Thursday, August 19, 2010

Goody Room Orlando & Giveaway

by Anita Mae Draper

One of the benefits of attending a writing conference is the abundance of promotion items. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference usually has a room set up where authors and others in the publishing business can leave freebies for conference attendees. Orlando was my first chance to explore the Goodie Room and I went in several times to take photos and collect items.

Actually, a pleasant surprise on one of my first forays into the Goody Room was finding a familiar face - Prairie Chick Molli - which was amazing considering the conference was sold out at 2200 attendees.

The Goody Room contained 11 tables of promotional items which ran the gamut from business cards to a golf score keeper.

As writers and authors, we need to think about promotion and how we want our readers to think about us and our books. I'm hoping this post will show you what others are doing, and maybe spark some of your own ideas in the process.

There was a plethora of bookmarks in all sizes and shapes, and several coupons for books, writing courses, etc.

Some authors used creativity to add tassels, beads and other 'danglers' to set their bookmarks apart.

Door Hangers are a practical use of promo cards.

I'll use one at our spring writers retreat.

Post It Notes are very practical. Later, I'll show a small Post It Note kit in the form of a book which Hannah Howell gave out in her pak.

I don't know the official word for these glossy cards, so I'm calling them promo cards. They used to be postcards, but don't have the blank postage side. Some have recipes and the bigger one is a calendar.

Pens are practical promo items, but several authors provided promotional items to tie in with their name or tag line...
- Nancy Berland Public Relations: magnetic 'star' note clip
- Sandra Madden: 'Romance with a Twist' heart-shaped jar opener
- Sherry Thomas: Fizzy Bath Cube 'As effervescent as a Sherry Thomas book...'
- Linda Cardillo: Wooden Kitchen Tool with ribbon-attached promo/recipe card for her book, Across the Table
- Janet Miller/Cricket Starr: Ribbon Repair Kit for Neck Wallets
- Opal Carew: Nail file

Several authors provided book excerpts in these little booklets, but the 2 on the left are blank notebooks.

The one on the right is an invitation to the fictional wedding of the main characters in William Morrow & Susan Elizabeth Phillips' book, Mr. Irresistible. It contains a cast list and other information.

I received some of Debbie Macomber's promotional items in the Goody Room and picked up others when I attended the publisher's autograph signing where Debbie was signing copies of One Simple Act. Her promo items included her newsletter, a bookmark of her 2010 releases, stickers of her 2010 releases to put on your calendar, and a coupon book to promote her book. The bookmark coupons are to be given away and say things like:
- I saw you do this act of kindness today (fill in blank) and wanted you to know it inspired me.

Debby Giusti offered several practical items including business cards with candy, bookmarks and promo cards which contained prayers for Writers and Military members. Instead of putting her freebies in a bag, I found them in several places around the Goody Room. As well, Debby gifted me with a button and scribbler when I toured the Literacy Booksigning. The scribbler came in very handy and now holds most of my RWA Orlando workshop notes.

Goody Bags were in demand. Jane Porter's bag included a candy, pen, recipe card, bookmark, promo card and a book excerpt.
Farrah Rochon's package contained a pen, candies, bookmarks and a promo card.

I'd assumed the biggest bag came from Hannah Howell (HH), because the majority of items cited her name, but a closer look showed items from other authors, too. This jackpot bag contained:

- 3 pens (2 x HH)
- a bag clip (HH)
- several different bookmarks (many HH)
- book excerpts (2 x HH)
- e-book discount coupon
- packet of Green Chai Tea

The small Hannah Howell book in the foreground is actually a Post-It Note kit with different sizes of notes and flags.

And finally, I picked up this bumper magnet from Jessica Trapp...

So, did you see anything you like? Are you inspired to create your own promotional item?

I'm giving away a copy of Maggie Shayne's Killing Me Softly to one person who comments on this post before Sunday midnight, Aug 22nd. I received it in my RWA bag and it's not my usual reading fare which means it's up for grabs. If you want in on the drawing, leave your email address in a comment and remember to use (dot) and (at) so the net spiders don't nab you.

BTW - I'm giving away a free autographed Victoria Dahl book on my personal blog but to get in on that drawing, you have to leave a comment on My Daily Dolphin Walk blogpost before Sunday midnight, Aug 22nd.


Karyn Good said...

Are you saying all this I love free stuff! I had no idea - I know, I live under a huge rock. HUGE.

What it does is inspire me to work harder and get published so people will want my free stuff :D

Love the Sherry Thomas bath bomb and I love Sherry Thomas' books, especially her RITA winner for Best Historical Romance, Not Quite a Husband.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Anita,
I've been to a few conferences (though not RWA national) and have found I receive a lot of paper. I can only use so many bookmarks. In fact, I ended up pitching a bunch of them before I left the hotel,at one conference I went to. As a reader the thing I most like to receive is of course free books. The next best freebies are practical things I can actually use, like the post-it notes, pens, or the bath bomb (I love that one too). As a writer, I want to get the biggest bang for my buck. That means promotional items that actually get my name out there. I don't want to spend money on things that people will throw out. I really like the idea of a tie-in between the promo item and the writer's latest release or her brand, as in Sherry Thomas' case. Very smart.

So, if there were 2,200 people at this ocnference, how many bath bombs would Sherry Thomas have to provide? I'm guessing this promo thing could get expensive.


Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Karyn, I have a photo of Sherry signing books and thought I had one of her books, too but a look at the free books (my last Chick post) didn't show one. :(

I have to tell you though, after the first couple rooms, I was worried about suitcase weight. In theory, I could've brought a couple hundred books back or had then mailed like many others did.

And truthfully, I didn't know about any of the free stuff before, either. Which is one of the reasons I'm posting about it... if people see what you get, it might sway their decision about attending.

Yes, I believe you will get published, Karyn. And just think of all the fun ways you can promo your 'Good' name. LOL

Anita Mae.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Jana, I heard before that many people throw out bookmarks but in my case, I was collecting them because we use them - a lot of them - in our house, as we are all fiction readers.

I liked the promo cards with recipes, prayers and the calendar, but the rest do seem wasteful.

And to get back to Karyn's statement - yes, it was all free - and I didn't include all the erotic stuff, like candy shaped like a part of the male's anatomy, etc.

As for cost, it definitely could be a huge financial outlay. In Sherry's case, I believe the 'bombs' were hand made, so it would just be the cost of materials which are usually found in a supermarket. And I'm sure the authors don't bring enough for everyone because not everyone would be interested.

You just gave me an idea for another blog post... follow up with some of the authors who offered freebies and see how much they spent, brought and had left. As well as what happens to the ones that don't get picked up.

Thanks, Jana.

Anita Mae.