Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bookmarks and the RWA Goody room

Back when conference registration first opened there was a thread on RD. "What kind of promo should I bring for the Goody Room?" "Does anyone know a good printer? How many bookmarks should I bring?"

I've never been a fan of bookmarks even though they're industry standard. I like the mavericks. Hand-poured candles in tins. Wedding favors. The woman who plastered her book cover and info on energy drinks, and my favorite--the erotica writer who printed her info on cherry red condoms. I got a couple for my cp and wonder if he ever used them.

During that in-person workshop I did a few months back, someone asked me about bookmarks. Not that it's my "other" favorite soapbox, but if you had to have them at least make sure they have value added. Like Michael Hague's "Six Stage Plot Structure" bookmarks. They're on good heavy stock, easy to use, and showcase his contact info. I still have mine, I keep it taped to my whiteboard. Maybe a recipe? A knitting pattern? A genealogy if you have a complicated story tree. Pictures get old fast, and in a sea of similar bookmarks, disappear.
The same goes for flyers and brochures. Want to come across wrong? Think one-sided black and white on colored paper and then, put it next to someone with color on high gloss.

People sort of segregated themselves. Bookmarks next to bookmarks, flyers next to flyers. And Romantic Times--of course, front and center, next to the only free book.
Although, occasionally you'd get someone who'd pick one up. I caught this woman looking at Kate's.
She said she was a reader. That's pretty cool.


Hailey Edwards said...

It's definitely a pretty spread, but what would you do with those flyers/brochures once you got home? Read them and toss them.

I don't see anyone collecting them unless they're already a fan. I can't keep up with bookmarks, so that's out.

Hmm. This has given me something to think over and an idea of how much more expensive "memorable" is.

jodi said...

lol, it's a gorgeous spread and as of 5pm on Friday, it was trash. They go in with bags and dump everything out unless you take it back before then.

It's not that you need to go expensive. You need to go thoughtful. What is it about "you" that people know/recognize? Do you talk about something on your blog, in real life? Do you knit like Debbie Maccomber or do recipes like a cozy mystery writer? Do your stories have something in them that people connect with and would like to know about? Maybe all the names of the pantheons and their cross cultural equivalents? Maybe a timeline of the Old and New Kingdom if you were doing Egyptian stuff? Stuff like that. It's a "design" issue, although it can be a "thing" issue.

Like the candles in the little "tart" tins. Maybe 3 cents of wax per candle and a couple hours of time.

Or Jeannie's sugar cookie shoes? Although if I were doing them for my book, I'd want to make sure I mentioned cookies somewhere, had a traditional romance, or made them in the shape of something from the book. Then I'd use a real fine tip and write my name on them in royal icing. :) Or use some of those food color markers and just write on them.

Or be the next big thing. The first year anyone did CDs, it was a huge hit. By the second year, it wasn't as exciting and it'd gone mainstream to Kensington and Avon.

But yeah--the pictures are great because it "does" blur. I think...the next big thing will be the treasure hunt.

Something with perceived value that you can get only if you find the person giving them out. Like a clown with animal balloons walking around at a fair. Your kid wants one, you're going to find that clown.

Thinking thinking thinking....I bet I can do that next year. Something special and fun, low-cost. Easy to pack. We'll see (lol, slipped into mom-speak there...)

jodi said...

lol, didn't realize you could have a "too large" comment. That almost didn't go through.

Hailey Edwards said...

Oh, I love the treasure hunt idea. That would be fun, especially if you had a to help out. ;)

I see what you're saying. Most people think me=wings. They would definitely be the theme I built my promotional items around. lol

jodi said...

have you thought about a "magic wand" with wings on it? Sort of like that medical caduceus? (but a little more frou frou or sleekly modern) With your name written on it somewhere. You could take a picture of your friend (from behind) with a sack of these wands hanging from her shoulder, and the wands would be sticking out.

And the picture would say..."Come find me, and say "Hailey sent me."

And they'd get a wand (It must be a cool wand, or something with that little spark of "I want it!" Shiny, glittery works for this)


Jeanne Estridge said...

Hi Jodi--

I'm writing a blog post over at Eight Ladies Writing ( about swag. Would be willing to let me use the above picture to illustrate the term?

Jeanne Estridge

Jodi Henley said...

Hi Jeanne! Of course you can. I hope it works for you. It's pretty old :)