Making bookmarks - Karen Bush

A while back I wrote a book with a friend about how to help dogs afraid of fireworks to cope with the phobia: my co-author, Tellington TTouch practitioner Toni Shelbourne also decided to run some special workshops focussing particularly on this issue which affects so many pets. Toni got some postcards printed to hand out to any interested people, and all five hundred of them had gone within three months.
Front - with margin to
allow for trimming
When it came to getting some more printed, I had an idea - instead of postcards, why not get bookmarks made up instead? It would still be marketing material, with all the relevant information on it, but would be more like handing out a small gift rather than being a bit of blatant advertising. From personal experience, I also reasoned that postcards and flyers often get tidied (or thrown) away, disappearing from sight and therefore mind - and when you do want to lay hands on it, of course you can never find it, although it is guaranteed to mysteriously appear a month later .... A bookmark on the other hand, tends to get used. It's there under your nose - and will get re-used on the next book you read, and so on. Other people may even get to see it. It's slightly more subtle, less of a hard-sell than a postcard. And if a reader has bought the E-book version of your tome, it gives you something you can sign for them, if they wish.
And the reverse
With this in mind I had a whisk round the more popular business and and marketing materials websites and found that none of them offered bookmarks. Checking out Vistaprint's business card section (where we had originally ordered our postcards) and I did find however, that they offered a large postcard measuring 99mm x 210mm. Cut that in half lengthwise, I thought and trala! - a perfectly sized bookmark. And what's more, I discovered, tapping busily away on my trusty calculator, by splitting each card into two bookmarks, you are getting twice as many cards for your money and it all worked out at 5p cheaper per card/bookmark than the previous postcards. 
Designing a bookmark isn't exactly rocket science either - if you have made your own covers for E-books or CreateSpace you'll find it a doddle - but even if you haven't, don't be put off because it really is very, very easy. I decided to use the cover from the Fireworks book on the front, and add our website and Facebook page info to it. When you upload your images to the Vistaprint (or other) template check that they are the right size and fit within any trim lines (see, not so different from uploading a CreateSpace cover) and - obviously - that each of your duplicated images and any text you add on front or reverse fits within half of the total space available. 
Ready for cutting: the back ... 
... and the front ...
Check it carefully (especially text) and view a proof - better still, print it out as you may find you spot errors that are easy to miss on screen - and when you are happy with it, press the publish button, pay online and wait for them to arrive. The only task left then is to get busy with a guillotine, or a sharp craft knife and steel rule: which is, it turns out, the perfect guilt-free dilatory activity - unlike wasting time playing Solitaire or Candy Crush Saga when you should be getting your new novel nailed to the screen, this is of course, an essential book-related and vitally important chore.
It was so much fun in fact that I did it all over again, for my Haunting Hounds book ...

And here are some we made earlier.
Including the deluxe version with the red tassell ...


Mari Biella said…
Very useful, Karen - thank you. If I manage to find some free time at some point in the coming decade, I might give it a go... :-)
Wendy H. Jones said…
Great tip and it does sound like fun.
Umberto Tosi said…
Fab idea. I wouldn't have thought of it - especially,as you say, as a way to "autograph" an ebook! Clever and memorable. Think I'll try this. Thank you, Karen.
Chris Longmuir said…
What a brilliant idea, Karen. Like you, I've looked in vain for bookmarks. I did do some on the computer printing them out on Photo paper, but they didn't look as good as I'd have liked. I must find a minute to test it out.
Chris Longmuir said…
One question. did you type the text into the Vistaprint Template or did you upload an image of the text in the same way you would upload the front image?
madwippitt said…
Uploaded an image Chris - was easier to play around and insert and size images and more fonts to play with. If you can make an ebook cover, you can do this - it really is very simples
My publisher used Vistaprint to order some bookmarks for my Pendragon series - I think they must be the full-width ones because they are rather big! Chopping them in half is a great idea... I love the one with the red tassel!

Tip for signing: leave some white/pale space for this, and only do glossy finish on the front. Then you can use any old pen and your signature won't smudge!
Lydia Bennet said…
thanks for this lovely idea Karen! having something to sign is nice too.

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