New Interview Series - The SWAG (Shit We All Generate)

Today writers have to be more than just writers - love it or hate it, we are marketers as well. Most authors will agree that the creative part of the job is where we excel, the business and marketing side, slightly less. It’s lovely when the two can meet in the form of SWAG – Shit We All Generate. I’ve invited some published authors to share with us their secret to swag… little freebies that can sell a book longer after the author is no longer standing in front of a prospective reader. In order to create great swag, you have to be crafty – in more ways than one.

Today's guest for the SWAG is Demitria Lunetta, author of IN THE AFTER and IN THE END, both available now from HarperTeen, as well as the upcoming BAD BLOOD, coming in 2017 from Delacorte. Demitria is also an editor and contributing author to AMONG THE SHADOWS a dark YA anthology, available for pre-order now.

Finding something that represents your book and hasn’t been played out by a million authors before is difficult. What’s your swag?

Of course I have the standard bookmarks, stickers, and bookplates, but I also have notebooks, t-shirts, and tote bags.

How much money per piece did your swag cost out of pocket?

Bookmarks, stickers, and bookplates are pretty cheap…they’re only about five or six cents each (when you buy bulk.) The notebooks are a bit more expensive. I bought mini-pads and stuck a sticker on them…altogether those ended up being about 40 cents each. Shirts and totes are way more expensive, at about $12 a pop!

Do you find that swag helps you stand out at an event? Does your swag draw people to your table at an event or conference?

Definitely! People love free stuff, even bookmarks! Add a couple of notebooks and people are all about the swag. ☺ It also gives you the chance to engage with people as they’re grabbing your swag.

What do you think of big item swag pieces versus cheaper, yet more easily discarded swag like bookmarks?

Bookmarks are invaluable. Even though they’re cheap, they’re actually quite useful, and I’m not sure they’re so easily discarded. I’m always happy to get a bookmark and I have a drawer of them for easy use. The bigger ticket items are useful too, but it’s not always feasible to have loads of them. For the t-shirts I made sure they were soft and cute, so people would actually want to wear them. The totes I’ve only given out at my launch parties and I’ve actually seen people using them at other events, so they were definitely worth the hefty price tag.

What’s the most clever / best swag you've seen by another author?

Candy is always good! It gets people over to your table. I also already mentioned that I’m a sucker for bookmarks, so any unique bookmark will catch my attention, like something with an interesting charm dangling off the string, or even something shiny. I guess I have the attention span of a small child. ☺

Do you think swag helps sell books?

I think swag indirectly helps sell books. It acts as a reminder. It also gets your cover out there…the more exposure your book has the more people will buy it.