I’m not talking about SWAG in the urban dictionary sense – short for swagger. Nope. Not talking to you, sideways ball cap wearer. I’m talking about the STUFF WE ALL GET at conferences. Promo items. FREE STUFF!
SWAG is significant to writers because we are told we need it. Must have it. Yet I can count on one hand the names of authors I recall from picking up a pen, a postcard, chapstick, even a heart-shaped rubber jar opener! (That was Geri Krotow – and very functional SWAG which I used for years.)
So why in the world did I recently invest in something I’ve never done before – first chapter booklets and pens?
Because I’m hoping to reach out to readers, not other authors. I’m hoping, by attending the Authors After Dark conference in Charlotte, NC in early August, to encounter people who read and love contemporary romance. I’m also hoping that by personally handing them a pen and beautiful first chapter booklet of A DOCTOR FOR KEEPS, to interest them in giving a new-to-them author a chance. For the tech savvy, I also have a QR code on my postcards where the reader can scan and buy the book on the spot.
Dream on you say? These days the author’s job sometimes involves door-to-door sales – remember the Avon lady and the Fuller Brush man? Yeah, that’s about how it feels. My usual concern is that the authors in attendance at these events will outnumber the readers. However, with Authors After Dark, I have been assured they cap the number of authors who sign up in order to allow more readers to attend. I’m all for that!
Here’s the rub. I won the registration fee for AAD from a FB online contest, and was thrilled. But I’m an author, who will now be there in an unofficial way and most likely counted as a reader. I won’t be on any panels. I will definitely attend all of the contemporary romance panels and events, and hope to literally hand deliver my small SWAG items person by person. As you can imagine, this is completely out of my comfort zone, but in the hopes of gaining new readers, I will force myself to schmooze and mingle. Update: I have now been included in the Saturday afternoon book signing – August 9th 1-4 pm Westin Hotel, Charlotte, NC.
I’m excited about attending a completely different kind of conference than I’ve experienced during all my years in the Romance Writers of America national conferences. I will keep close track on the “vibe” of this author/reader event, and promise to report back.
My goal is to hand out 50 booklets and pens at both RWA and ADD. Not a huge goal, but one wildly worthy of touting for a dyed-in-the-wool introvert writer like me.
Wish me luck!
Do you like SWAG? Does it influence your purchases?
Until next time, make it a great one!