Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Giveaways

Back in the day, back when I was a total newbie, I thought I had to have something to give to potential readers when I went to conferences. Everyone else was handing out pens and keyrings and little notebooks. Well, those things cost money--money I didn't have. So I gave out pocket rocks. And hair piks.

The pocket rocks were from my Camelot series and the hair piks were from my Mystic Valley series. I thought they would have the advantage of novelty. My daughter and her family were living with us. Everyone in the family was dragooned into painting or some other step in the process. When it was time for the conference, off I went, secure in the belief I had some fabulous giveaways.

Well, it didn't exactly go that way. At the end of the conference, I had a lot of rocks and piks. A reviewer stopped at my table and offered to take them to mail out in various reader packs, so I gave most of them to her. Every one of them had my web page painstakingly printed on them. They weren't expensive, but sure did take hours to make.

And the takeaway? I can't point to even one sale I made from them. And that was supposedly the point, according to all the author advice out there. Get your name in front of potential buyers!

I expect you're wondering why I'm bringing this up now. Well, everyday new writers stumble on to the publishing scene, overwhelmed with advice and helpful tips. Here is mine. Don't waste your money with giveaways in the belief you will attract new readers. Most of the people who take them are already fans. That's okay. Readers deserve extra little rewards. But you really don't need hundreds of them.

The other reality? Many of the folks I talked to packed the stuff from conferences, carted it home, and promptly dumped it in the trash. I have to say the few I discussed this particular conference with told me they still had their rock...or hair pik. So. I guess you could say my hard work paid off. My name is still sitting on their desk.


  1. I listened to that advice, too. When Assassin's Kiss came out I gave out cinnamon stick flavored lip balm and all 500 sticks were snatched up because it's something that people used. I thought I was so smart but judging by my lack of sales, as good of an idea as I thought it was, it wasn't. If I'd had 500 fans at the time, it would have been a nice reward:)

  2. Oh, yeah. I can so relate. We all live and learn, don't we? Good to hear from you!