So you’ve written your book and have either self-published it or gotten it published by a small press (because if your book is being put out by Random House or Tor or HaperCollins, you certainly aren’t reading this), and now you want to publicize it. This is of course going to be your own job, because the publisher isn’t going to do it for you. Some simple ways to make a nice display include making little handouts, colorful bookmarks, or other promotional material that can be easily handed out to or taken away by people who may be interested in your work.
It’s possible, of course, to do brochures, bookmarks, signs, etc., in a word processing program or a publishing application like Microsoft Publisher; it’s even possible to misuse presentation software, such as PowerPoint, for this purpose. However, this is a blurb about open source software, and I’m going to point you in the direction of Scribus. Scribus is page layout software that lets you design a document to your exact standards, positioning each item precisely on the screen. You have exact control over every element of your document in a way that is difficult or impossible to achieve with regular word processors. I’ve used it to create bookmarks with excerpts from various of my books and stories, as well as a small display card for Night Watchman. (Crows was still out of print at the time so I didn’t make a card for it.) This can be a simple way for you to enhance a small store display or signing. Scribus can also be used to create PDF files, including forms that can be filled out.
I wouldn’t really recommend taking advice from me about self-promotion, because I’m not at all good at it, but even I can hand bookmarks to people. Nobody wants to accidentally start reading five pages ahead of where they left off.
Scribus is available for Windows, Macintosh, and (of course) Linux.