Merchandise Ideas [Book Events Series]

So before I get into my merchandising ideas, October the 3rd & 4th is the NZ Independent Book Festival. It’s the second annual event of its kind and a first for New Zealand. Over the month leading up to the festival, I’ll be doing posts that are specific to writers who want to make the most out of author events.

The ideas I put forth are primarily from my own experience, but as well as my own blog posts, I’ll be doing a link round-up every week of other articles that (I think) are worth reading. Or skim reading. Or at LEAST looking at the pictures 🙂

Why Merchandise?

Other than the fun of seeing products inspired by your own books, merchandise expands the price range, is a great freebie, and can work as advertising. My print books are in the $13-$60 range. Having pens that are $3, colouring books at $10 and bookmarks that are free provide something for people who want to support you but don’t (or can’t) spend a lot. Because it’s got your logo / artwork / title / name on it, merchandise is one way of advertising – and it gives people who have already bought your books something else to fall in love with!

How to Design Merchandise

Basically what I do is take an image I like from the book (my illustrator and I agreed on my right to merchandise in our contract – make sure you check that you are not breaking copyright) and then I stick a quote on top. That’s actually it. I use PicMonkey, which is a web-based, free to use software.

Merchandising Ideas

The list is massive! Pens work wonderfully for me, and bookmarks are a no-brainer (what reader couldn’t do with another bookmark?). The colouring books work really well (thank you to my sister for convincing me to do them!) because it’s using what I already have – think Harry Potter in the Triwizard Tournament. What are you good at? How can you use that to build products around your books?

  • bookmarks
  • pens
  • colouring books (I do custom pages if you’re interested)
  • tote bags
  • t-shirts
  • jewellery
  • greeting cards
  • postcards
  • fine art prints
  • mugs
  • notebooks
  • temporary tattoos
  • flash drives
  • rulers
  • calculators
  • stickers
  • silicon bands
  • phone cases
  • keyrings

…and honestly, the list goes on and on and on. Be creative!

For more information on the NZ Book Festival, go to www.nzbookfestival.com.

2 Responses to “Merchandise Ideas [Book Events Series]

  • What an awesome blog series 🙂 I’m looking forward to the rest! May I ask who you get to produce the pens? I’ve heard that those made by Vistaprint often wear off the illustration the more it is used.

    • Z.R. Southcombe
      2 years ago

      I’ve used Vistaprint. The first pens I had made by them were in March of this year, and I haven’t had any complaints or seen any issues myself. Most people have commented on how smoothly they write, as well.

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