Friday, January 25, 2013

Do You Like Swag?

I ask if you like swag, when maybe I should ask if you know what swag is. I looked up the word and this is what is listed on
1) a suspended wreath, garland, drapery, or the like, fastened up at or near each end and hanging down in the middle; festoon. 2) a wreath, spray, or cluster of foliage, flowers, or fruit. 3) a festoon, especially one very heavy toward the center. 4) a swale. 5) a swaying or lurching movement.
That kind of surprised me, because not one of those mentions JUNK. Yeah, that's what I think swag is.

But swag is (are?) those items authors give away. You know, book marks, magnets, pens, trading cards, post cards, etc., etc., etc.

As a reader, swag never did anything for me. I keep the pens (of course I have way more than I know what to do with), I eat the candy (but couldn't tell you who I got them from), and use the note pads (those get used the most, actually), but mostly the stuff I get from conventions ends up in the trash.

So color me surprised when my daughter's friend gushed over all the "free" stuff that was being given away at Dragon*Con. I looked over all that "free" stuff and wasn't too impressed (not a pen or magnet in the bunch!). I can only imagine how she would react at a readers' convention. Still junk (to me), but way better for sure!

Anyway, what do you think of swag? What's your favorite kind? Do you like to collect it? Do buy books based on them? I never have, but then again, I'm strange and I know it.




Maria Zannini said...

Swag has never induced me to buy a book, but it has on occasion reminded me about the author.

It's used to reinforce a brand but not necessarily to sell.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I don't think I've ever bought anything based on the swag they give out. I have some really neat pens - but those are from authors I've already purchased. I also have a fridge covered in magnets from various people - some with calendars. Those are great. But like Maria said, they do more to reinforce the brand in my head than encourage me to buy.

Jennette Marie Powell said...

No, not strange. I do the exact same thing you do with swag!

LD Masterson said...

I do have the impulse to pick up swag when I see it displayed just because it's there but I try to resist. Most of it will end up in the trash. I can't remember any swag prompting me to buy a book.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Wow, this is interesting. It makes me wonder why authors go to all the expense. If swag isn't encouraging sales, then why bother?

Maybe swag enforces a brand, but if the reader is not buying, what good is it? I don't see the return on investment (yeah, that's the accountant in me showing up).

Certainly gives me plenty to think about when I plunge into publishing.

Laura Stephenson said...

I use the business cards as bookmarks. And if I had more money, I would actually buy some of the books. I'm just too poor at the moment.

The Happy Whisk said...

I have a Diary of a Wimpy Kid hat that I wear when I write. I got it a few bucks cheaper because I also bought the book. But it didn't matter, I was buying the book anyway. And since it wasn't free, maybe it's not all that swag.

Not a great word, I think.

But either way, I love hat.

Missed Periods said...

I love magnets!

Michael Seese said...

I my line of work, swag is short for "Silly Wild-A$$ed Guess."