Friday, May 29, 2009


The problem of promotion is one that makes me go all squirmy and British. I'm just not good at talking myself up, dammit. It's why I generally carry promo postcards around with me, because they have blurbs and review quotes on them to keep me from having to tell people how great I am. Pathetic, isn't it?

But with conference season coming up, my attention is turned to promo items. Specifically, what might go in the RNA's goody bag, or the RWA's goody room (I know, conjures images of Willy Wonka-style gardens of goodies for every boy and girl, doesn't it?).

There are a couple of things to consider. One is cost and the other is effectiveness. And they both cancel each other out. Anything that's effective is too expensive to be practical. Yes, it might be fab to hand out personalised glowsticks, but will they really net enough sales to recoup the cost? Doubtful. On the other hand, promo items that are inexpensive, like bookmarks and postcards, tend to get lost in a sea of paper products.

(as I typed that last bit, what came though my door but the last lot of postcards I ordered. Demonstrated here by the lovely Daisy.)

So, what's your view on promo items? Do you give paper promo more than a passing glance, or does it just sit in the bottom of the bag until recycling day? Do you use the pens, notepads and sticky notes that come with author names on them, and do they induce you to buy any books? What's the best promo item you've ever seen?

And does anyone know where to get cheap glowsticks?


  1. Um, yes I use pens, notepads and sticky notes. But then I'm a pen, notepad and sticky note kind of person.

    The lovely Jessica Hart sent me a batch of rather fine coasters for the RNA goody bags this year (also some bright pink tote bags). They look a bit expensive, though.

    Can't help you with the glow sticks.

    (PS - I love your postcards. Can I have him on a magnet too? Can I?)

  2. I definitely use pens and notepads, and am always grateful to be given free ones. I love bookmarks too. Then again, maybe I just love any free stuff? I would be prepared to pay for a personalised glowstick, mind you.

  3. Hmm, I looked into beer mats once as a promo tool--perhaps I ought to revisit the idea.

    I found a great site for inexpensive personalised pens and pencils a few years ago, but they only deliver in the US and getting them shipped over here will negate the inexpensiveness. I'll keep looking...but for now it's just postcards, I think.

    Although if you wish upon a star, Jan, magnets might make an appearance in the goody bags, too.

  4. Beer mats - as in something absorbent I can put under mugs of tea to catch the drips - would be a winner with me. Save rendering my scribbled notes on the ms unreadable.

  5. But having just looked up some prices I can remember why I didn't order them in the first place--they're surprisingly expensive, and most come in min. quantities of several thousand. The smaller quantities cost almost as much! Hmm... maybe an idea for next year.