Friday, February 13, 2015

Book Swag

I'm in the midst of a "life project" I guess you could say. I'm working on de-cluttering my house. I've lived here for almost 14 years now and I've managed to accumulate too much stuff. So each weekend I've been putting in time working on sorting through my belongings and finding things that just don't need to be here anymore. I've made many donation bags, recycle bags and trash bags (less of the latter thankfully). Anyway, as I've been going through things a lot of promotional or incentive type items connected to books have been striking my notice. I think because it's harder for me to decide if I should keep them or not. They're nifty and some have sentimental meaning to me, so it's not as easy to part with as say an old t-shirt or a gazillion pens and pencils!

Anyway, you'll probably hear more about that project later because I've also been reading some books in connection with my efforts--this is serious stuff, y'all! But today I wanted to talk about the book swag because some of it is pretty creative. With the mountain of competition for people's reading time, some authors (or their publicists/marketing people/whoever) are coming up with innovative ways to draw attention to their books. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Lou Berney made playing cards for Gutshot Straight (a poker term). The pictures on the cards correlate to details in the book--if I had the whole set I'd invite you over to play Spades:

2. A cute little cinch sack has Rosemary Harris' Dirty Business Mystery, Dead Head, screened on it. I'm using it currently to hold my knitting project. Very handy!

3. Coffee and tea! I won the coffee at Ben Winters' Cleveland book event. It's Hank Palace Blend from White Mountain Gourmet Coffee. Cool that they supported Ben's books like that. And the tea is from a xuni client, Chrysler Szarlan. Tea Trekker created a special blend of tea to go along with her debut novel, The Hawley Book of the Dead.

4. Craig Johnson has a number of fun items in what he refers to as the "Walt Mart." The bumper sticker and license plate adorn the Longmire section of my personal library. And I haven't found the right place for the Boy Howdy sticker, yet, but Steamboat hangs from my car's rearview mirror.

5. Some folks go for music. Both Meg Gardiner and John Connolly have put together soundtracks to their books.

6. And of course, I can't not mention Robert Crais' Maggie tennis ball or Joe Pike temporary tattoos. I figure this next book has been delayed because they're trying to come up with a promo item to top those!

These are a few of my personal gems. How about you? Do you have book swag that you especially prize? What creative ways have you found authors promoting their books?


BethFishReads February 16, 2015 at 7:08 AM  

I LOVE book swag. Tote bags are always but to good use. I have a vague project in mind for the bookmarks (which are currently stored in a box). I keep wanting to frame the posters and them rotate them out in my office (a future project). But there are a number of other items I'm never sure what to do with after a few days.

jen_forbus February 18, 2015 at 12:13 PM  

I am a tote-bag-aholic! I have to restrain myself from getting new bags these days because my house has become overrun with them! I do like to use them for my yarn crafts and going to book events and...well, it's an endless list, I guess. :-)

John Purcell February 27, 2015 at 3:52 PM  

I like my Lee Child/Jack Reacher combination Swiss army knife/flashlight/USB flash drive containing the first chapter of whatever book he was promoting at the time I got it.

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