“Lure ‘em in with candy!” one veteran author told me in regards to how to arrange a customer-attracting table during a book signing.

I love that idea. Who doesn’t like candy, after all, right? The downside to that is everyone else has candy dishes on their tables by their books too. Wouldn’t you rather set yourself apart from others? The idea behind author giveaways also called “swag,”

Why Swag

So why even bother with giving away something either with your books or at your table during a book signing? Several reasons:

  • Swag builds a relationship with potential readers
  • Swag can act as a reminder of your work-especially if it has your info on it or ties in with your genre.
  • Swag inspired curiosity. People approach your table, have a conversation with you, and potentially become a customer or future customer.

What Exactly IS Swag?

Any kind of material used to market your book is considered swag—including little giveaway items that remind readers of your work. Book swag comes in many shapes and sizes, ranging from the basic paper bookmark to personalized bottles of expensive champagne. Some readers collect magnets that depict book cover art as well.~JaneFriedman.com


Ideas For Swag/Free Giveaways

*Magnets: Magnets with the image of your book cover are awesome because they tend to end up on refrigerators instead of in the recycling bin. Magnets can be purchased on sites like SwagChimp or Vistaprint. OR, you can DIY magnets with your book cover on them much like you’d DIY a sticker—using printable magnet sheets that go through your home inkjet.

*Bath Salts or Bath Beads: This is fun if you publish in the romance genre. Purchase bath salts or bath beads in bulk along with small re-sealable bags and fill. Attach a business card or a label with your author information.

*Tea: Tea bags can be fun to use as swag as well because a hot cup of tea and a good book is the perfect combination! Attach a custom tag or business card to the tag end of your tea bags and maybe even include a message of, “A cuppa tea courtesy of {your main character}.

*Creative uses with Candy: Buy a load of chocolate Riesens and put 5 in a bag with the label, “5 Riesens you will love {your book title}. Chocolate Kisses and romance novels a great combo as well. Mini Starbursts, Starlight Mints or Milk Way bars could be fun for a space-related sci-fi book. You get the idea 🙂

Recycled and Repurposed Bookmarks: Bookmarks are always a great tool for reminding people of your book and encouraging curiosity, but how about taking it to the next level? If your book is about travel, make some bookmarks from repurposed maps. If your book is a mystery, create giant puzzle piece bookmarks to represent the clues in your story.

I had a friend create bookmarks similar to the image below from recycled maps to use for my upcoming children’s picture book, Sissy Goes Tiny.


Remember, your main goals with any promotional item are to:

  • Make sure the reader will take it home
  • Make sure your name, book title, and your website are on it

Best of luck!

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Becky FlansburgRebecca “Becky” Flansburg is an author, freelance writer, and blogger from Minnesota who writes about parenthood topics and being a mompreneur. Her two non-fiction books on working from home, FREElance FREEdom: Creating the Work-From-Home Life You Crave and Mom Bossing: The Freedom to Create the Business You Love, are available in both physical and e-book form. Her children’s book that she co-authored with B.A. Norrgard, Sissy Goes Tiny, will be released in late July of 2019.  Becky is mom to two humans and critter mom to way too many pets.

Readers can also find her at BeckyFlansburg.com or on Instagram.

Categories: General


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