When you first write a book, you have a goal: Sell to a publisher.
Once you sell to a publisher, you discover that you have a new goal: Sell to everyone else.
This is where things get complicated. There is a lot involved with marketing a book from having an online presence, to social media, to events and promotions, to industry reviews, to media exposure… In reality, you’ll tackle these things one step at a time, bit by bit, so it feels manageable. This month…I’m focusing on one specific area: SWAG.
What is SWAG? According to Urban Dictionary, it’s Stuff We All Get. We’re talking promotional merchandise that might include pencils, mugs, tee shirts, bookmarks…just about anything.
Which is the problem. If anything is possible, how do you know what to do? As far as I can tell, the basic idea is to choose SWAG that’s cool enough that people will want to keep it, and cheap enough that you can afford to make it. But how do you know what’s cool and what’s “so five minutes ago?”
I’m guessing that’s why there’s a second definition of SWAG: Scientific Wild Ass Guess.
The more I’ve looked into this, I’ve discovered that A.) Not everyone has the same stuff and B.) No one can give me a “to do” list. So, I’ve had to make my own list. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
1. Bookmarks. Everyone seems to like these. The big question I’m facing right now is do I print them up with my wonderful cover and a quote from the book…or do I wait for reviews to come out and include a good one? Would you be more likely to buy a book if there’s a great review on the bookmark?
2. Tee Shirts. For me, this seems like a perfect fit. (Pardon the pun.) I love my title, OyMG. It seems like it would make a good tee shirt. Of course, the real question is whether you’d wear one in public? Would a teenager?
3. Reader Guides. I know, I know–not very flashy. But I’m hoping librarians and teachers will find my reader guide helpful for classes or book clubs. I’ve got the guide posted on my website, but this way, I can print them up and send out a full-color, tri-fold brochure to anyone interested. We’ll call this one “Mental Swaggage.”
4. OyMG tattoos. I’ve thought about creating these for school visits. What do you think? Would that be fun or would it be frowned upon? I’m a little hesitant because tattoos can have such a negative connotation. But on the other hand, teens seem to love them. The alternative is OyMG pencils. Too boring? Or boring but usable?
5. Magnetic Poetry. This is on my list because I personally love poetry kits you get for the refrigerator. Mine will be smaller, but full of words that reflect the story. Thumbs up??
6. ? Do I need a #6? What am I missing? I’ve heard about bookplates for autographing. Stickers. Postcards. It seems like there are other great ideas out there…what are they?
If you have suggestions, I’d LOVE to hear them. What SWAG have you received that you loved? What SWAG are you glad you made and what was a waste? And in thanks, I promise to send some of it your way. We’ll call it Silly Wonderful Amy Gifts.