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Friday, January 23, 2009

Killer Campaigns: Stamps & Labels

Stamps and labels go hand in hand in that they require much the same handling, so I thought I would do a double post today.

Stamps: I can't speak for postage in other parts of the world but the US Post Office will recognize a stamp you design if it meets certain criteria.

The frugal side of me has a hard time justifying spending twice as much for a stamp, but if you can afford it and you want that little bit of extra woo-woo, knock yourself out.

On Zazzle, a sheet of 20 (42 cent) stamps range from $16.95 to $18.95, depending on the size of the stamp. I have a friend who's used Zazzle and I must admit the quality was beautiful. My friend is an amateur photographer and the stamps were a great medium for him.

For writers…I think it's an individual decision. If you have a really knockout cover or one that is easily recognizable, it might be worth mailing all your correspondence with a custom stamp especially to potential readers.

In regards to stamps and labels, what you're after is the 'poke', a reminder to the recipient that your book is out. How much extra are you willing to spend for that poke?

By the way, I probably don't have to mention this, but do remember that all this is tax deductible--at least in the states.

Labels: Whereby stamps are costly, labels can be virtually free if you have a good color printer. Adhesive-backed labels come in all sorts of sizes. I don't know about the older versions of Word, but Microsoft Office 2007 has more label formats than you'll ever need.

Once your label paper is correctly formatted to the template, it's just a matter of hitting the print button.

The nice thing about labels is that they can be customized for any event. Change the image to suit your needs. Publicize a contest, announce a book signing, or tout a great review. They are totally adaptable.

And labels can go on more than envelopes. Small labels can dress up generic pens. Large ones can identify CDs and equipment. If moisture is a factor, remember to buy the plastic coated paper. If it's for envelopes or stationery, plain paper labels work fine.

Tips for a nice label:

• Don't go too small. Remember that as you're reducing the image, you are reducing the clarity.

• Images should be clear and crisp. Originals were probably much larger. When you reduce your image you run the risk of making it muddy and unrecognizable. The dots of color crowd closer together. Keep your dpi (dots per inch) high as you reduce the image to fit your format. (If none of this makes sense, find thee a graphic artist. She can pull it into Photoshop and save the image in high res.)

• Practice on dummy sheets before you slip in your adhesive paper. I am TERRIBLE at sizing things. My framing is always a little off. I don't know if it's my printer or me. ---probably me. Even though my repeats are set exactly on the template, I almost always have to tweak it. Dummy paper is your friend. When you get the image right where you want it on each cell, then you can switch to your adhesive paper.

• You also have the choice of sending your image to a company like Vistaprint. Vistaprint is always running specials and they do make it easy. So if you'd rather not have the set-up headaches, they are a good alternative.

I have a weakness for miniature works of art, so labels and stamps appeal to me. I pay attention to them when I see them on envelopes. And that's what it's all about. They lure me in every time.


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3 comments:

Sarita Leone said...

Great advice about labels. I need to make some of those but wasn't sure how to begin. Now I am, thanks. :)

J.K. Coi said...

I never knew that you could design your own stamp. And I like the idea of making labels. Thanks again for the great tips.

Maria Zannini said...

Hi JK and Sarita!

Glad this was helpful.

Remember too that that labels don't have to use images. You can put in your tagline or short message.

Labels are infintely useful.