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5 Merchandising Ideas for Authors

As an author, you should always be looking for new and exciting methods to interact with your audience while, at the same time, extending your brand’s reach. Creating “official” branded merchandise is an easy way to promote your brand and your books without spending copious amounts of money.

Even if you have yet to build a large title list, creating “official” author merchandise provides you with an opportunity to extend your brand and books into new, previously un-tapped areas. On top of producing fun giveaway items (and giveaways allow you to build your fan base!), “official” merchandise allows you to control how your brand is presented and represented. Note that it’s best to set the standard for your brand from the start, rather than allowing fans to create their own versions when your book(s) become popular.

Is it time to start creating some branded merchandise? If so, our book marketing experts are here with 5 awesome ideas to inspire your creative side:

1)    Posters

This idea works for both fiction and non-fiction authors. The poster may be an imagined image of a main character, your front cover, or a diagram explaining a key business model referenced in your book. If your imagery has resonated with your readers, many will be happy to hang it as a reminder.

2)    Paper Products 

Items such as bookmarks, notepads, and notebooks/journals can be branded with your author logo. Use your imagination here! Does your book feature a key paper product? A newspaper? A plane ticket? A map? Create a copy that your fans can buy. Maybe they’ll even frame it!

3)    Clothing 

Many websites  (i.e. Galloree.com) offer the option for print-on-demand t-shirts, sweatshirts, or hats. It’s an easy and cost-effective method to produce quality clothing for your fans on a trial basis before investing in stocking a product. Work with a graphic designer to come up with some cool designs, and then set up a “store” with an online distributor.

4)    Accessories 

Much like creating branded clothing, it’s easy to find a company that can cheaply create branded accessories (necklaces, hair clips, wristbands, belts, hats, etc.). You should also consider “everyday items” such as mugs, lunch boxes, phone cases, and calendars.

5)    Get Creative 

At the end of the day, there are an unlimited number of ways an author can merchandise their brand and books. With that being said, GET CREATIVE! For example, if your book features a steamy romance, create downloadable Valentines cards on your website.

Publisher’s Perspective

When you sign a new author, it’s important to address the merchandising rights in any contract negotiations to avoid future disputes. Often, the publisher pays the full cost of creating merchandise for an author. If your merchandise budget is restricted, put your merchandise dollars behind a series, as there will be a growing fan base that will support future books and merchandise.

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Have you created any branded merchandise before?