A while back over at C.S. Harris’ blog, she had a discussion with readers about author swag, or as I like to call it, free shit. At the RT convention in New Orleans this year she noted many authors setting up their tables with related author swag – running the gamut from bookmarks and buttons to…wait for it…lubricant from a noted erotica author (and eeuuuww). Her inner monologue response to the display “Oh dear, I only brought myself” made me laugh out loud. She wondered if it’s necessary and if it really works.
When I would go to the Natural Products Expo I would see, and be APPALLED BY, people walking up to tables and practically demanding product. Yes, there are lots of samples – it’s where buyers go to look at new lines and yes, you need samples to sell your product. But really, please behave. I saw two women with suitcases for crying out loud just loading up. What. The Hell. What exactly is it about free shit? Even if it’s something you wouldn’t necessarily want, if it’s free you’re all over it. I’m not being high-and-mighty on this one, ’cause I’m totally guilty.
But not with author swag I’m not. Several of my favorite authors offer it as prizes on Facebook or at conventions. That’s great, but I don’t want crap that I have to find a place for and dust. If I went to a book convention I’d go to stalk, er, I mean, meet my favorite authors. I’m not there for the frickin’ mug. And your swag is not going to make me pick up your book if I’ve never read you. I see swag as being for the faithful fans who want a representation of some aspect of their favorite book; it’s not for me but I can see how some people would like it.
What I don’t get is that it’s now expected. Geez, you get a book a year (sometimes two if you’re lucky) and you want stuff?
So, to my favorite authors: no I don’t need author swag. Spend that money (because I know that for many of you that isn’t paid for by the publisher) on another cup of coffee, or tea, or whatever helps you power through that next chapter. I don’t mind dusting books.