I want to say, again, that I'm far from an expert in the art of swag. All I can say is what I like, what catches my eye and what I would be excited to see in a goodie bag.
First off, everyone loves free books. There's just nothing better for a reader to find a pile of reading material at their finger tips. They will try new authors, new genres, new *anything* if you put the book in their hands.
I know that isn't feesable for all authors to do, especially in the number of attendees for some of the reader conventions. But what about doing a joint promo with another author in the same genre with a similar voice? Sort of a "If you like me, you'll like her" thing. This can be done in a number of ways that don't have to cost an arm and a leg.
Trolling for some ideas for authors I read a guest blog post by Jennifer Kacey who will be attending Ellora's Cave RomantiCon this October. A couple of the comments offered some great, unique suggestions, one of which I fell in love with.
How about making a "Dreaming of <Hero's Name>" sleep mask? Or with an author's name, or series, or...the possibilities are endless. Wouldn't that be awesome? (I have no idea what the cost of making something like that would be, but if you're at all crafty, I bet they wouldn't be tough to make either.)
Another place to look would be to check out what brides are offering for wedding favors. They are one of the other groups of people that routinely give items away and are working with a budget. From the few minutes I've spent looking at a couple of wedding favor sites ideas like offering a small bottle of maple syrup with a label of your Vermont-based series on them, packets of Forget Me Not seeds (again with a book label), Sunglasses, Mints in a special tin...by looking for swag in this way it opens up a whole new world of possibilities to get your name noticed by readers. That first point of contact so when they see your name on the shelf (be it virtual or the actual book shelf) they are more likely to remember it. And, maybe they'll even buy the book.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions I'd love for you to share them! After all, we're all in this together.
Thanks for stopping by.