OK, I have to admit it. A couple years ago, I had no idea what the hell “swag” was. Then I went to Rainbow Con, and created the first QSF swag – the incredibly tiny buttons – and I finally “got it”.
But I still don’t know what makes for great swag – something that people want, something that will help sell your books and advance your brand.
Oh, I know the formula:
Find something intriguing that people will keep and cherish that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
And I know what doesn’t work. Believe me, I know. I still have most of the 500 business cards I had printed up for my first two stand-alone releases, “Between the Lines” and “The Homecoming”, which came out a year ago this week. Business card covers are a waste of time.
So for my POV column today, I thought it would be fun to look at the swag I actually kept (above).
So… buttons. I apparently like buttons. But not just any buttons… what these have in common is that they’re all from things I was already connected to – Angel or QSF. Not too encouraging for a new author trying to catch my attention.
And a keychain… again, it’s for an author whom I already love – but it is a cool idea.
And a business card.
OK, so sometimes these do work. But only because Kyle is hella cute. Damn you, Alex and Adam!
Beyond that, I have a few t-shirts (a great idea, but too expensive for general giveaways) and some books (ditto).
So I’m still stumped as to what makes great swag.
Does swag really work? Can it work? And what have y’all tried that was successful in either a) selling books or b) building your brand?