Believe it or not, color postcards are considerably cheaper than bookmarks. This is because the paper for postcards (I suggest the 4×6 size) is a standard size and doesn’t have to be trimmed out from larger cardstock like the bookmarks.
Of course, one side of the postcard will be your cover photo in four-color process. The backside is black and white but limited to the left half of the paper. Postal regulations (why have postcard if you aren’t going to mail some of them) require a full 50% of the right-hand backside be reserved for the USPS.
On the left side, you should include a synopsis of your story and maybe a little something about you (that’s optional), and then maybe some info about where people can buy the book.
Let’s assume you want to, and may actually get, some of your postcards into bookstores. Bookstore managers do want to advertise their internet competitors, so omit any mention of Amazon or Barnes & Noble and limit it to generic “internet sellers.”
Likewise, every good author should support libraries. Libraries, also, may put out your postcards. Of course, this is more likely if your book is in their collection. So, you might also consider a plug for libraries on your postcard. (I didn’t have room but did do so on my bookmarks.)
Postcards are easy to carry in a jacket pocket or purse and easy to have with you at all kinds of events. If you run into someone you know, somewhere during the conversation, ask them, “Have you read my book?” After they get over the shock and admit they haven’t, whip out a postcard. Of course, seeing the photo of the cover with your name on it will prove you weren’t fooling them. Whether they buy the book or not (and you hope they do), they may at least pass the postcard on to someone else.
Bookmarks are nice to have at book signings or any other event where you might have a table or display. Unless you have some sponsor who has purchased books for you to sign and give away to their employees, for example, always remember you are not in business to give books away (as one author taught me, “there is writing and then there is the business of writing”). That’s when postcards some in handy.
I also include one or two postcards in every book I mail out. Having faith in my novel, I expect people to like it and if they like it, they might want to tell others about it and give a postcard. Or, even better, if they are reading the book somewhere and another person sees them, or the cover, and asks, “What book is that you’re reading?’’ “Oh,” they respond, “it’s The Blizzard, that new, award-winning novel by Marty Martins. I’m really enjoying it! Here let me give you a postcard.” (Us authors are eternal optimists, right?)
Obviously, postcards are for “posting.” Especially when your book is brand new, that’s the time to mail out postcards to every friend, relative, and acquaintance you know. Use the proper postage for postcards! Don’t waste your Forever stamps or other first-class postage.
When The Blizzard made its debut and I sent out complimentary copies to special friends and families, I sent along four postcards with stamps already on them and asked those people if they would be kind enough to address the cards to someone they knew and pop them in the mail.
Postcards are a very handy, and inexpensive, way to promote your book and something you should definitely consider. If you have any questions, you can always reach me through the Contact page on my website.