Moving along to my rather extensive discussion of GRL, let’s talk swag today.
Swag is defined as promotional items given away at conventions or trade shows. This is pretty accurate for the stuff we were given but unfortunately most of it was recycled. I say that with the full knowledge and sadness that authors and publishers spent a ton of money on these items. I brought home about 20% (or less maybe) of everything I was given. Even then I feel I brought home too much but most of what I did keep was signed so hopefully I can tuck those into print books and call it a day.
Let’s talk about what we were given though, because it was an awe inspiring amount. For starters when we registered we were given a reusable bag with the GRL logo and a quote about erotic romance on the side. The bag was decent quality and FILLED with items. I think it took us almost 45 minutes to go through it.
Here’s a picture:
In it was bookmarks, promotional postcards for books, candy, handheld calendars, magnets, pens, junky trinkets, trading cards, flashlights, a plastic cup, a beer/soda cozy, beads, buttons, various cheap toys, promotional cds, lip balm. The problem with these items are that they sound like a good idea but in reality no one needs 105 bookmarks or 312 promotional post cards (which you can’t send to someone because there’s too much writing). The trading cards are a decent idea for collectors but not everyone wants them. Unfortunately most of the stuff comes down to simply junk that you don’t need and can’t really use. While some readers are overjoyed with these items, I am pretty firm on anti-junk so I refuse to keep a box full of promotional book cards and bookmarks. I can use maybe 2-3 bookmarks so I kept the ones I liked and recycled the rest.
Additionally authors were handing out t-shirts, mugs, and various reusable bags. Since the GRL bag has a quote about erotic romance I recycled this bag as well. This unfortunately was a theme for bags. Now perhaps other readers are more forward but I don’t particularly announce my erotic reading tastes while shopping for groceries or other errands. So sadly all the nice reusable bags we were given (which again are a GREAT idea) ended up being unusable. I like the idea of the bags quite a bit and I wish they had been less about the naked men and more about the author’s name or publisher. Adding a clean logo would have been good but I just can’t use bags, t-shirts, mugs, magnets, and so on decorated in naked men. If others can, more power to them! But I know I’m not the only one that feels that way. So you have an author spending good money on items that aren’t really enhancing either the promotional purposes or the reader’s enjoyment. I will say I got an I love St. Nacho’s t-shirt but it’s an XL so that’s a sleep shirt, like all the other t-shirts I got.
I wish each author would have offered a simple business card with a code for a free book on it. Total E Bound was offering this super cute USB that was a heart that opened (I missed out on the good swag) but I hear it was a real hit. That kind of thing is great. It’s useful and apparently had books on it. As a reader and convention attendee, I only want things that are useful and interesting, such as a book, or a clever bit of swag. Coffee mugs are ok but most had naked men splashed all over them. I love naked men as much (if not more) than the next person but I’m not going to use many of the gifts with that on it outside the house.
In the end this is what I kept:
There are a couple of things I kept not included in the picture like the Devon Rhodes travel coffee mug , the 3 shirts, and some other odds and ends. I personally loved Isabella Rowan’s gift bag the most. I even begged for a few extras to bring back to the girls. Now this is because I thought her items were gorgeous and kept just about the whole bag. I tossed the Mardi Gras beads but I didn’t mind they were there. For first time New Orleans goers, they were probably a lot of fun. Here are the highlights for Rowan fans.
I also liked the Rainbow eBooks gifts and of course kept any code for a free book. The small stack of promotional cards are all signed or simply gorgeous. Missy Welsh’s cards were great. But really as much as I like the pretty PL Nunn covers, these will eventually get recycled. A free book can’t be any more expensive than these various things and would go much further in getting me to try an author I haven’t. Especially if it’s a download of our choice. That way new and return readers alike get something new.
So that’s what I think. What about you?