Okay, here's mine. Was it good? Hard to say.
It's *always* hard to say, which is why this week's topic - Conventions: Swag: What You Offer & What You Keep from Others - is so interesting. We all want to offer the memorable treat. The certain something that will be kept and - vitally important - inspire book sales. If we had that magic button, no doubt everyone would press it.
As is, it's a guessing game. A well-meant one, much like birthday-gift shopping on a miniscule budget. How to delight without breaking the bank?
This year at the RT Booklovers Convention, to celebrate the release of The Mark of the Tala, I did keychains. Because... well, useful? And pretty. I had the cover put on the rubber-stuff keychains by 4Imprint.com and then I attached the pretty blue feathers. The feather that's so symbolic in the book is actually black, but the blue seemed more fun and matched the cover.
I'm all about the pretty.
Did people like them? I think so! The pic above was taken by Joy from Joyfully Reviewed, not long after she picked up a couple from my table at the big booksigning.
#RT14 beauties by @jeffekennedy pic.twitter.com/UrXbYb6F8aDuring the Pub Crawl, while my editor Peter Senftleben and I gossiped and drank hurricanes, Editorial Director Alicia Condon handed out more keychains for me. It wasn't so much that she loved my swag, but that not many authors seemed to bring any.
— Joyfully Reviewed (@JoyfullyReviewd) May 17, 2014
Because that's the ground level, as far as I'm concerned - have SOMETHING.
Seriously. Giving something away is better than having nothing. Even if it's glanced at and thrown away, you've given something.
As for the second part - what do I keep? Pens, lip gloss, screen cloths, keyboard brushes, nail files, some bookmarks.
Do they prompt me to buy books?
As a reader, I'm quite sure there are two incentives that prompt me to click the buy button on a new-to-me author: premise and reader recommendation. The lip balms, handy doodads and shiny sundries? Sure, I keep them. Maybe I occasionally note a name. Mostly I use them without another thought.
I think too much concern is placed on the question of What We Keep. The magic moment is in the giving. The special zing of a fun gift, freely given. The attention of the moment. Like the hand clasp or hug of greeting. Here and gone. An introduction. A hello.
That's why I go for the pretty, the fun, the shiny. Like a sweet treat, it gives a moment of pleasure.
A book is forever.