Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Workshop #1: Bookmark Design Best Practices

So far, we've provided you with a series of field trips to help you discover and explore marketing in your everyday world.  It occurred to us that we haven't given you any workshops!

Today's workshop will focus on bookmark design.  Why are bookmarks still relevant in the ever growing world of e-readers?  Well, when used properly, they are a handy promotional tool.  They also provide a means for an author to give a signature to a fan who may only read books on an e-reader.

Here is an example of a professionally designed bookmark from HARPER (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers) for Melissa Marr ( .... [overall dimensions: 2.5" x 8" (6.35 cm x 20.32 cm)]

Morgan says:  Here is what I LOVE about this bookmark:
  • One side showcases all of the books in Ms. Marr's Wicked Lovely series.  Most importantly, it shows the books in the order they should be read.  (Ms. Marr pointed this fact out to me when I met her at the RT Book Lovers Convention in Chicago in April.)  So now the reader not only has a name to look for at the bookstore, they also have a cover image.
  • The other side showcases her latest work...which also happens to be the last book in the series.
  • Her name pops up a total of eight times in various places.
  • The QR code, when scanned by a smart phone, takes you to a phone friendly web page that includes loads of content like: where Ms. Marr will be signing books in the near future, snapshots / pictures she used for her world building <tres cool!>, info on her books, how to get a signed galley of her next book Carnival of Souls, links to her Twitter, Facebook, and Blog....  Why is this so ingenious?  These books are Young Adult fiction - BRILLIANT! - we all know most YA-ers are pretty darn tech savvy and enjoy viewing content on their smart phones.  If they don't have a smart phone, the web address is also provided.
  • This piece is both a PUSH (showing you all her books) and a PULL (drawing you to her online PERSONA via her website and social media).
Here are  two examples of author designed bookmarks.  The first is by Delilah Marvelle ( for her Scandal Series.  The second is by Maureen O. Betita ( for The Kraken's Caribbean Series <Steampunk Pirates - woo whoo!>.

Morgan says: Here is what I LOVE about these pieces:
  • Ms. Marvelles bookmark has the overall dimensions of  3" x 8" (7.62 cm x 20.32 cm) and Ms. Betita's bookmark is 2" x 7" (5.08 cm x 17.78 cm). Both sizes work well, however the larger size gives you more real estate for your marketing.
  • Ms. Marvelle's books do not have to be read in a specific order, however, Ms. Betita's do have an order and the covers are shown in the correct order.
  • The QR code on Ms. Betita's bookmark takes you directly to her website via your smart phone.
  • "Are you ready to be Scandalized?" is catchy and the WARNING is memorable.
  • Both author's names are prominently displayed.
  • Both bookmarks have blank, white backs...not only does this save on printing costs, but it also gives the author a space for a signature to create a reader souvenir.
One thing I would also like to note is that there really isn't a ton of text on any of these bookmarks. They are more visual in their messaging.  The goal of each piece is to SELL MORE BOOKS by showcasing a series and giving you a peek at the author's PERSONA.

If you don't have a series of books to promote: Don't fret!  Model your bookmark after the front of Melissa Marr's bookmark that showcases Darkest Mercy.  Use a QR code to link to your website.

Put bookmarks to work by handing them out like calling cards!

Ok - I mentioned "QR codes" a few times in this post.  If you are wondering: "What the heck is a 'QR code'?  Don't worry, we've got you covered.  Next week, all three of our posts will be by guest blogger M. K. Hobson, a fellow author and marketing professional.  Her posts will cover how to generate a QR code and how to use them to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we feel are needed for us to share but we would love to target our answers to specific questions. 


  1. Thanks so much for the comments on my bookmark. My husband is the wizard behind getting it all put together!

  2. Thanks for the great advice, ladies! Now that I'll have TIME, I will be reading your blog religiously.

    And of course using your great tips.

    Cathryn Cade

  3. Thanks for sharing, you have done a great job here!
    Chris Evans Jacket

  4. Thank you for sharing this information. Bookmarks are cheap and easy to give out. Authors should not over look this piece of marketing.
    Dr. Annmarie Edwards