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Writing Wednesday: Let’s Talk About Author Swag…

April 26, 2017


As we approach the conference season for authors, with RT and RWA close by, the question about SWAG always pops up.

Authors want to be able to share our work with readers and give away products that readers will like, and also remember us. With the thousands of books and authors available, marketing products are important to keep our name visible or snag the occasional new reader. Name recognition is a great way to build impressions and close the sale.

When I first started out, my budget was a lot tighter for items such as swag, so I stuck to an item that I always loved and was useful: pens. I am a keeper and lover of all pens, and I decided this was a good way to get my name out there in a cost effective way.

I also used paper products such as romance trading cards, postcards I could sign with my book, or excerpt chapters to hook a reader. Bookmarks are also still popular, but I’d advise to find a way to make it pop to stand out among the mass of other paper products stuffed on tables. I found the paper swag was better given out with a book directly to a reader, and not distributed on a goody table, dwarfed by the more expensive swag.

Magnets, water bottles, notepads, nail files, and other useful products are nice to invest in because most of it is usable. I remembered staring down at one of my notepads I used daily and seeing a certain author’s website over and over. Now, that’s good marketing lol!

I also love jewelry. I work with a designer who custom makes all my jewelry from necklaces, rings, and bracelets. I like to give them out to my street team and for special swag to bloggers. Having a few pieces of quality swag on hand is always a good idea, especially if hosting a contest or giveaway.

Recently, I partnered with USB Memory Direct to create custom flash drives to advertise my HGTV inspired series, the Billionaire Builders. I chose the ones in the shape of a wooden book, which went well with my theme, and found them quite popular with readers. This is an item I would definitely order more of. Here’s the link if anyone is interested: 


I also love keychains. I think they’re fun, easy to customize, and usable. For my Billionaire Builder series, the keychains have the covers and fun little charms. For instance, in Everywhere and Every Way, my hero is a builder, so there’s a hammer with colorful beads attached. For Any Time, Any Place, there’s a saw because he’s a wood worker. Fans have loved it so I’ll continue with them.

Chapsticks are fun because your logo goes on, it’s well received, and comes in fun flavors for every type.

My personal favorites are tote bags and t-shirts. There’s something wonderful about readers promoting you and your books in a fashionable way. I usually brainstorm logos and fun sayings to help promote each of my series.

For instance, with my Marriage to a Billionaire, I did tote bags and tank tops that said: Do It With…A Billionaire.

For my Searching for series, I did t-shirts that said, What Are You Searching for in Your Romance?

For my HGTV series, my logo states: How Do YOU Love? Everywhere and Everyway; Any Time, Any Place; All or Nothing At All – Find what you love to read at www.jenniferprobst.com

I’ve now created a custom Write Naked t-shirt for readers to buy, and ordered a bunch for myself to give away.

Swag helps readers feel special and gets the message out.

 Readers, what’s your favorite type of SWAG to get? Writers, what’s your favorite type of SWAG to give out?


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  1. chmonga says:

    OMG, I want one of your goodie bags! I absolutely love ALL of your thoughts BUT, the one I don’t like are the excerpts. I never read them because they spoil a book for me. But pens, notepads, large totes, jewelry, etc., love it. My big thing would be getting it in my suitcase if I had to travel to see you. Unless you come to the west coast that won’t happen cause FL too far! Great ideas!! You should talk to Brenda Novak!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hopefully one day I will get to see you and get you SWAG lol! So happy you like the ideas = Brenda Novak is a queen, she probably has the best swag!

      • chmonga says:

        She does some pretty spectacular things for her book group. But then, I’ve never been in a book group before so maybe it’s the norm. I still like your ideas and told her so.

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