Promoting books for non-profit organizations who want to publish can be challenging due to the lack of funding for such projects. Here are some strategies to market and design for these projects on a shoestring budget:
- Think outside the norm. There are several expected collateral items like posters and bookmarks, that are always good to have. But, in order to make a splash in this media saturated world, you have to be a little more creative. Is there an item that is representative of a theme in the book that could be labeled with the website and book cover (like matchbooks or nail polish).
- Think about gorilla marketing strategies. What is something that can be done or placed in people's everyday surroundings that will make them stop and take notice because it is discordant? How about a chalk drawing on the sidewalk, or signs placed in unusual locations.
- Look to your friends and connections for opportunities. Can someone donate an event space? Can you find a way to collaborate and share the media light with a fellow organization?
- Use your volunteers wisely. Volunteers are helping for the love of the organization, to make connections, and to learn. The best way to insure that their eagerness doesn't turn into burnout is to be organized and make communication a priority.
For a book project I'm working on for Street Roots, I conceived of, and created give-aways in the form of small, one-serving coffee bean bags. This was my process: I got the beans and burlap donated by Caffe Vita. I happened to have some plastic baggies on hand from another design project to use to seal in the beans for freshness. I bought black twine to tie the bags off with from Collage on Alberta. I designed the layout for the tags incorporating the art of the illustrator (Chris Haberman) that will be used for the final book cover. I printed and cut all the tags. I cut and sewed all the mini burlap bags, and assembled all the various parts. Total cost: $22 Total woman hours: 17
Below are photos of the end product. They were distributed at Wordstock to promote, I Am Not a Poet (to be launched Feb. 2014).