By Deborah Sharp
I just spent the last four hours creating wedding favors to tout the fictional fete in MAMA GETS HITCHED. Crazy, right? Favors for a bride who doesn't really exist, to mark a wedding that will never really happen.
Funny thing is, I am the anti-crafter; the opposite of a creative do-it-yourself type. I didn't even do favors for my OWN wedding (although I do remember peeling lots of shrimp.) Now, here I am stuffing little bags and tying colorful ribbons to hand out at the Malice Domestic conference as keepsakes -- or at least reminders. The idea: That the mystery readers who attend will find the little bags so clever they'll be dying to read the next Mama book. It comes out July 1, by the way. Early birds can order it here.
I don't know why I think this will work. My desk is chock-a-block with freebies handed out by my fellow authors at various conferences: Note pads, seed packets, pens, pencils, calendars, bookmarks, chocolates (Okay, the chocolates are actually gone), paperweights, magnets, lapel pins, bumper stickers, postcards. I can't honestly say I've ever bought a book because someone handed me a cool promo item. I buy a book for the same reasons everyone else does: Because the cover grabbed me, and the first line hooked me; because someone I trust recommended it; or because I know and like the author. All the free pens in the world won't change that.
Of course, none of this means chocolate won't sway me. Go ahead, try me.
I wrote this for our blog ahead of time, knowing I'd be at Malice today and too busy to post. About now, I'm likely handing out my little bags as I make the circuit with Sue Ann Jaffarian, my friend and fellow Midnight Ink author. We're paired up for a Friday morning event called Malice Go Round. It's like speed-dating for authors. Readers fill tables for eight inside a giant hall. Forty authors get two minutes a piece at each table to pitch and woo.
Maybe I should have brought chocolates.
How about you? Do you think promo items move books? Readers, what's the coolest promo you've ever gotten? Authors, what's the best thing you've handed out?