Recently I had an interesting packet in my mailbox from Debbie Macomber. Though we've popped up on many an author's mailing list, this one had some unusual inclusions that I thought were worth a mention.

First up, coupons. For a decent amount ($2) off Macomber's upcoming hardcover books. Here's the smart part: they're only valid during the first week of a book's release, when sales are especially crucial.

Next came stickers and a bookmark listing the dates of all of Macomber's 2010 paperback and hardcover releases. You're meant to put the stickers on your calendar, a nice touch.

Finally, there's a chatty, full-color newsletter that includes recipes, stories about Macomber's family, and news about upcoming books. This is perhaps the most typical item in the package, but it's well done and appealing.

Obviously mailing hundreds of envelopes full of $2 coupons is not the most efficient way for a new or midlist author to make it to the top of the bestseller list—but what about creating downloadable documents and sending out an e-newsletter containing links to items like these? That's something that most publishers—or even authors—could fit into their marketing budgets.

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