Insecure Writers Support Group (thanks, Alex!), I'd like to ask a question:
Do you think swag---as in bookmarks, character trading cards, coffee mugs, magents, anything you can imagine with the image of a book cover slapped onto it---really helps sell a book?
I have a pretty firm opinion on this but that doesn't mean it's accurate, so I'd like to get yours. Let's do it this way---I'll tell you my views on the topic and then you tell me where you agree/disagree, okay?
Right, so I think an author should be continuously armed with a set of attractive business cards (possibly in the form of a bookmark) that gives basic info. on the book, web address & contact info. I also think an occasional coffee mug or some such as a prize is fun, but beyond that I don't think all the swag in the world makes a bit of difference. It might if every other author wasn't also pimping their books in the same way, because you'd come across as unique and memorable, but when your character trading cards end up in a huge pile with a bunch of other unknowns, what good are they?
I just don't see the value added beyond what the book cover & blurb on a simple business card can do. To me, merchandising becomes important after a book has taken off---it's a way to keep it alive out in the big world and maintain excitement---but for an unknown book and author, who really cares about a T-shirt? I'll be totally honest---my publisher has a page of available merchandise for my book, and even I don't want any of it. I just want people to read my book and enjoy it, not wear it or drink from it.
But I know I can be strange in my thinking, so perhaps I've got this all wrong. Tell me, has swag ever persuaded you to buy a book you otherwise wouldn't have? And/or are you an author who has enjoyed increased sales as a direct result of swag?
Thanks for considering my question, and don't forget to sign up for Alex's upcoming Genre Favorites Blogfest---good times with great ninjas. ;)