Get your SWAG on…

A fun part of being an author is choosing what SWAG to invest in for promotional purposes – blog contest giveaways, touring giveaways, drop off items to bookstores on your travels, or giveaways at signings/author visits, etc. There are infinite ways to utilize SWAG and an equal amount of items out there to be branded. Here are a few of the SWAG products I’ve invested in and an overview of their impact:

Character Cards: Val Cox (http://www.valcox.ca/) illustrated Under My Skin and her gothic work looks GOREgeous in full colour. After falling in love with her illos of the UMS crew, I asked her to develop some unique SWAG to promote the book. She came up with three different cards based on the main characters, their personalities and a quote from UMS. The cards are slick, hip and gothic – a great investment – worth the design and production fees. They also fit perfectly into the plastic, sealing bags used for the UMS chokers. Which brings us to….

UMS Chokers: These choker necklaces were hand made by a teacher at my school who has a¬†jewellery making business. She helped me locate the perfect crosses to match my vision of Eryn’s gift from Alec, as well as the two strand ribbon bands. I got a steal of a deal and only had to pay for supplies which made these stunning promo pieces worth the moola.

UMS Tees: Made just for the UMS Launch Party (the live one in my home town and the online version). I had 24 tees produced – they were far too expensive but I LOVED them. Clingy and distressed/vintage, I adore mine and wear it often. Worth the money? No. But as a cool keepsake you can wear with a cute pair of jeans/capris – priceless. ūüėČ

UMS Postcards: I had two separate designs created – one with the UMS cover and the other with one of the illos from UMS depicting the three main characters. I find the postcards most handy when mailing out ARC or prize winner copies of UMS – the large whitespace on the back lets me write a personal message. I had these printed at http://www.vistaprint.com/ – very affordable. At bookstores, these don’t seem to move as quickly as bookmarks…

Double-sided UMS/Second Skin Bookmarks: I just got these babies. Double-sided bookmarks are lovely! Since VistaPrint doesn’t have a template for bookmarks, I had to search the net for another printer. http://www.printrunner.com/ did a bang up job on my double-sided bookmarks, one side featuring UMS and the other featuring Second Skin. Full colour both sides, one side with a high gloss, the other matte. Super affordable too. These are hot items when I’m out at events and overall seem to get the most response.

I know there are tons of other SWAG options to explore, posters, banners, standing banners, buttons, magnets, pillow cases, tank tops, etc… and I do want to produce something specific for the release of Second Skin. I will have to ponder on this. In the meantime, good luck in your own SWAG adventures.

I leave you with an image of some SWAG from authors who participated in the Crossroads Blog Tour this October:

You can see the UMS postcards resting on the brick wall. What a lot of loot, eh? If your interested, follow the tour in Oct 2011. Meet more paranormal YA authors and enter contests for amazing SWAG prizes.