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Six Lessons I Learned in Making My First Flyers (Updated)

Mailing lists, social media, and other online channels are the most commonly used marketing tools for selling books in 2017, but there will always be a place for in-person promotion.

Book fairs, trade shows, and book readings are great opportunities to meet fans, catch the attention of new readers, and generally advance your writing career.

There’s nothing better than the human connection, but if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck then you will also need to have flyers, bookmarks, or some other marketing material to hand out.

I just received the first flyers I have ever designed, and I waned to share four lessons I learned.

BTW, starting next week I am going to hold "Marketing Monday" events in my FB group. Why not post your flyer, and see what everyone thinks?

Start with 8.5 x 11 Stock Designs

Here’s something I didn’t learn until much later: Of all the stock designs on Canva, the ones that were the easiest to adapt were the page-sized designs. I had to heavily customize the designs of all of my smaller flyers, but I found several large flyers that I could use as is. All I had to do was replace the filler text with content that was more effective (it explained how the reader benefited from my services, and described them).

Revise, Revise, Revise

A flyer is just as important as a book cover, and that is why you should revise your first flyer multiple times before you print it.

Don’t print the first draft of your flyer, nor the twenty-first.

In my case, the first 6 drafts of my first flyer were so bad that they will never see the light of day. They were all Canva stock designs that turned out not to be very good at all.

The flyer that I ended up printing went through:

  • three background colors,
  • two different graphics,
  • four taglines,
  • two font changes, and
  • a dozen (I think) changes to the text on the back.

Just about the only detail I didn’t change multiple times was the font choice for my company’s name.

And at least four of the changes were made after I first ordered the flyers, which brings me to the second lesson I learned.


If you have the time to spare, put the design for the flyer away for a couple weeks or a month, and then take another look at it.

I guarantee that you will find ways to change the flyer to make it look better, give the text more oomph, and generally make it more effective at selling your book.

I didn’t wait long enough, which is why I found myself deciding only minutes after first placing the order that I wanted to make more changes.

Fortunately I was able to cancel the order before it was processed, but I came perilously close to ordering flyers that had a font that was difficult to read.

Get Feedback on FB

Here’s another lesson I learned only later. There are many groups on Facebook devoted to either graphics and/or marketing where you can post a flyer or other graphic and ask for feedback.

I created my first couple flyers just fine on my own, but with my later works I have really come to appreciate the feedback I’ve received on Facebook. Now I always make sure to post a final draft on FB and ask for critiques; this has saved me from wasting money printing ineffective flyers.

Start Small

While you can get a significant discount by placing a high-volume order, you shouldn’t do that with your first order. Instead, treat this order like proof copies. Order just a few copies, and then when you get them, go over each and every detail to make sure that everything is perfect.

  • Do you like the design?
  • Is the text appealing? Can you even read the text?
  • Are the images legible?
  • Do you like the font choices?
  • Are the colors attractive?
  • Did you catch all the typos?

While you can probably answer most of these questions by looking at a digital proof, there are some details you will only notice when you have a physical copy in your hands.

For example, when I got my first flyers I immediately wished I had used a lighter shade of blue for the background. It looks nice, yes, but next time around I will use a shade of blue that is about 4 or 5 shades lighter.

It’s hard to say why I want a lighter shade of blue; this is like one of those times where you don’t realize a certain house paint is less than perfect until you dab it on the wall. (Coincidentally, I used to work in the paint dept at Lowes, where I developed my great secret skill of choosing awesome paint colors from the reject bin.)

The next order will also use a heavier weight of paper.

Pay Attention to the Weight of the Paper

My only real mistake in ordering my first flyers was when I didn’t pay attention to the paper selection.

The "weight" of a sheet of paper is expressed in pounds, and it refers to how much 500 sheets would weigh. It’s another way of saying how thick and stiff it is, and when I choose the "standard" weight I didn’t read the description that said that it would be thin like paper rather than thicker like a birthday card.

As a result my flyers are almost as flimsy as the copier paper that is sitting in my printer. This is not a huge problem, but it is less than ideal and one I plan to correct next time around.


Have you had flyers printed? What did you have to learn the hard way?

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