A Study in Swag

Swag. Fans love it. Authors…umm, how do we feel about it?

Let’s get real, swag creation can be hard. What do you make? How do you afford it? What gets fans’ attention? How do you be unique?

1.) Quality

When selecting swag, you don’t have to spend a fortune, but under no circumstances should you cheap out. Quality matters. People know when you only go with the lowest price products possible because it is reflected in the quality. If you appear to not care enough to invest into your book/author brand, than why should your fans invest?

2.) Intentionality

Create swag that is strongly tied to your book. A cheap lipgloss set you got to go with your princess book looks more like an after thought than something you intentionally selected for your swag. If it looks like something you’re regifting, please don’t use it. Pick items that are strongly tied to your book and designed to go with your story and cover.

3.) Customization

Design your swag to be customized to your book. Whether it is bookmarks, postcards, fine arts prints, posters, necklaces, pens, tea blends, scented candles, stickers, or something else, make sure it is customized to your book. Match the cover, match the story. Make the effort…fans notice.

4.) Uniqueness

Creating unique swag is just as important about creating intentional swag. Fans look for things that are not the norm. Taking time to find something unique that is connected with your story is important. This requires you to think outside of the box, and, yes, this can be hard. If you don’t have that creative mindset, ask your friends and fans. Trust me, they always have great ideas (that can also spark other ideas.)

When you create unique swag, you create something memorable and desirable for fans. If you just do the same thing all the other authors are doing, fans will be able to take it or leave it without having the deep desire to “have to have it.”

5.) Levels

Don’t just pick one swag item, create several. As an author, you don’t want to break the bank on your swag, so creating levels of different giveaway items is ideal for turning yourself into a “must-be-around” author with swag that is so desirable that their “survival depends on getting it.”

This means creating big, beautiful, not-easily-earned swag rewards while at the same time, creating inexpensive swag items that you can give out to everyone.

Big items could include custom scented candles, custom designed jewelry, a hand created “something” that you made to go with your book, a higher ticket item that is the perfect representation of your book, etc. These are swag items that fans have to do a bit more to earn because you need a return on your investment. These are not items you give away to everyone all of the time, but rather, hold back for bigger events. Smaller items include bookmarks, postcards, poster, rubber band bracelets, etc and are the type of things you can give away to everyone you run into.

By having a mix of the smaller, everyone-does things, and bigger only-on-special-occassions swag item, you open up so many doors for yourself. You have the ability to give anyone and everyone you meet something small to remember you and your book by, but you also have the ability to entice your fans to work a bit harder to help market your book to earn some of those big, amazing, slightly-more-expensive swag rewards. While the bigger items are amazing for marketing purposes within your social media, the smaller items are great for in person events so that no one walks away without a piece of your book.

Pro Tip: Your goal with your swag is to stand out. Even in the smaller things you create, like bookmarks, you should be unique. If you do the same thing every other author is doing for bookmarks you won’t be seen as special. If you go out of your way to create something that looks different, then you suddenly become more desirable and people will work hard to get their hands on one. From small swag to big swag, you need to do things differently than the crowd.

There are so many different ways to handle swag design, and with each new book you should be creating something unique, doing things a little differently, and actively working to stand out from the crowd. You need to do the best you can do for your books and your brand.

Make the effort. Put the work into it. Focus on quality and uniqueness. Do amazing things to inspire your fans.

What swag are you working on for you book? Let me know in the comments!

Stay inspired,





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