Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Workshop #3: Free Read Booklet

Like most avid readers, I'm sure you've lost count of how many books you purchased and never finished reading.  Often the author's writing style or subject matter just didn't click with your reading preference. It doesn't mean that the book wasn't well written, it just means that book wasn't your cup of tea.

From the author's perspective, a book was sold.  BUT, if the reader doesn't connect with your work, you won't have a repeat customer or a raving fan.  The reality is that it is impossible to connect with every reader on the planet, however by better defining your target audience you will increase your chances of finding your readership (customers).  One tool to help find your readership is a Free Read Booklet.

Free Read Booklets are a great way to:
  • widely promote your book before it is published (to build buzz and interest)
  • allow your readers to 'try before they buy'
  • provide a signed and personalized memento for readers

For e-pubed authors: free reads are a great way to give signatures and promote your book at book signings.

Pictured below are two booklets distributed at the April RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago.  The one on the left is for Tes Hilaire's latest work: Deliver me from Darkness. The one on the right is for Maire Claremont's The Dark Lady.

Ms. Hilaire had her free read professionally printed with a card stock cover and glossy pages.  Ms. Claremont printed her booklet on standard paper.  Both are bound with staples.

Morgan says: Unlike bookmarks, you can save some money by making your free read booklets on your home computer!  As long as you keep your work neat and professional, you'll be all set.

If you don't have software that can automatically layout your booklet for printing, here's a way to easily do your own layout and print your booklets:
  • Start with blank pieces of paper folded in half to make a mock up of your booklet
  • Booklet Mock Up
  • Number the pages to know their positions for final printing 
  • Numbered pages for layout

    Take the book apart to see the page layout needed.  Notice that pages 1 & 10 are on one side of the sheet, while the back and cover are on the opposite side.

  • In MS Word, use the landscape orientation for your pages and insert text boxes to layout your booklet
  • Print and assemble using a long reach stapler  (you can find a long reach stapler at any office supply store)
Morgan says: WARNING: I only recommend free reads for books that are published or have a set publication date.  I picked up a VERY interesting free read at RT.  When I went to buy the book, I was extremely disappointed to learn that it was not available for sale.  I went to the author's website and found out that their free read was a work in progress without a publication date.   Remember, your goal is to sell more books and attract raving fans....not frustrate potential readers.  Needless to say, I won't be buying that book anytime soon.

Note: Use this technique to create blank journals for readers at conferences and book signings - just put your book cover and web address on the front!

 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 want to share but we love to target our answers to specific questions.

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