Wednesday, September 11, 2013

#WWoW!: Promotional Swag On A Budget

It's Wednesday once again and you know what that means. Time for Tammy's Tidbits here at Writer's Words of Wisdom. Each week the four of us post some tips, insights, or  share our experiences with writing, editing, publishing and promoting. You may have already experienced these things yourself, or find something new. 
Either way, we would love to get your comments on our posts and perhaps you will join us each week posting some of your own experiences. It's authors helping authors at its finest. We've opened up Fridays for guest authors so if you're interested, let us know!

The following is another updated post I did a while back when I was about to start a blog tour to promote the second book in my Now and Forever series. Now I'm about to release a brand new short story as one of my alter egos. It will be the first piece in the Fearless Love series by Lia Michaels. 

This one is a completely new area for me...LGBT romance, specifically M/M erotic paranormal romance. It's a tough genre to break into so I'll need some way to get Lia's name and her work out there. She's already established in the blogging world, hosting guest authors and all over social media in general.

So what else is an author to do?  Promotional swag!

As a veterinarian, I've attended many conferences over the years and was always inundated with "stuff" from vendors, exhibitors and of course my conference notes for the lectures. Back in the day when you didn't have to worry so much about how many checked pieces of luggage you were allowed to have, I could easily come home with an entire suitcase full of the freebies I picked up. Many of the items I eventually tossed into the recycle bins. 

Now that I have to watch my promotional budget like a hawk, I didn't want to create items that would immediately end up in the ole' circular file. I could pass out business cards and flyers until I'm blue in the face, but if they are tossed aside without a glance, what good are they?  Talking to my author friends who've gone down this road before me, I've found out a few good tips.

Ink pens are always a hot item. I know this one from my veterinary conference days. You have a "clicker" pen, and you have folks stopping by to pick one up. Magnets and key chains are hot items as well as lip balms and mouse pads. Some people found little mints or other candies and put them in special boxes with their websites on them. Food is a good item, but not so much if you have to ship it somewhere. Who wants to open up a box with melted chocolate smeared over your contact information?

There are many places available to order your promotional items. The most popular appears to be Vistaprint. You can have all sorts of items printed up with pre-made designs, or using your own logos and photos. I created some key chains, pens, mouse pads, book bag/totes and  coffee mugs. All of these are kept in my portfolio. Those I ordered as well as those I wish to order in the future are kept there for me to do with as I see fit. The prices are pretty reasonable and you can find specials at times. One of my author friends found a fabulous Groupon offer for Vistaprint and was able to many items for a fraction of the cost she thought she was going to have to pay.

Here is the basic logo I designed using my own picture and some of their pre-made graphics.

This wrapped around the pen nicely and on the other items. Take a look...

Something I won from another author's contest during a blog hop were trading cards. These were fantastic! They had the covers of all the books in her series with some fun facts on the back of some, and blurbs on others. In my search for where to get these, I came across Romance Trading Cards website. Here authors of multiple genres have created and uploaded cards to share and collect. They have a tutorial on how to create your own cards.

In the videos, the instructor shows you step by step how to create the cards using the free program GIMP. It looked a bit daunting at first, but using the tutorial, I was able to get through it all in no time flat.  I've created cards for two of my books using the templates provided by RTC. These templates were in fact created from the downloadable templates provided by

One more item I used last year were printed post cards. I made those myself using my portable Canon Printer. I was able to print off my covers on 4 X 6 postcards. I handed them out to people before the first book's release, signing the back of them. People loved them and are asking me to do the same for this book. 

Might as well give them what they want! LOL

Take a look at what some of these sites have to offer. Plan a portion of your promotional budget for these items and above all, have fun with it!

Until next time

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

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