The Swag

So I was talking with my rockin' editor, Devi, last week, and I was gushing (again!) about this particular article of swag that I really, really, really want for Tempest Rising.

And she was all, "Meh."  

And I was all, "Dude, seriously?  It's wicked cool."

And she's all, "Meh."

And I'm all, "DUDE.  It ROCKS."

And she continued to make meh-ing sounds at me.

It boils down to the fact she doesn't like swag.  I'm not talking about a copy of an ARC swag, but the little fiddly swaggy bits you see people giving away at conventions.  The cover flats, and the pencils, etc.  

She's all, "Does it really serve a purpose?"

And I'm all, "Hellz yeah, it's free!  And it's free!  And . . . um . . . it's free!"

It boils down to the fact that Devi, once again, made me think.  I'm tired of thinking.  Unlike the Underground man, I can not think about anything for hours.  I make like that insipid line from Pretty Woman and veg.  But my editor made me think, again, and this time about the swag.

Does it really serve a purpose?

I mean, it's FREE!  I'm always running around academic conventions and inevitably I end up with a bagful of shikahkah.  I eventually rummage through said bagful, looking for two things: anything I can (legitimately) put in my mouth and anything that's actually useful.  The pens get stuck in my purse (where they break IMMEDIATELY and ooze pen juice all over me at inopportune moments), I inevitably use the luggage tags because I move around like a nomad, and then I throw everything else out.

So maybe some convention swag deserves a meh?  But my idea for my swag is SO GOOD, people, that I still have hope for the swag, yet.  And I can think of a million examples of swag that I still have rolling around my house (and food swag always wins my vote of approval).

Basically it boils down to you.  What do you think of Swag?  Again, I don't mean swag as in free books (who the hell doesn't want free books?).  But the other types of swag.  I would appreciate it if you answered the following questions.  No, this is not a test.  Yes, Dr. Peeler can grade them if you'd like her to.

1) Do you pick up swag at conventions?
2) What do you especially like as swag (besides books)?
3) What would you like to see as swag?
4) What would be your ultimate swag, or what has been your ultimate swag, or both.



Liyana said…
1) Heck yeah! It's free. :D
2) I love those lanyard thingies with the logos on them.
3/4) For book conventions, autographed book plates/stickers. That thing with the autograph from the author so we can stick it in the book.
Tanya said…
I'm in IT and the AWESOME-ist swag you can get at an IT convention are the minny mice! Those are gold.
Nicole Peeler said…
Liyana: What are lanyard thingies???

Ooooo book plates are good! Nice!

Kiyote: What are mini mice???? Mice are already small? Have you crazy comp people managed to shrink them further???
SciFiGuy said…
From a marketing perspective swag is all about getting your 'brand' in front of people and creating a positive impression and for the matter as many impressions as you can. So selecting items that get used often and last are best, or items with a high uniqueness value that catch attention. I agree with bookplates (they have value too). How about action figures from the books, little werewolves and vampires. People could start collections and trade them at conventions :) I have also seen some authors create 'trading cards' with their character stats and attributes which is a cool idea. Again trading opportunities!
Nicole Peeler said…
SciFiGuy: I LOVE the trading card idea. LOVE IT. I also love the action figures. Hilarious! But the trading cards are suuuuuch a good idea. I wonder if my cover artist has nothing better to do than make trading cards? Oh wait, she's winning ALL SORTS OF AWARDS AND STUFF FOR THE COVER OF TEMPEST RISING.

Go Sharon, go!
This whole swag thing has been on my mind, too. I have a few ideas, but you guys are definitely giving me more.

1. Yeppers.
2. If it's not useful (pens, sticky note pads), then I want it to be pretty or book-specific. For example, how much would i love a temporary tattoo of Mercy Thompson's paw print tat?
3. See above. ;)
4. I have an ultimate swag idea for my book (though it would be too 'spensive, but I can dream). I like SFG's action figure idea. For about a year, I had a strange hobby of taking existing a.f.'s and remodeling them into other characters using paint and putty.
I'm a total swag whore. It doesn't matter what kind--if it's swag, I gravitate toward it like a fat kid to chocolate.
Anonymous said…
Swag is good. Keeps things in mind - if it's useful, it'll stay in mind longer.

At the same time, there's a lot of swag I've had pushed on me that I didn't really want or like. So unique swag is good. Useful swag is better.
Zita said…
1. Yes
2. I like totes and t-shirts (and other "t" things, like tea!)
3. Signed book plates
4. The best swag I ever got was a travel coffee mug from Kelley Armstrong. It came in a velvet pouch, so it was like 2 gifts in 1! Then there's this pair of blue skull earrings I saw one author had...

Terri said…
1) Used to pick up more but yes I do take some
2) I like things I can use and not stuff that will dumped in the garbage or a big box at home.
3) Post its are cool and although they are expensive T-shirts are great.
4) Most of the really good stuff is expensive. The point of swag is to get people talking about your book and what better way to do that than a T-shirt. I have one from Toni McGee Causey that says Shuck Me Suck Me Eat Me Raw and always get comments from people when I wear it which them makes for an opening for me to suggest her books.
Anonymous said…
I like swag, and will pick it up if it's something different. Some of my favorite swag has been little flashlights.

Kim Harrison has done some great stuff that's related to her books. At her last signing she had tomato seeds. At previous ones there were wooden "charms" or a toe tag.

It's neat if it's somehow related to the book.

Michelle C.
Nicole Peeler said…
So useful/expensive swag is good.

How would you feel about less swag, maybe raffled, but it was cool swag? At a signing or something? Like, instead of crappy swag for all, only a few really cool swag gifts, raffled?

But I love the idea of unique but still cheap swag, like Michelle C.'s examples.

Jackie: I hear ya on the food swag!

You guys all rock, btw. Thanks so much for commenting. I am serious about this line of questioning. I want good Swag, dagnabbit.
Nicole, I've been considering the "cool swag for raffle" thing, too. Some of my ideas are a little pricey, so it's not something I could just give away to everyone.

I like the t-shirt/tote thing, too. It's a great way to get people to ask, especially if it's a little vague in what it says.
SciFiGuy said…
Kelly the T-shirts and totes are good ideas because it is all about the eyeballs. Face it - swag is advertising. The more people you can get to see it, the more likely they will remember your name/the book etc. when they get to the store or tell a friend.
Vickie said…
~travel coffee/tea mugs (with name of book and author)
~Nalgene water containers (even itty bitty with your name on it)
~lanyards for us badge wearers for work
~bookmarks are always a winner (especially autographed)
~bookplates (see above)
~postcards of book cover
~pins (not leaky pens)
Anonymous said…
The only swag I have ever received is through contests. I am actually going to my first convention this weekend so I will come back and let you know what caught my, was unique, if anyone raffled, etc.
The sway I have received thus far that totally rocked are signed book plates, and Mark Henry had these rad viles of zombie disease. I love them! They are unique to him and his books and they are on my crazy books shelves at home but get the most questions from visitors and I am always happy to talk about books so everyone that has ever been to my house knows about his books.
Nicole Peeler said…
Celebar: Awesome, thanks! You're my researcher on the ground.

Zita: Re: the earrings . . . from my cold, dead hands. ;-)

Vickie: Awesome list. Thanks!

SciFiGuy: Good point re: the free advertising if they're wearing it. I want to make everyone my walking billboard.

Kelly: My thoughts, exactly. I have a great cheap idea, but the others . . . not so much.
alanajoli said…
I definitely pick up swag, but I like it to be useful swag. Pens are good. Notepads are good. Cover flats are only cool if I'm getting an ARC sans cover (so I can wrap it around the book).

Bookmarks are actually pretty okay, too. Pins that can go on my jacket or purse are kind of fun, because they're a way to advertise for folks I like without having to carry anything extra. I like the fun swag also, but if it's not useful, I'll pick it up and just end up throwing it away later.
Anonymous said…
What would make great swag?

-- FREE laptops with your book over preloaded as desktop picture

-- FREE Kindles with your latest release preloaded (did I mention FREE?)

-- not that rich, they FREE books stacked high (don't forget to sign them!)

Is any of this working for you? It would all work for me. Ha!
SciFiGuy said…
Note to Tom - unless the authors names is Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling I wouldn't hold out any hopes...
*wonders if anyone would want life-sized posters of her cover model as swag*
Michelle Rowen said…
Swag's a big waste of money. My favorite swag picked up was a really cool T-shirt. Did I end up buying the book associated with it? Nope. But thanks for the T-shirt. I dump pretty much all other swag, especially the stuff that looks like it came out of somebody's ink jet printer.

I do cheapie bookmarks now. If I was going to do anything else it would be one of those excerpt booklets.
Nicole Peeler said…
Tom: HA! You been hittin' that crack pipe again?

*wonders if people would want a life size picture of NICOLE PEELER for swag*

Michelle: You and my editor should have lunch. ;-)

Alana: You seem to be articulating a common thread, which is usefulness being key. The great think about this is that what every seems to want (stuff you can wear/tote around) is stuff that brings attention to the book.
Michelle - excerpt booklets? I've not heard of these before... I'm sure they're exactly what they sound like, but cool! Hmm....
Heather said…
I love swag!!! Most of the swag I have is from technical conferences since I'm an engineer. I have started to collect stress balls/objects. So, I have some pretty cool ones, one that is shaped like a brain, an indy car, a Guiness soccer rep, a superhero, a space shuttle. Something that is related to the book would be cool - a wooden stake could represent a vamp...then put the book name on the object.

I also love the t-shirt idea...sighed bookplates, or an object that relates to the book. I have some of Kim Harrison's swag, and I love the toe tag. great bookmark, and its fun.

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