What NOT to do for a postcard campaign…

I think I’ve mentioned before that my knowledge of this whole author game was somewhere between zilch and not much prior to getting my deal for the Edge of Extinction series…right? If you’d forgotten, there’s your reminder. You’re welcome. Anyways, I’ve learned quite a bit along the way, most of which by trial and error.

Anyways, on my fledging author journey, I was lucky enough to meet the one and only Saundra Mitchell. Guys, the girl has written boatloads of books, and she’s funny and fabulous and I got to have lunch with her at Panera once. (John David Anderson was also there…and I felt like I’d been invited to the cool kids’ table.)

Along with being funny and fabulous, she also markets her books REALLY well, and I’ve made a habit of picking her brain every time I’m lucky enough to end up on a panel with her or at the same signing event. I also moseyed on over to her blog to snoop around there for tips…as all new clueless writers should. It was here that she mentioned postcard campaigns, and I got excited. Postcards! I could totally do postcards! They didn’t require a babysitter or even leaving the house! YES! I read her post a few times then started price shopping online for a good deal on postcards. The problem was that I had no real idea what it should look like. Saundra gives some information on what should go ON the postcard information wise…but that was it. I found a lot of beautiful postcard examples online for illustrators, but not even one example for authors. So, like any novice, I decided to wing it. And wing it I did…

Mistake #1– When purchasing postcards…more is not always better. I was about to order 500 postcards (enough to mail to every Indiana Library, Middle School, and Elementary school) when a deal popped up. For only a few more dollars I could order 1000 instead of 500. No brainer right!? How long can it take to hand write a thousand postcards? Answer….no clue. I’ll let you know. Six months later and I’m still staring at A LOT of unwritten postcards.

Mistake #2- Upgrading your postcard to the larger size because it’s prettier and more impressive looking. While both those things are true, they also can’t be mailed as a postcard with a postcard priced stamp. They need a regular stamp…now you’re spending A LOT more money.

Mistake #3– Putting too much information on the back and not leaving any room for the post office to put their processing information on it. So now you have to put your “postcard” in an envelope…so it’s not really a postcard anymore…is it?

Mistake #4- Misprinting your labels so many times that you end up just cutting the labels out with scissors and piecing your addresses together like the most obnocious puzzle ever. This takes a LONG time. It also makes you want to scream.

So there you have it. A LOOOOONG list of screw ups that left me with a mountain of postcards that I’d spent a good chunk of change on (see mistake #2), and no where to go but onward…spending even MORE money so I didn’t waste the money I’d already spent. LIFE LESSONS ARE FUN. Especially when you have a husband that’s good at math and can tell you how many books each postcard would have to sell for you to make it all worth it. The answer…a lot.

The good thing is that I did manage to salvage the situation, and even learned a few tricks along the way.


Trick #1– If you have to use envelopes, buy the cute colorful ones ½ off at Hobby Lobby. This will help your postcard stand out.

Trick #2– Dino Stamps Are Awesome. A small detail like this shows that you put effort into this, and will hopefully keep your envelope from dying a horrible death in the trash can.

Trick #3– Get discounted Stamps.   Did you know that Ebay sells stamps? Did you also know that when Ebay sends you a promo code for say 15 dollars off your next 75 dollar purchase…you can put that towards stamps? Yup. #Winning

Trick #4– It’s all a lot less painful if you do it while watching a good movie with your mom helping you. Because, as we all know, moms make everything better.

Trick #5– Fun pens make everything better. I linked my favorites here.

So there you have it. Lots of mistakes…a few things learned. Now I’m off to write a few more hundred postcards…because it would be nice to get this set done before I need to make some for FLOAT! Sigh.

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