Friday, October 5, 2012

Swag 101

In dealing with Classof2K13 there was a lot of debate about what swag items are actually effective marketing devices for books/authors. I would like to have bookmarks to give out for my book…but what else would be good to have?

What swag items do you hold on to and which do you toss?
What’s the best swag item you’ve ever gotten?


  1. I like bookmarks and nice magnets a lot because I need them and I use them and I'm reminded of the book a lot. I have piles of pins I should just toss because what am I supposed to put pins on? Though maybe pins would be more practical for actual young adults, haha, since they still carry backpacks. I think postcards are a waste too... they look nice, but I end up just using them as bookmarks. Does anyone ever actually send swag postcards?

    A few times I've gotten flashdrives and that's pretty neat. I use them all the time. I imagine those a pricey though!

  2. I have a ton of posters my publisher printed for my last book. Can't give those away! Posters are too big! Bookmarks of course, are great. With my last book, my husband used American Express points to help finance t-shirts, and they were really popular.

  3. I'll be making bookmarks to hand out.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  4. Magnets would be awesome, and they're a nice investment, because if someone sticks it on their fridge, it's in a high-traffic area in their homes, and if it looks nice enough, it may be there for years. I don't really keep bookmarks, but I wouldn't turn one down. I love pins, but it also has to do with how cute the actual design is.

    Posters are great for teenagers. I don't use them much as an adult.
    T-shirts would be fun--again it all depends on the design. Same with mugs. A mug, if cute, may be my favorite swag. Metal (not plastic) waterbottles are also really nice and practical.

    Pens are always nice.

    Book plates are cool if they're signed.

    The biggest things I would NOT use/keep, would be anything with a poor design, or that is going to look dated quickly, like if it has the release date on it, or a text logo.

    Cheap items can be worse than no items at all. I wouldn't keep a cheap plastic waterbottle, for instance, or a pen that runs out of ink etc.

  5. I think the best swag ever was the bracelets Brigid Kemmerer handed out. They were simple, one large bead on a piece of twine. Plus they had a direct correlation with the story. For me, it's a keep or toss thing. Paper products aren't usually worth it.

  6. I wouldn't invest in a lot of items, but a few popular ones. See what other writers offer and get comments from people to see what they would like. However, I know bookmarks are probably the number one greatest one. Possibly t-shirts and mugs. Maybe pens. Other than that, unless you come up with something really unique that everyone could use and would enjoy, I can't think of any others that would be of benefit rather than waste. Take care and good luck!

  7. I am wondering about this, too. Seems like bookmarks are a must--they're relatively inexpensive and everyone can use them. However, because they're inexpensive they're not durable and can get easily tossed. I have a few magnets on my fridge, so I like that idea, but I haven't seen a good price for them. Seems buying one just about equals my royalty. So I am having a hard time trying to decide what to do. Yes, I'll do a bookmark, but if I could find a clever way for people to want to KEEP said bookmark, I'll be headed in that direction.

    I did buy some monster lollipops (for THE MONSTORE) from Oriental Trading, but again, it was too high per-piece to make it feasible as a long term piece of swag. I will be attaching my mini moo cards to the lollis with ribbon and giving them out at appearances prior to my book release...I have a couple speaking engagements lined up. Except if the person EATS the lolli, then they throw out the stick with card and forget about me! LOL

  8. I used to work in university recruitment, and we had good luck with useful items--mini staplers were a big hit! We also did pens, mini notebooks, stuff that people would use. Then at least it usually didn't get trashed. For books I do like bookmarks and magnets--again, useful! I always need another bookmark or magnet!

  9. I won some swag from Susan Dennard-- she had commissioned an artist to draw her four main characters, and made them into cards. They were awesome!

  10. I love bookmarks, posters, tattoos and pens :)

  11. Bookmarks are essential: easy to design, cheap to print, and you can sign them at events if people don't have books, which may encourage them not to just throw them out. (I recommend For my first book, Fair Coin, I made some branded coin cases and filled them with chocolate coins, which was slightly expensive but was thematically appropriate; I think swag that ties into your book gets a better response. If you're looking into branding items, I used I ordered some postcards too, which were kind of useless (mainly because I never mailed them to stores), and engraved a couple of coin-shaped USB drives for premium prizes, which were *really* expensive.

    For the second book, I made bookmarks and I'm just doing baggies of chocolate coins, though I did make up some stickers to seal the bags. Stickers are another good option to consider.

  12. Book marks, of course... maybe t-shirts or posters.