I tried not to collect too much stuff, to only take what I was directly offered (so as not to be rude) or the things I knew I would use, but still I ended up with a LOT of swag to take home. I’m still at the hotel for today, though GRL is officially over, so I’m going through my swag haul. I think if I come next year I will come as an author, so I really need to get ideas of what I might bring for my own swag. The items I have collected over the weekend here are of several types:
Paper Swag: Postcards, bookmarks, character cards, flyers, business cards, etc. For these items, “What to do with it?” is my question as a swag-grabber. The coolest ones are postcards which have a blurb and a free download link on one side, and a slick glossy cover image on the other. I suppose even the ones with simply an amazon (or publisher website) link would be good, as a way to potentially get people interested in the book, though I personally prefer the freebies. 🙂 Paper items’ minimal expense is a major plus, and definitely something to consider as an author. The character cards are nice, if you know the characters already. They might get someone interested in learning more about a compelling character they are unfamiliar with, but I’m not sure. Brandon Witt had a great set of cards that had really cute illustrations, and I have to admit I liked them and might pick up a book based on reading the backs with the character info.
Rubber bracelets: you know what they are, come on. There were a ton of these. I didn’t take any willingly, and I still ended up with a bunch. People were wearing them, so I guess they are good? I’m not a big fan of bracelets in general, which means I’m not the best person to judge the use of these things, I guess.
Squishy toys: those stress-ball things, in various shapes. I took these for my kids.They are something I’d definitely consider if I had a really strong image from one of my books that would translate well into one of them.
Pens: writing utensils (duh). Oh yes, there were many pens. The absolute best pens were from Shira Anthony, who brought whale-tail pens for her mermen series, and from Ethan Day who brought awesome multi-color click pens with highlighters built right in. My favorite pens, though, were the feathers that were (I think?) provided by Samhain during the sausage-fest cocktail hour.
Useful stuff: sewing kits, nail files, manicure kits, ear buds, rulers, etc. There were a lot of these things, and I admit, I might have gotten carried away with snapping them up. Antibacterial hand gel, lip balm, shoelaces, water bottles, flashlights… it was difficult for me to resist them. I’m not sure how likely I’ll be to check out an author based on the items I took, BUT the reality is I will now have these random things with author names printed on them in my handbag, probably for several years. My favorite were the post-it flags, because I really do use those a lot. Books: yes, I mean actual full length printed books. I was surprised, but they must be no more expensive to buy as an author than a lot of the other swag which was floating around, so I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me. Well, except for Lynn Lorenz, who actually gave out flash drives loaded with her freebie! That probably wasn’t cheap. As an avid e-reader, I preferred the downloadable links or coupon codes, and there is also luggage space to consider, but still… the paper book is a great swag item.
Tote bags: mostly the thin, drawstring type. These are handy, but I personally probably won’t use them, so I only took a few. (sorry no pic for this)
Metal things: some even handmade! Small jewelry items, charms, metal bookmarks, magnets and other offerings were plentiful. I love this type of thing, and I took them shamelessly. I love the magnets, and the ones which function as art all on their own are particularly nice. One of my favorite jewlery items is a gorgeous tree of life necklace that Rowan Mcallister made (!) I love it. The ones I think are most feasible for me are the small charms, which (if they relate to a story) are pretty cute, and inexpensive. Also I like the idea of them pinned to a card, like Rowan Speedwell did here.
Candy: all mine is gone already. The winners in my opinion in this swag-category were Andrew Gordon who had custom printed m&m candies, and Clare London who had amazing mints with her name in them! I was seriously impressed. (which is why I haven’t eaten them yet.)Sexual swag: condoms and other penile items. There were some condoms (I brought condoms to give away, as well) though not as many as you’d think when you consider how maniacal readers in this genre are about making sure characters use condoms in their on-page interactions. There were also a few penis shaped things, which were cute and fun. The idea I might steal is the lube packet (after a very nice chat with a reader’s husband in the lobby, who pointed out that almost everyone uses lube, even if they never use condoms) Kindle Alexander brought some that were pretty slick looking (lol).
Whew! that was a long swag post! Can you tell I’m bored and lonely in this hotel? So, if you’ve read this far (thank you) do you have any swag suggestions? Do you think it is all a waste of money? What would you stuff in your swag-bag as a conference attendee?