Friday, October 27, 2017

Conference Impressions, continued... SWAG

Two things you find A LOT of at conferences, especially writer and/or reader based conferences, aside from drunk people, are books and swag. Swag in the publishing circles consists of, at its most basic, bookmarks, pens, and postcards with author name and web address--something a potential reader can walk away with that may or may not entice them to purchase your book if they didn't walk away with one of those as well.

I think about swag a lot. Most of my writer group friends attend conferences or book signings or whatever and purchase swag to take with them to entice people to buy their books. I'm not personally a big fan of swag.

Never have I ever dug up a pen or a chip clip or a compact mirror in order to find a book to read.

But 1) I'm not your standard "end user" and 2) I know you have to have it. People expect some sort of swag.

Swag seems like a waste of money. Thanks to my friend, Regina, I like to ask, "what's the return on my investment?". In the case of swag, sometimes there's just not one. You have to have swag, but there's no way to ever know if that pen or bookmark enticed a sale at any point.

But...bearing the swag question in mind and knowing almost from the beginning I wanted to attend next year's GRL, I studied all the swag on display. What did I find personally appealing? What did most people bring? What was unique? What wouldn't end up the trash when Jane Reader gets home?

Some of the swag I walked away with...pens, small notebooks, lip balm, a letter opener, and rubber bracelet, an emery board, eye glass cleaning cloths, postcards, and free books. Now, I love pens, so I will usually voluntarily take a pen. I did intentionally swipe lip balm this time because my lips were hollering at me and I'd left my own in my room. I also took two mini composition notebooks--purse-sized I mean, because those are always handy. Everything else was pretty much just handed to me.

Swag items that caught my attention included...personal fans, flash drives, and a jumbo postcard with an image to color and a crayon to color with. At a previous conference, I walked away with a chip clip, a compact mirror, a bottle opener, and a band-aid keeper. I didn't see sticky-note pads, but I like those too.

I don't mind free books, but I don't, personally, want physical books. It would have been nice to have been given a business card or post card with a QR code for the free e-version. (Note to self, eh??)

I have a lot to ponder between now and next spring when I'll have to start thinking about ordering whatever I decide to buy.

Anyone have any other ideas or care to share what you personally like to walk away with?

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