Collateral materials are printed materials that support your marketing effort, such as posters, postcards, flyers, and bookmarks. If you’re working with a book designer (like the Book Alchemist), he or she can probably also design and produce your collateral materials — and they’ll look especially good with your book if the same designer does it all.

What you’ll include depends on where and how you want to use each piece. Consider:

  • An image of your book’s cover
  • An author headshot
  • A short description of your book
  • A stellar blurb
  • Info about how to buy your book
  • Info about author events
  • Your website’s URL

Posters are especially helpful if you need some height (e.g., if you’re sitting at a book fair or a meet-and-greet table and want to be noticed by people more than four feet tall).

Most authors bring posters to book fairs. Here, Mike Sewall sports a T-shirt with an image of his book cover and stands in front of a poster (which itself is on a stand) at the Central Coast Writers Conference book fair in San Luis Obispo, CA. His table was easy to spot.

Flyers are good for handing out to people behind you in line at the grocery store (be sure to ask permission first), affixing to the windows of coffee shops, booksellers, and post offices (be sure to ask permission first), and stapling to telephone poles (go wild).

Bookplates are a good back-up plan in case you unexpectedly run out of books at your launch event. See Be sure you’ll have enough copies of your book on hand for a clever way to use bookplates.

Bookmarks and pins are popular give-away items at author events. You can also leave a supply with booksellers who are carrying your book.

Next step: Consider some special offers.