To swag or not to swag

HTB Bookmark side B copyI’ve several multi-author events coming along in the near future, and I’ve been preparing accordingly. I’m now technologically able to accept any sort of payment for my sales at these events: I actually own a portable store.

Now I have to consider swag–that portable bit of treasure to keep others thinking about you and your books.

It’s always hard to know what sort of swag to invest in, what is going to pay for itself. I can’t really afford to go nuts here, so I’m going to see what my author friends are pushing, and try to determine just what is going to be the right fit for me.  So I ordered the old standby indie swag-item, book marks.  I’ll make sure each book I sell has one in it, and if a passerby asks for one I will hand them out. Some folks like them so I’ll make sure I have some for them, but at various different conferences and conventions, I’ve observed that a lot of things like that just get tossed unless the person actually asked for it. Why invest in something that will just end up littering the mall?

I went to an event and met a lovely man from Alaska who practically forced me to take a cardboard replica of his book cover. As I said, he was friendly and nice, but…it must have been costly and I had no idea what to do with it. By the time I arrived home it was a mangled mess and went out with the recycling. Thus, I don’t even remember his name, or his book.

That incident got me to asking myself: what do I really want out of this? After all, I am selling my brand, and that brand is my author name.  I want people to remember it.

Business card MockupSO: Business Cards–These are an absolute must. They’re cheap and easy to make on my home computer and good to hand out when asked for one. Keep it simple and readable, with just the facts:

  • Your Author Name
  • Your website
  • Your Fan Email Address
  • Any other contact information you feel comfortable giving out
  • Your book title (s)

Remember: Don’t Junk It Up.  Simple and readable is the way to go with business cards.

I have another friend who is investing in postcards that have to do with his book, and each one will have a coupon to redeem a free paper copy of his forthcoming novella–and that’s a good idea, but also costly. I need to keep my costs a low as possible, so that will not be an option for me. Romance authors are encouraged to offer all sorts of little swag items–chap-stick, makeup mirrors, even tote bags–these are costly though. Whatever I do, it has to be effective and low-cost.

HTB Stamp copyI do think custom post it notes might be a good idea.  They seem reasonably priced, and fairly easy to do. Again, I think the key is to do it like business cards and book marks–keep it simple and just the facts: Author Name, website, and book title. If I decide to do those, I’ll let you know how it goes.

I had fun finding clip-art and designing a special Huw the Bard Stamp for an event that will happen in June–each participating author will have a stamp and will stamp the programs of the crowd as they pass through.  This was intriguing, and something I can use later in so many ways. Plus it was only $ 7.95 + shipping.

Anyway, I’m sure my little stamp will be great fun for the grandkids–heh heh…hold still and let grandma stamp this little tattoo on you….


Filed under Books, Fantasy, Humor, Literature, Publishing, Self Publishing, Uncategorized, writer, writing

7 responses to “To swag or not to swag

  1. Again, you encourage and inspire, Connie! I’ll add business card creation to my list of “to-do’s” to keep up the “I need a change in my life” momentum. 🙂


  2. I found the bookmarks to be a no-brainer, but anything else, so totally yes. As a reader, personally, I don’t get much value out of swag stuff. Yet, there are people who go gaga over signed books, trinkets, and all kinds of other stuff. It’s really hard to figure out what to make the swag when I don’t really care about any of that stuff.


  3. @ Shannon and Lee–business cards and bookmarks seem to be the simplest too.


  4. David P. Cantrell

    It seems to me the best swag are useful in some way. Drink coasters might be an idea. I’ve seen them price from $.08 to $.28 each depending on quality. Notepads, like To Do list are popular too.


  5. Interesting post, Connie. Things I haven’t thought of yet. Thanks. 🙂