Thursday, April 27, 2006

Give-Aways and Gimmy Gimmicks

One of the marketing buzz words is 'branding."
Which always makes me shift my butt in my chair and supress the urge to bawl - having pillaged in my youth my brother's collection of Zane Grey and Louis d'Amour and listened to his endless repetitions, inexpertly accompanied by guitar, of "The Streets of Laredo."
Screw that.
Remotedly related to this high concept marketing is the Toy.
The Give-away. The Gimmick.
Bookmarks, buttons, lapel pins and pens.
Magnets, coasters, minatures.
Recipes, retorts and ravioli.
Any neat, attractive little thing that might serve as a reminder of your name and title and also provide an inexpensive reward for any contest you might run in conjunction with your promotional efforts to convince people To. Buy. Your. Book.
Saw one that offered a bottle of perfume as a prize.
Well. Wow.
That's Mega Marketing to my mild and unmercantile eyes.
Can't remember now if it was a "signature" scent or simply an up-market promo prize.
Like a dingle berry or a blueberry or what ever they're called.
Nevertheless, in my crass and plebian mind, it struck a chord.
So, while ruminating on the potential for adaptation of this strategy I meditated about the felicity of a pewter pin shaped like a Falchion or something else of that ilk relative to my series.
Let's say you had a sufficient budget for this sort of promotion.
Not throw-away, wads of dollars, but adequate.
What sort of unique, memorable, tangible, signature item would you choose to immediately identify your book or series?


Erik Ivan James said...

Paper placemats?

kmfrontain said...

A gryphon broach or small pewter figurine.

Bernita said...

Minature as in coaster, Erik?

That would be a keeper, KM.
A treasure, really.

Ric said...

erik is picking on my placemats.

Tis an idea though, 50,000 placemats with quotes from the book, like a back cover, - something to read while waiting for your grits and eggs.

Wonder if it would translate into sales?

Let's see - a small pewter figurine, at $2.50 @ in bulk - And the royalty on the book would be - $2.50 or so...........

Erik Ivan James said...

No, Ric, not picking on them. My almost finished book is about them.

Ric said...

This should be interesting.

Bernita said...

How nice to have you back!
Hope your mother ( or you) is not exhausted by the trip.

For the sake of discussion I'm postulating a promo budget out of the blue, not related to advances or royalties or "real" profit and loss.
What gimmick might be a winner?
Like the back cover blurby thing.

Savannah Jordan said...

The whit and wisdom you bestow daily in this blog is gift enough!! Although, the pewter piece sounds nice.

As to me, I am also a jewelry maker. I have pieces circling the necks of people in other countries. :) SO, when I get the focal bead custom designed, I will have a contest for a necklace hand beaded by the author herself. :)

Carla said...

Kate Allan gives away fridge magnets, and bookmarks are very popular, I believe.

Personally, little gimmicky marketing gifts put me off a product. If I want a pen, set of coasters, bookmark, I'll buy one, and if I don't want one, it's irritating clutter that I'll feel guilty about throwing away. If I buy somebody's book I buy it because I want to read it. An interesting website and a decent length extract (at least a couple of chapters) so I can see what I'm getting before I order are far more likely to get me to buy a book than any number of free pens.

Dennie McDonald said...

I have a fishbowl of condoms in the closet (really truly) I could give one away per book - you practice what you read... no - you don't think that would work?!?!?

Savannah Jordan said...



Now I have to wipe off the tea I spit all over my screen....

Bernita said...

Now that, Savannah, is something very unique and special.
I feel the same, Carla. I want the BOOK. However, the lemming thing is trinkets, thus the question.

Oh, Dennie!
I can just see some elderly woman - one of those they claim are big buyers of erotica and romance - looking at it the same as she does for those sex e-mails on her computer for viagra - and asking in a puzzled voice, "But what would I DO with it?"
I think it would have to be an UNUSUAL condom to elicit any real interest...

Dennie McDonald said...

I have flavored and glow in the dark...

Dennie McDonald said...

lest you think me than you might already (hello have four kids - didn't use them too,too much! - too much information!?!? sorry...) They were given to us by the hubby's work (as a Joke I guess - men - sheesh) after #4 son was born - the hubby got "fixed" right after so the condoms are of no use now -

Bernita said...

Her Passionata.
Ric comes back and the conversation gets explicit.
He must be a catalyst.
Maybe you could get some commercial support, Dennie.
A condom company. Mention the brand in the book.

Anonymous said...

I know it's lame, and I know some booksellers hate them, but I'm partial to bookmarks. They save me the trouble of tearing something up to shove in the spine of my books!

Savannah Jordan said...

Yup! I'm unique... *wicked laugh*

Bernita said...

You need a package of those post-it tabs, Jason.

I'm even lamer - I dog ear the pages.

Best description of a book mark I've seen is Dennie's. Had the cover of her book and the ISBN/publisher. Maybe this is standard, but I think it is smart.
Seems though that bookmarks are both expected and ignored. People often don't read them, but they feel cheated if they don't get one.

Ric said...

glad to be back, glad to be of service in getting this blog back raunchy - where Bernita intends it to be -

glow in the dark condoms

New pastor in town, comes to visit little old lady organist - sees pile of condoms on top of her Hammond - can't resist asking

Her reply? "The instructions said Place on Organ for best protection"

Nice to be home.

Bernita said...

Ric, you wound me.
Believe me, if I want this blog to be continually raunchy, I would be much more direct.
Nevertheless, it's lovely to have you back safe and sound, in fine form, and unscathed by highway idiots.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Dennie, honey...dare I ask why you've kept a fishbowl of condoms in the you use them as party favors or something?

Flavored...dayglo....ahhhh..mispent youth!

Hmmmm...I never thought about a book is entitled, Touched By Fire....I dunno...what do ya' think...matchbooks or fire extinguishers!!! LOL!

Bernita said...

Hmmm. Kevlar, Bonnie?

jamie ford said...

Interesting question.

How 'bout a set of red chopsticks.

Bernita said...

Sounds like a neat idea to me, Jamie.

Dennie McDonald said...

I can't just throw away 300 condoms - and they are of no use, so they sit...

Muse said...

I don't have a novel on the go, but can well imagine excerpts of my scholarly work printed on toilet paper, designed to unfurl in the same way as the verbal diarrhea that preceded its use.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Dennie...I must tell you...extreme heat (like Texas weather) will degrade the latex...So I wouldn't give them out...uhhumf...for the intended purpose....LOL...ROFLOL!

Bernita said...

Said Muse...who has a chapter in an anthology coming out.

For The Trees said...

Ah, let's see: Texas heat - which is legendary - and a huge bowl of condoms...may need to blow them all up and see if they hold air - or water, checking to be sure they're okay to give out, because SOMEBODY will use one for its intended use, whether or not there's a warning stamped on them or not.

Hmmmmm: marketing ploy: hand out one to every freshman at the local high school...the item will reside in the boy's wallet for at least several years, until it melts and sticks to all the papers it's around (hopefully not money) but it'll provide that longed-for circular lump that youngsters crave.

But then again, the way kids are THESE days, I think they'd probably use the damn things.

Oh, well. Rent a tank of hydrogen and blow'em all up for party balloons at the kids' birthday parties. When visiting moms look askance, just tell'em you're using them all up this way because they didn't work for you.


My God, the wonderful things Bernita has on her blog comments! I gotta come over here just to keep up!!

Okay, enough, Forrest - back to writing! See ya!

Bernita said...

Tahnk you so, Dennie.

Forrest's idea is great. Have the kids use them for a water balloon war.

R.J. Baker said...

How about a spent shell casing for a mystery book with a murder involved?

Bernita said...

Gee, I don't know, R.J., wouldn't it be best to have something that is superficially useful?

R.J. Baker said...

I'm not sure what useful object can have a murder mystery tie-in. A bottle opener? A pen? Silk panties? Letter opener? Bar napkin?

What could be unique and a collectors item and be cost effective? Spent shell casings are free if you can find them, and they maybe could be imprinted. Maybe make them into a key chain.

Boy self promomtion is hard, hard, hard...

Bernita said...

Perhaps something related to the denoument of the plot, RJ....a badge, a clock, a subway token, a statue, a flower....
Remember The Saint's signature was a stick figure.
Key chain sounds good.