To Swag or Not to Swag…

That is the question…

With all the conferences, conventions, and other events, swag has worked to get your name in front of new readers in a unique and memorable way. But it seems that finding the RIGHT swag is the key. Bookmarks, postcards, and pens seem to be the way to go when you’re passing them out to your friends, readers, or local bookstore, but at a writer’s conference, you can easily lost in a sea of swag. How do you stand out?

Here are some tricks I learned for finding the right swag. Keep in mind, your mileage may very so use the advice to fit your needs.

  • Make it useful –  Swag can be a daily reminder on the right object. If you put your name on a cupcake, its eaten and gone. If you put your name on something like a pen, it will be seen more often.
  • Make it unique- Think outside of bookmarks and postcards. Find what items your name, book, and brand would look good on. Bags? Jar openers? Ornaments?
  • Make it specific to your brand – This is the tricky one. Take a good look at your brand and figure out what it would pair best with. Like pairing a good wine and cheese. Tea infusers if you write regency? Knitting bags if you write comfy hometown contemporary? It may take some trial and error, but once you figure find that magic formula, it’s golden.
  • Don’t break the bank! – Swag is wonderful but remember, what matters in your book! Spend only as much as you are able.

Any other suggestions? Pointers? Please post them in the comments!

4 thoughts on “To Swag or Not to Swag…”

  1. Karen Janine RitterKaren Janine Ritter

    I use bookmarks instead of business cards. I keep a batch in the side pocket of my purse. When someone asks what I do I pull one out and show them. I have my 2 series separated by sides with my website. I use Got Print and they’re really cheap. I’m going to the Left Coast Crime Conference in Hawaii this month and I have made door hangers for that. All my covers are one side with the tag line: NOT for the Faint of Heart and my website. The other side has the DO NOT DISTURB in white on a black background. I won’t be signing books at this one, but will have the door hangers for readers after my panel and at the speed dating with the readers. Again I used Got Print. I swear it’s the best kept secret ever!


    I’ve had the catalogs out for a while. I keep looking through them. I like the suggestions here, but I can’t decide. My last swag was flash drives. They went fast and were expensive. I like the ideas Karen has. Maybe I’ll order bookmarks for the goody room this year at Nationals.

  3. Marie AndreasMarie Andreas

    “Hi, my name is Marie, and I’m a swag junkie.”
    “Hi, Marie”

    Okay, yeah, I have a swag problem. My first big event, RT 2015 a month after my first book came out–I went crazy! Fans, bags, pens, keychains, post-it notes, buttons, bookmarks, post cards, and business cards. Now to be fair, I still had so many of them (ordered a ton to “save money”) that at last year’s RT I just ordered Tumblers and brush compacts (those were ordered for a specific event). This year I am finally running out-LOL. Pretty much Cindy covered the important points–make it useful, and if there will be a lot of distance travelers small.

    My big suggestion, and I’ll be trying it this week-end, is to slow down the swag grabbers. Obviously, if you have space at a goody room, you can’t do much, but I’ve seen people go down signing tables and grab handfuls of pens at a time. Sooo, to slow that down, and lend a bit of thrill to the swag, I’m doing drawings- little eggs with swag items written on them, folks pick an egg and “win” the swag…yes, I’m calling them Sweggs (swag eggs). My bookmarks and business cards will be for everyone, but all the rest of the swag will be more of an event this time.

  4. Aleigha SironAleigha Siron

    I’m behind on everything! Liked this piece. I primarily use bookmarks and I have a few decks of cards (they are very expensive,) but I’ve been thinking about other things: canvas carry bag?

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