Day 26: Printed Giveaways

If your book is about to be published, save a little in your budget for giveaways. I’ve had a few books come out that were square, so I created little three-inch-square business cards that look like mini books because they have the image in the same shape as my cover. I often get compliments and surprised smiles when I hand them out. Kindergarten Rocks card
When I first started in this business, I spent countless hours at the local Kinko’s, spending a ton of money creating activity pages and bookmarks to give away. O! The frustration of trying to get something centered or the shade of magenta to come out just right, and the person behind the counter not caring that my beloved career depended on perfection!
Now you can upload your art to a site that’ll print it out in full color on both sides (a printing process called four over four printing—the reason I’m telling you that will become clear in a moment). I say “art,” but all you writers out there can contact your illustrators and/or publishers, and if you’re promoting the book, I can almost guarantee that they’ll be fine with your using whatever art was created for that book. Just be respectful and don’t change anything, or suggest ways to split costs for these kinds of things (perhaps writer pays for the piece while illustrator does the work?).

Kindergarten Rocks card
Back of card, with a place to write a note!

Another idea for writer-onlys is things that might go along with your book but do not specifically need art. When my book Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job came out, I created certificates of congratulations signed by the tooth fairy. I also created notes from the tooth fairy to children who had yet to lose any teeth and were really sad about that! You can get stock art of teeth for that, and again I urge you to visit
Now I’ve used Puzzlemaker to create reproducibles for teachers and libraries, or to give at festivals.
And I’ve printed my visit brochures, postcards, and bookmarks at various online printers, such as (now you know the reason for their name), and, and I highly recommend both for their customer service and quality. But there are many online printers out there now. The cost will be determined depending on what you need, so you should look at two or three sites before deciding. And don’t forget to search for promotional codes! Sometimes I’m just about to hit that “purchase” button when I remember to do a search and find 20% off! I’ve found the most dependable coupons on
The great thing is that they’re so cheap that you can do more than one thing. Willywalt sells 5,000 bookmarks starting at $149! Make sure to use all that real estate and include all your covers, and the front and back! It’s a promotional card, and you can use them as your business card.
I love what Jane Yolen told me. She said, “I give out bookmarks with a poem on each, all about writing.”
Loreen Leedy says to Make an Uncommon Coloring Page:
“For my picture book My Teacher Is a Dinosaur and Other Prehistoric Poems, Jokes, Riddles, & Amazing Facts, I took the existing line art of a trilobite from one of the illustrations. I enlarged it to fill an 8 1/2 X 11 page, drew in a few rocks, some My teacher is a dinosaurprehistoric coral, and the word Trilobite in hollow, fun-to-color letters. The book title and a copyright notice appear in small type along the bottom. I posted it on my website, blog, and Facebook author page as a ‘Free Trilobite Coloring Page.’ Only a few weeks later, if you go to Google Images and search for ‘trilobite coloring,’ my trilobite is on the top row at #3. It also comes up #3 on a regular Google search on ‘trilobite coloring page.’
“So, if you have an unusual element of your book suitable for a coloring page or activity sheet, it can turn up very high in search results. It was important that ‘trilobite’ and ‘coloring’ were in the post title. Creative post titles that don’t reveal what is in the post do NOT help achieve high search results, as far as I know. In addition, trilobites are often specifically mentioned in elementary science curriculum guides, which makes it more likely that educators will search for one.

Recent Comments

  • Mel Bugaj
    April 15, 2011 - 6:54 am · Reply

    I used Puzzlemaker as an educator in my classroom. Thank you for the other resources. We are always looking for a new site to find pictures! I am loving these posts, Katie. Thanks!

  • Loreen Leedy
    April 17, 2011 - 8:07 pm · Reply

    Thanks for including my trilobite idea in this post, Katie! One tip that I haven’t implemented yet (it’s on the list!) is to have a good way to count how many people actually download a freebie. If I knew that 500 people were downloading something, I would definitely be inspired to make more. One suggestion from Mo Manning is to keep the freebie files on, so that is one to check out.

    • katie
      April 18, 2011 - 8:34 am · Reply

      Oh, that is interesting! I will include that in the eBook! In my site, I have Jetpack installed so WordPress does keeps track of which links are clicked.

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