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Point of View: Being Swagnificent

Scott bookmarks

GayRomLit is coming up quickly, and I’ve been madly trying to get my act together on the swag and promo front.

For anyone who doesn’t know, swag is that free stuff they give away at convention booths. Buttons, pens, bookmarks, squishy balls – things that are supposed to stick with you to remind you of the company / author / concept the booth is trying to promote.

Exactly what works best as swag is often a topic of heated debate in author circles.

As a general rule of thumb, the more expensive it is, or the more perceived value it has, the more likely the reader is to keep it. So squishy balls, pens, buttons, yes. Paper goods, like bookmarks, postcards, and business cards, not so much.

That said, there’s an exception to every rule. And the more beloved an author is to the reader, the more likely that reader will keep their swag.

So… this year we’re trying a few things to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

We have buttons for Queer Sci Fi. Pens and bookmarks and rainbow bracelets for QueeRomance Ink (and the bookmarks, while paper, have pretty rounded corners, glossy fronts and backs, and are also shared with QSF). And for me? OK, so I’m still not a big name author, so my swag is paper – but I did upgrade to some rack cards of my latest books to be able to sign them for fans who bought my eBooks.

And all three of us – QSF, QRI, and me – have pretty table runners.

We’ll see what people like the most.

So, my author friends, what are you doing for swag this year? And what have you found to be the most effective?

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