Marketing, Swag, & Books! Oh My!

By Vicki-Ann Bush

Where to begin? Most authors I’ve met who are just starting out with their first book are unaware of the time, work, and expense you need to get your name out into the world. I know this because I was once one of the naïve, smiley preschoolers, happily sashaying to my first signing with little more than a few pens and my books. It didn’t take long for me to realize that although I knew my book was about to change the world, the world didn’t agree.

The first thing I did with my newly acquired ounce of wisdom was to sign up for author events in town. I scoured the list of festivities and tried to attach my name to as many as I could. Once I did a few of those missions to gather intel, I felt a bit more comfortable. Now I needed to apply what I’d observed to me and my books.

I stood back and took a look at who I am, who I wanted to project and the type of reader that might enjoy my brand. I italicized that word because for this newbie it was a strange concept and apparently an important one. I never thought of myself as a brand of anything other than me. But I quickly realized it’s so much more. This was my most difficult challenge when defining the tools I’d need to create the me the world would see. Now I’m not saying you need to re-create yourself, rather I’m saying you need to drop the curtain. Be willing to put yourself out there and expose the creative parts of you that in the past were only for you. It’s scary, tough and at times, frustrating. But stick with it, eventually you’ll get to the sweet spot.

Once your goals become clearer, that’s when the marketing and swag will become fun. Okay marketing not fun but easier, but the swag—definitely a high point for me. I love looking for new ideas to bring with me to giveaway at signings. It feeds my creativity in a way that also assists my need to make others smile. I mean they’ve already committed to buying your book, but now they get a gift too. Ninety-nine percent of the time their eyes light up and that smile melts me.

I can’t tell you what bookmark to design, or which bauble will be a big hit, that’s for you and you alone to decide. What I can tell you is to observe, note and apply. When you partake in signings, see what the readers get excited about, make a reference on your phone, or write it down and when you’re ready to start ordering trinkets for your signings, apply. Take what you saw and mold it to your benefit. Maybe readers were excited about a cute key chain or necklace. Research what might work along those same lines for you, and of course be smart about cost. This is supposed to entice and say thank you, but not leave you broke. I spend a lot of time rummaging through the website of Oriental Trading Company. I’m especially excited about the new potion bottle necklaces I purchased for the Alex McKenna series. They were literally pennies and yet make a great presentation.

There you have it, the quickie version of how to begin your sometimes daunting journey into the marketing world of books. I hope it helps give you a smidge of direction and if not, my door is always open. Well, not my door, but my email, phone, or messenger.

About the Author

Vicki-Ann Bush is originally from Long Island, New York, and currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Living in the desert has given her inspiration for several books.

Newly released is the adult fiction, Saving a Life, from Solstice Publishing. In addition, coming in Fall 2019  from The Parliament House, the YA Paranormal LGBTQ, Alex McKenna & The Geranium Deaths. A series of books that will feature a seventeen year old, transgender boy with paranormal abilities.

Learn More about Vicki-Ann 


Get social: FB / IG / TW @vickiannbush

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