible, pretty and timeless.

Here are some of the items I designed and had made up, all were chosen from the "freebie" stock deals Vistaprint sends out regularly - designs are limited, so sometimes I had to choose from what was available and match it to my website brand as best I could. I also spread out my purchases over several months. Special deals for various products occurred at different times too.

Book banners (small)
Book banners (small) require a high resolution jpeg image - at least 1MB to be clear and crisp when printed. I included the book series name, imprint line and my website address.

I've used these at library visits, book signings and other promotional events.

Book plates
Address labels (aka book plates) - because I planned to send out some giveaways of VENGEANCE BORN direct from The Book Depository to contest winners, I couldn't sign them personally.

So I went with book plates, which were just Visaprint address labels. I removed all text from the address boxes and got them sent to me blank. I sign them and post them off separately.

Door magnets (small)
Door magnets (small) - again high resolution jpeg images of my book covers. I also included my website address on them.

Magnets (large & small) - practical and visual. Promoting my covers, release dates, website.

I've given them away at any visit, signing, to friends and acquaintances or as surprise swag to readers (particularly those who followed my blog tour as a "thank you for your loyalty" gesture).

Door magnets
Door magnets (again) - these I send out as swag or special giveaways to my newsletter subscribers.

Postcards (standard)
Postcards (standard size) - again high res.jpegs for a crisp, clear image. Covers on front. Blurb, cover quotes, release dates, website address on the back.

I sent them out to bookstores, libraries and blogs.

Back of postcards
A dual set also went out with every giveaway copy of VENGEANCE BORN, or as swag.

I handed them out at author talks, library visits, even put some at the local general stores for people to take.

Rack Cards (front)
Rack cards - Just a different version of the above but used for the same purposes.

The longer format on the back gave me the chance to add more detailed book review quotes. It also allowed me to fit both books on the front.

Rack Cards (back)
I take them along with me to things like book signings, talks, book club visits etc. I often ask that people take as many as they like and hand them out to friends who may be interested.

Sticky notes, business cards, notepads, keyrings -  all used as giveaway swag.

I just deleted the address and replaced it with the phrase, my website address and my name & brand line.

The key ring and notepads are for special giveaways or contests run on my blog.

Lawn sign (small)
Lawn sign (small) - again high res jpegs of my book covers for this. I kept the text simple and easy to read. I ordered two.

These I lend to libraries and bookstores to advertise upcoming events. They can be placed in windows or displayed on notice boards.

Business cards - I turned one of Vistaprints standard business cards into a "With compliments & thank you" card. I hand it out with everything I giveaway.

Brochures - like the rack cards. Just a different presentation.

I included the imprint line, a book reviewer quote and website address on the front.

On the back the title, series name, blurb, release date, ISBN numbers, and website address again.

Brochure *back)

Stickers - just a bit of fun.

I add them to any envelopes or packages I send out ie. giveaways.

Flyers - special one off's. Kept simple in text to advertise a coming event.

I posted them up on noticeboards in the local communities.

The most frequently used/sent out items so far are magnets (all sorts), book postcards, my modified "With compliments & thanks you" business cards, and the address labels I converted to book plates.

So, now repeat after me - Vistaprint is my new, best friend!

Any questions?


  1. I LOVE Vistaprint....just the best- really great quality products.

    Been getting things from them for years. Looks like you have been having fun!

  2. Kylie,
    (laughs) I think this has to be classified as an addiction!

    Seriously though, all of this is incredible. I'd love to know how much impact you think this has had/will have.

    Love the stickers by the way - that's the five-year-old in me showing.


  3. I adore VP! Oh, and Rack Cards are fabulous for bookmarks- chopping them in half is very therapeutic work too... <3

  4. The stickers are great, Kylie. My inner five y/o wants to come and play. Thanks for sharing all this great information. Now I just have to work out if they're here in New Zealand. Off to play with my other best friend, 'google'. ;-)

    1. They're online and deliver anywhere Toni! (http://www.vistaprint.com.au/)

  5. Hmm,yes I can see how this post might seem like I'm addicted to VP, Kendra - LOL!

    This is all the things I've tried over the last 18months whenever freebie sales have come up. Just wanted to see what I could do.

    Not sure I can measure what works well, Kendra. Not unless people tell me. I do know bookstores like the postcards and bookmarks (aka rack cards cut in two - as Tee mentioned). I ALWAYS send the book postcards and small magnets out with ANY giveaway or swag - I'm of the mind those things stick around on refrigerators for almost forever (I just look at the ones on my refrigerator!).

    The stickers have garnered quite a few comments too - I like putting them on my envelops or post packs when I send out books to giveaway winners.

    Swag is always popular with book blogs if you're not giving away books.

    That's all I can say as far as measuring the success of some of these items. It's all word of mouth stuff I'm afraid.

  6. Bwa ha ha! I got reeled in last week with the sales. Just LOL'd when I saw your lawn sign. I got a lawn sign too! Didn't know what I was going to do with it - but it was FREE! One thing to watch with freebies though, is they hit you for uploading your own photo (book cover etc) to design, then for every slight change they hit you in price again.

  7. Fantastic, thanks for the details Kylie. What fun. So many pretty things to play with. The postcards, rack cards and magnets in particular. Can't wait to put in my first order. Thanks for sharing, Kylie. Your experience is highly valued as always.

    1. Kylie, wait for their freebie promotions - they run the postcards, magnets quite frequently, and keep an eye out for the rack cards.

  8. Don't forget to get all the freebies too. Last time I renewed my business cards I got a plain cotton tote bag with a green recycling symbol on it. It reads "Go green. Buy ebooks." and has my web address underneath.

  9. I got my author business cards from them. Good to see that the other products look as exceptional.


  10. Be careful - you'll get slugged for uploading your own photos/pictures. I upload, log out, then log back in and because they're already there managed to avoid the upload charge.

    They're always there then when you need them.