So, now that I've crossed the bridge into the world of the published, everything is different. Instead of just worrying about writing and submitting, I have to worry about writing and submitting and promoting and branding and building a readership. Sigh. It's a lot to think about.
Since I have several big events next spring coinciding with my book release, I've been giving thought lately to promotion. I've got all the social media type stuff down, so really, my focus has turned to imprinted promotional goods. Tchotchkes. I want to do something different. Unfortunately that usually equals expensive. There's a delicate balance between novel/keepable and price. If its cheap and cute, likely someone else has done it. PC, for example has done rulers, emery boards and collaborated on tote bags with Lynn Raye Harris. All great ideas. And I may borrow an idea or two, but I'd rather not if I can come up with something else. Over the years I have been to many conferences and luncheons and collected my share of stuff. I have my opinions on the subject, but I'm curious about what others think.
First - paper. I'm sorry, but I don't want your bookmarks or your postcards. You can try to sweeten the deal with candy, but I'm just going to pull it off, eat it, and throw the paper away. Its cheap and you can make a million and send them all over the place, but I don't know if it makes a fig. I may make some bookmarks, but the point will be to advertise the next book by slipping it into the current one as I sign it. And I won't have 10000 of them.
Trading cards might be my exception. Yeah, lots of people might throw them away, but I think they have a novelty and collect-ability about them. I like the idea. I'll probably do them, even just so I can have my own and slip them into plastic sleeves alongside my 1991 Marvel Comics Silver Surfer hologram card.
Pens - it seems like everyone does pens, yet at the same time, everyone grabs pens. Do they keep them? I don't know. But I know I have a purple glitter TOR pen that I really like. I've had it for years. It has purple ink. I don't use it very much, but I remember it and its probably in my drawer as we speak. Other times, the pens die almost immediately and I hold the author responsible in the back of my mind for buying crappy pens. And they get tossed, so no help there. They might as well have saved their money.
I've asked around at what people like and I've heard a couple things. Some like magnets with bookcovers. That's cool. Might do it once I have a cover. Some like the nail files. The Playground has done pens, chalk, crayons and big paperclips over the years. I've seen several people do the tote bags, which I think is brilliant to distribute at book signings where people have a lot of books, but possibly, no bag. They'll be grateful for the bag and advertise for you as they walk around. But again, Kim & Lynn did that already. Maybe when they run out...
Another complication is relating it to me. My tagline is "Seductive Romance with a Twist" so I've been considering something to play on the 'twist' idea. Travel corkscrews are my number one favorite, but they can get a little pricey unless I buy a larger quantity, which saves money, but costs more in the end. Its a big, painful chunk up front when I won't see any royalties for a long while. DB mentioned little bags of pretzels, which are cute, but consumable. Eat them and its done, just like candies. Any other ideas for twist? I'd rather do that than something applicable to just one book. The little travel sewing kits would be perfect for the first book, but make no sense for the second one, so I'd have to be sure to get rid of all of them fast.
What are some of your favorite promotional items? Any you saw that you really loved? Any ideas for me?
PS. And I am VERY delinquent, but SUMMER is the winner of Free Book Friday! Email me at smartypants @ writingplayground.com to claim your prize!!