Writers have to do much of their own marketing work, and the most effective marketers show up at conventions armed with more than just business cards, bookmarks, and postcards. I’ve seen all kinds of interesting swag ideas, from pens (pretty commonplace) and custom pins, to T-shirts and even hairbrushes branded with the author’s website or book info.
I’ve been a long-time fan of using flash drives. Although they’re more expensive than a pen, they’re generally cheaper than a custom T-shirt and they are useful so readers will hang on to them and keep them around – same ideas as the bookmarks, but less disposable.
Flash drives are a game-changer for e-books at conventions. Sure, you can sell an ebook and email the files to the reader, but handing over a physical drive (which they can also use for other purposes) makes it far more appealing. And especially so with audio books, which are huge files, often too large to burn onto a single CD. In most modern cars, one can plug the drive into a USB slot and start listening. Likewise, they make much cooler giveaway items than merely emailing the winner the book files.
In the past I used regular boring flash drives I picked up in bulk, but while they were practical, they didn’t serve the additional purpose of being cool convention swag. I’ve been wanting to step up my game, so when the opportunity came along to team up with usbmemorydirect.com and test-drive their custom-made flash drives, I jumped at the chance.
They offer a wide range of wholesale drives, and I briefly considered this business-card like tab, perfect for displaying a particular book cover, but ultimately I settled on this adorable wooden drive designed to look like a book, and here’s how they came out:
I used the steampunk smiley from the H. G. Wells, Secret Agent book cover on one side, and my website on the back. And look: plenty of room for a signature! This neatly gets around the whole “you can’t sign ebooks” dilemma, and it’s nicer than just signing a postcard.
I’m going to be using these as giveaways as I launch The Golem of Deneb Seven collection later this month, as well as a part of backer rewards for the UFO7 kickstarter. What other cool uses are there that I may not be thinking of? Please share your ideas in the comments!