Your Favorite Author Swag is…

Inquiring minds want to know? And who better to tell me than my blog buddies?

As I lurch slowly toward Royal Street‘s pub date of April 10 and my cover’s ALMOST READY to debut (really and truly), I’m looking at all the stuff my fellow authors hand out to readers. Signed bookmarks and bookplates, signed cover flats, notebooks, trading cards, postcards, pens, cups. …

Good grief, you name it, some author’s put his/her name and book cover on it and handed it out. Since I’m obviously tied to New Orleans, I thought about throwing in some Mardi Gras beads, pralines, throw cups, rum punch…nah, just kidding about the rum punch. I think that’s illegal.

As a reader, do you like getting this stuff? If I were going to mail something to you, what would you most like to get? Or do you just want to read books and not have to throw all that swaggy stuff away? I need to know these things!

And as a reward for commenting, I will send you something swaggish!

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

32 thoughts on “Your Favorite Author Swag is…

  1. I love getting signed bookplates or signed bookmarks.

    Although I think it would be cool to get something like badges (buttons) magnets or maybe even a patch that you can sew onto things πŸ˜€

  2. I like signed bookmarks, however I like the idea of using New Orleans themed items, like beads, also because of your ties to the city. (too bad about the rum punch though) πŸ™‚
    I think the extra stuff is fun.

  3. I would love to get signed bookmarks and bookplates! Also, a notebook featuring the book cover and a nice little blurb would be awesome!

  4. I love getting swag (although, given the fact I am in Italy, I usally get it after I read the book)! I have lots of very cool bookmarks and bookplates, but I also got some nice and very cool pins (which, by the way, were extremely helpful, since my friends saw them on my backpack and asked about the book). I got cool stickers and posters and a lot of other things, so yeah, swag would be really a nice way to promote the book. If you decide to do something, you can decide to have something related to the book (characters, setting) that make us want to read it (okay, I already want to read it!)

  5. I have to say that I get so many bookmarks that they usually get thrown away. If it’s signed, I may be slightly more likely to keep it.

    I like bookplates and think that’s a great way to get an author-signed book without having to have the author come to your town. So I’ll probably do those when my book come out.

    As for the other stuff, I think the New Orleans ideas are fun, but may be hard to mail and still may be things people toss if they don’t have a long term use.

  6. I always love swag! I was very excited just to get a note from you whenever I one a contest on your site. Bookmarks, bookplates are really awesome. Anything signed by an author is the more the merrier. Posters are also awesome. I have a signed “Shadow Hills” by Anastasia Hopcus poster and I framed it and put it on my wall.


  7. I love getting signed bookplates, because I can rarely attend signings. These go straight in the books. And bookmarks or trading cards are fun (& useful!) without taking up too much room. I’ve been stashing them in a little index organizer.

    The other types of swag I’ve gotten – the more novelty items, like the small tin of red hots (Red Hot Romance!), and the little soft toy horse (w/book title & author name imprinted on its side) – were cute at the time, but honestly, once I got home I didn’t know what to do with ’em. These things are jumbled in a box, and other than when my 10-year old niece wants to dig through it, never really get looked at or appreciated after the event. I feel a bit guilty – like I’ve wasted the author’s time & money taking them – even though I’ve bought the book! – and that’s not a fun remembrance of the event. (Maybe that’s just me?)

    Anywhoodle, swag *is* fun to receive, but IMHO going all out on different or unique or expensive (relatively) stuffs doesn’t work in the long run. YMMV.


    P.S. Temporary tattoos are especially fun with your niece and 11-year old nephew. We all three sported Diana Rowlands’ “I Love Brains” tattoo for a couple days. πŸ™‚

  8. I am in the minority on this one, but bookmarks/bookplates don’t do much for me (same for pens). I get so many of all of the above, that I tend to toss them (especially since I’m buying more and more books for my e-reader as opposed to in paper form).

    Swag that I tend to keep/might remind me to buy the book would be the stuff I use on a day to day basis (i.e. things that don’t amount to clutter) – sticky note pads are my favorite (love those – my secretary asked me what was going on the other day when I used a plain yellow Post-It as opposed to a sticky note from an author). Magnets I can put on my fridge are also a keeper (Staples sells the sticky type that you can affix a business card to – cheap and handy).

    While a little pricier – I’ve loved the little tins of mints, mirrors I can put in my purse, and manicure kits I can put in my purse. However, I can’t say I bought a book b/c of those things (but I do tote them around, and they remind of the author/keep her name in my mind)

  9. Swag can be lots of fun. I like anything that can be used as a bookmark. I never know what to do with cover flats, though. And pens — pens are awesome anytime!

  10. I love swag!Signed is lovely when I have won a book on a blog and the author has included a bookmark,postcard or some trading cards.
    Living in the back end of nowhere UK I look on in envy at all the US book signings and swag available there LOL

  11. I’m probably in the minority, but I hate swag unless it’s useful. I’ve got too much clutter already. The absolute best swag I’ve gotten is post-its with the author’s name at the bottom, leaving plenty of room for me to write out my weekly grocery list.

    That said, I think you should probably consider how you could give readers a taste of the South – any way to mail deep-fried gator bites?

  12. Thanks for the comments, guys! I’m definitely seeing a preference for bookplates. I’ve already been looking at post-its and notebooks, because those are the things I end up using too. “Useful” seems to be a key.

    LOL, Kat. I don’t know about mailing deep-fried gator bites, but I have considered pralines!

  13. Personally, I love ALL of it. I kind of “decorate” my library area with it. I share it with friends. And I use the bookmarks and notebooks etc. I think mardi gras beads is a marvelous idea. I love anything New Orleans and I think its would be a good idea to send swag with N’Awlins flavor.

  14. I don’t have any book swag πŸ™ Have tons of books, but no swag. Although yesterday I won a The Pledge swag prize pack πŸ˜€ But, if I were to get swag, I would love all of the things you have mentioned πŸ™‚ Everything sounds amazing.
    Love, Carina ~

  15. I love book swags, especially bookmarks. I have obsession with them. I really like postcards, bookplates and trading cards.

  16. Having just come from RomCon I have a ton of swag left over. I like bookmarks, especially when the author has signed the book and put it inside. I always keep them together. Otherwise They just pile up for me. I do love having an authors pen, I have one several from Sally Mackenzie that says “I’m a naked reader” cracks me up when I use it. I got one of those little tape measures from an author and I love it, I keep in in my desk for when I just need to measure something little. I agree with everyone else, Post-its are my favorite. I use them a lot. I love the idea of New Orleans stuff,for me the beads might get tossed unless they had a medallion or something that was signed by the author. I like the idea of the pralines though πŸ™‚

  17. I haven’t run across signed bookplates before. That does sound like a very clever idea.

    Bookmarks don’t do much for me. At a con I do snap up every button (meaning the kind with the pin-back and art or a slogan) I come across, but that has more to do with my collecting those than the topic.

    Wallet cards with some kind of useful reference are handy, if you can think of some way to tie the reference material to the book. If, for example, your character was an avid knitter, a card with the book cover and some knitting references stuff like stitch counts could be popular (and kept as opposed to thrown in the recycling bin after the con).

    Here’s a slightly off-beat idea – New Orleans if famous for saying “let the good times roll”. How about custom dice? We ordered custom dice from these folks ( as favors for our wedding, and were thrilled with the results. The trick is to have artwork that will look good on a 16mm x 16mm surface. We did a monogram, our first names, and the date.

  18. We love swag! I loved New Orleans also so that’s cool that your going to do it themed that way. The lanyards or beads is an awesome idea. I loved the signed bookplates also because those go in my book shelf keepers. I also received sticky notes one time that were really cool. Buttons too =)

  19. I love any type of swag really, but my faves are pins that I can put on my backpack and signed bookplates. I like when the swag matches the book as well such as Kim Harrison’s shoe strings for her YA series and Aprilynne Pike’s bracelets for her wings series. I actually wear both of those!

  20. This has been great feedback, everyone–thank you! I definitely see some trends here, and I hadn’t even thought about pins. Now, I’m all excited about pins πŸ™‚

    And DICE, Kathryn! How fun is that?

  21. I love all types of swag! Last week I actually went out to find something to put my swag in and I found a pretty flower tote at Target. Well my husband decided pick up one with words on it and said he liked that one better, and I agreed! Then we get to walking and I’m like are you sure, because you’re gonna have to see it sitting out. He goes yeah I like it because it has all the different words for Junk on it. Lol. Which it has the words stuff, junk, whatnots, etc on it. All of my paper swag (bookplates, bookmarks, and romance cards) is now in it. But I especially love when swag related to the book or where the book is set is included.

  22. I think your idea for theme/location swag such as beads would be fun, but readers might stick it somewhere and forget about it (unless it was something like the dice with the book’s name or picture on it). Signed items like bookplates and book-markers are things people could use or frame as keepsakes. Though pins and buttons could be cool items to receive as well. This is just my personal opinion of course, and there are a lot of good ideas floating around here. =)

  23. I love swag. Beads would be fun as would anything new orleansish. I have a huge bullitin board that I put only autographed swag on and unique swag items like beads, masks, posters and buttons. I like doing a contest for a book and swag too.

  24. I must say I’ve never had a chance to get a lot of swag. But I like bookmarks since they are also useful πŸ™‚

    looking forward to seeing the cover!

  25. Hi there. IΒ΄m Veronica from Portugal.

    I love swag….anything….bookmarks, postcards, trading cards….magnets, pens…I collect everything an author can offer and i keep them in coloured boxes. Really like swag πŸ™‚