Last week I attended the Emerald City Writers' Conference, sponsored by the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America--my home chapter of RWA. For the past 4-5 years we've had a paperless swag policy for our bags. We still offer a place (typically a table in the writer's lounge, then a table outside the ballroom during the book fair, when we invite the public to come join us for fun), to put out the paper swag items. (By paper I mean book marks, cover flats, business cards, etc.) The exception to our paperless rule are things like bound book excerpts, a postcard that offers a free book download or discount...it pretty much has to be more than just the paper product.
When I arrived home from ECWC I received a box from the wonderful Cora Cade, so sent me some of the swag items she's been collecting at various conferences and reader events over the year. When I set everything out to go through the loot, I knew I had to create another blog post, because this group of items was much different than the last. Very few paper products and a lot of really great ideas!
So, let's dive in.
Again, just like last time, I set everything out on the coffee table and just went through grabbing items that caught my eye. It was obvious, right from the start, that it probably wouldn't be financially feasible to offer some of these things by the hundreds for the swag bags at various conferences. But, as ideas for street teams or some VIP readers (selected however you wish) there are some very very cool items.
So, there's the loot. Notice anything different about this selection? First off, it's much less cluttered than the last time I did this. Hardly any paper. I love it.
These are really great, fun ideas. They include various covers on each month. You could easily get together with a few author friends (depending on how many months you want to 'own' for the calendar) and put something like this together for cross promotion too and be able to offer it on a wider audience with the shared cost. I fully admit that I haven't checked out the cost of these things, but I also wonder about doing smaller pocket/purse calendars. Similar idea, but smaller size might make it more cost effective or easier to ship.
Or, if you have left over books from various promotions or author copies, whatever. Check the RWR to see if there are any conferences coming up that you want to send your items to.
Or what about giving these out to people who make a purchase of your books at a book fair? I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Readers like to feel special. Heck, everyone likes to feel special. Offering a nice one of a kind type item is a great way to win someone over. If you don't have the skill set to make this yourself, I'd bet money that you know someone who would be willing to help you out for a nominal fee or advanced read or something (depending on their role in your world).
This post is going to be really long, so I'm going to start throwing things out there a little faster without offering quite so much commentary. Or I'm going to try...we'll see how it goes:
Pens and pencils
A great, inexpensive cup with a clear brand. This is awesome and is sitting on my desk holding pens and pencils, so I'll be looking at it every day.
A magnetic clip. Again, clearly marked with the author's name, so I don't have any question who offered it up and I'll be seeing her name regularly as I use this. I don't know about the rest of you, but I can never seem to have enough of these clips on my fridge holding kid's art, notices from the school, reminders, etc.
Chapstick, again clearly marked. I admit that I'm always hesitant to use the chapstick and things that I get in swag bags, but I know there are several people that really love them. The exception I will make is if it is very obviously sealed.
Another example of sharing some of the swag is this cozy. Each author had their information on one side of the cozy. Just by looking at them I can tell both write Westerns, but that's about all I know for sure. The fact that both websites are clearly marked and the style of each side is similar makes this look very professional.
There were a couple of very cool items in this group of swag that I need to highlight:
This cup & spoon from Crista McHugh is awesome. It has her tagline, which isn't so series or romance specific that my husband wouldn't use the mug, which is a good thing because it's the one item that he zeroed right in on and claimed for himself.
Another is this little grooming kit. At first, I had no idea what it was and called my ten-year-old over to open it while I continued to photograph the other items waiting for attention. When he got it open he exclaimed how cool it was and I have to agree. It's a keychain, so I can put it on my keys if I want, or just put it in the car or my purse.
That's the bulk of what I have this time. What do you think? Anything strike inspiration for you? Something you want to get a closer look at?
I need to give a very special shout out to Cora Cade for sending me some swag to highlight...and I'm going to show her items here:
There are a few more days of this sale if you're interested.
And, I'm so thrilled to recieve this item and will be using it. A lot! This would be another fabulous
idea for street teams:
And, now I'll show you my swag, which I gave away at my workshop at ECWC. Since my books aren't out yet, I'm not really selling anything but getting my name out there and in front of people. I so appreciated everyone who came out to the workshop and hope you all had as much fun as I did and that you like the goodies.
If you see anything on the table I didn't highlight, please let me know, I'll be happy to dig it out and give it a shout. But, really, this was so much fun to go through and get more ideas for possible swag items. I hope it sparks a bit of inspiration for all of you! Thanks for stopping by!