I have no idea how to make a promotional flyer for my book(s). Help?
March 27, 2013 11:58 AM   Subscribe

I've got two books. I need to make flyers for the local sci-fi/fantasy con. I've never made a flyer for anything, ever. Where can I find good examples or tutorials?

So it's time for the big regional sci-fi/fantasy con in my town. I've got two pretty successful self-pubbed books now. I want to leave some half-sheet flyers on the tables & put 'em up on the bulletin boards at the con (like everyone else does), but I have ZERO experience in putting such things together. I've got a decent computer with MS Word (2007ish) and such, so I know I have the capacity to make them, and i can afford to get a bunch printed at Kinko's or wherever.

Obviously I want to include the cover pics of my books and to cite my awesome average score of reader reviews, but past that... what do I do?

My Google-fu is failing me on finding decent examples. I'd love to have base models to adapt & alter as I will... help?
posted by scaryblackdeath to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't use word. I'd download paint.net or a trial of photoshop elements (or even a trial of full-on photoshop, come to think of it). If you go the photoshop route, you could purchase and download a flyer template from graphicriver.net. You should be able to find something to do the job fine there.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:02 PM on March 27, 2013

Pay someone else to do it. Post an ad on Craigslist or go find someone in the graphic design/advertising/communications departments of your local university. Otherwise, it's going to look terrible and degrade the perception of the quality of your book. Remember, pay them. Don't expect them to work for free. Didn't someone design your book covers? Can they do it?
posted by thylacine at 12:18 PM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Having been to plenty of SF cons, I think you can really, really save yourself the cost of a designer and work from templates. Frankly, if you work from a template rather than moving text around on word, you're probably going to run circles around most SF authors on this one.

(Design for con flyers hasn't really caught up to the age of photoshop.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:29 PM on March 27, 2013

I agree with PhoBWan - I wouldn't use Word. I would use a graphics design program, or get someone to do it for me. You could probably find someone for a couple hundred bucks. I Googled "book flyer creation" and found several design options.

As far as title information goes, I would include your title, your name, the list price, ISBN, annotation of the books, and some reviews. Also your website if you have one, and/or a way for people to contact you/buy your books.

I might do something a little sturdier than a flier/half flier - a bookmark or postcard, maybe. You don't need to give the reader all that much information, as long as you make it easy for them to find your books when they get home.
posted by lyssabee at 12:30 PM on March 27, 2013

If you find yourself looking for an option between dyi and paying a professional, when I worked at (FedEx) Kinko's, they subcontracted with a surprisingly good design mill. A flyer cost $35, and if given vague instructions and told to be creative, they'd often send back really nice stuff. And alternatively, if you don't like it, up-front deposits were only ever half-heartedly requested, and people frequently just walked. I doubt any of this has changed much since I left.
posted by teremala at 12:51 PM on March 27, 2013

I staff a convention, and do the vast majority of its graphic design, including ads, flyers, and the program book, and I can tell you that if you know that white space is not your enemy, if you can stand to trim your text down to as streamlined as possible, and if you can stay far, far away from Word text effects, you will be head-and-shoulders above the majority of flyers out there.

Don't limit yourself to looking just at other book flyers. Drop "[xxx] design inspiration" into Google, where [xxx] equals, "flyer," "brochure," "poster," and other advertisement and announcement words, and you'll hit a mother lode of SEO-friendly blog posts titled "15 Inspirational Flyer Designs" and "The 30 Greatest Poster Designs". Then start modifying that search with adjectives like "clean" and "simple" and "minimalistic" to see what you get.

And put a QR code on the flyer that links to your website and a sample of your book. A con is one of the places you can be sure the majority of attendees will be carrying devices with QR code readers.

And some more advice on quick-n-dirty self-teaching if you decide to DIY it:

Whether your flyer is on a table or a board, it will be competing like mad with a host of badly-designed flyers surrounding it. Simple, clean, strong design that will catch the eye in a fraction of a second as someone walking by scans the table or wall is what's called for.

I would take some time to go through the publicly-available video archive of tips on graphic design at the Before & After Design Magazine website, and the blog posts there. (If you decide to subscribe, you also gain access to a private forum populated by amateur and professional designers who can answer questions and point you in the direction of resources, but it's a bit pricey if you don't plan on doing a lot of design.)

Stack Exchange has a beta forum for graphic design that's free to join and poke around in. Hack Design has a free design course that supplies you links to articles from around the Web. It's geared towards web designers, but the principles of design are pretty much the same (it's just the technical bits that are different).
posted by telophase at 1:15 PM on March 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

don't over think it.

get a cheap template form:


download the 30 day demo of Photoshop. Insert your graphic/words into the pre-designed template

it will look 10x better than a weekend worth of sweating over "designing" a flyer when you should be concentrating on writing the sequel to your book. (unless everyone dies in the first one).
posted by bobdow at 2:40 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

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