View Full Version : Weird (for me) thought: T-shirts

01-31-2016, 05:53 PM
I was pondering buying a t-shirt with my cover art on it. Wearing it to places like the mall, Wal-Mart and the grocery store. Anyone else do this, or is it so inept that I should hit myself in the head? I don't know if it will sell any books, but I wonder if it will get people to stop me and ask about my book.

Or, is there a better way to spend the 30 bucks that it would cost to do this?

Book won't be out until at least Valentine's day. I plan to upload and self-pub around that day, but I don't know how long it will take to make it live.

Old Hack
01-31-2016, 07:10 PM
I am not convinced that T shirts sell much product directly (and when I worked in computer games marketing I was for a while in charge of buying promotional T shirts--not that that is directly relevant to book marketing). But they do increase awareness of the author and the book, so might well help in conjunction with your other promotional activities.

I don't think a single T shirt would do much, though. You'd probably have to get quite a few, and get them worn a lot, to have a positive effect.

01-31-2016, 07:35 PM
That was my thought, too. (I seem to be following Old Hack around, nodding my agreement, today.) Can you get twenty people to wear your shirt in public places? Fifty? If lots of people start seeing that shirt around, that might impact sales.

01-31-2016, 08:23 PM
Can't afford that many t-shirts myself, and my FB friends wouldn't spend 30 dollars on me, lol. I'll be happy if they spend the 3 dollars for the book. I know buying in bulk would save money...but 30 dollars will be tight. Can you think of a better marketing idea for 30 dollars?

Thanks for you input. I'm almost done with the editing. I'm about as sastified as I can be. According to grammar check, I've fixed all the passive voice and the fragments that need to be changed. I'll do another pass through make sure everything makes sense...ranks and names match up...what happens in chapter 3 and chapter 20 match up...things like that. So, I'm trying to imagine promotion I can do. 30 dollars is probably the max I can swing when the book goes live.

I wonder if BAM would have a problem with me walking around their book store with the t-shirt on.

PS. The only place I checked was customink.com. There might be cheaper places, I guess.

01-31-2016, 08:33 PM
My friends made t-shirts for both of my books and it was great fun. I realized the moment I first put mine on that I felt like an utter tool wearing a shirt with my book cover on it. It was cool if they wore it and explained to the maybe two people who might ever ask what the shirt was referencing, but I nearly died of mortification just imagining the hypothetical conversation where I was trying to make a light-hearted sales-pitch of my clothes.

Not for me.

Still, I enjoy having them. It's fun.

After all these years and the hundreds of writers I've talked to, in all stages of their careers, I am completely unconvinced that swag has ever sold enough books to cover the Zazzle or Oriental Trading Company bill.

01-31-2016, 08:39 PM
Have you ever stopped someone to ask about the book/game/movie/whatever on their t-shirt?

That'd be your answer.

01-31-2016, 08:47 PM
Bear in mind that effective t-shirt advertising has to fit within the 5-second window of viewer recognition. (Marketers have a term for this, but I can't remember it at the moment.) Your image has to be distinctive and interesting enough to catch people's attention very quickly. How is it as Thumbnail image on Amazon? That's what it will be on the average shirt, from about 25 feet away.

01-31-2016, 09:03 PM
Okay, t-shirts, twitter, and FB don't work. I'm running out of cheap options for promotion. LOL, back to the ol' drawing board.

01-31-2016, 09:19 PM
It's true. Promotion is very difficult. The thing is, we know how people buy books - from writers they've read before, through recommendations of people and entities they know, from reviews and promotions at the venues where they go looking for books, and occasionally from stumbling across a compelling package (cover and jacket summary).

Any efforts outside of these things should be carefully considered in a cost/benefit analysis. Almost anything can be helpful within these lanes, even social media, but once anyone starts paying for items with your book info on them, the likelihood of such an investment earning out is only slight.

01-31-2016, 09:34 PM
I'm reading the SEO thread at the top and Medi's ideas scare me. I mean the amount of time. How do you keep track of a personal FB page, and author/book FB page, a website, Twitter, Goodreads, Kindle, and everything else and still have time for a life, job, and more writing. It's a good thing I don't sleep very well. It looks like I'm not going to have time.

01-31-2016, 09:43 PM
It gets even worse when you have a pen name or three...

01-31-2016, 10:45 PM
I write in 3 different genres, at least. Alt. History, scifi, and thrillers...I've heard that it's better to use a pen name if you go far outside of your previous genre. If I have to have a website for the pen names, well...that isn't going to happen. LOL