Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Beyond the Bookmark

with guest blogger K.C. Frantzen (and May the K9 Spy)

KC here.

So glad to be hosting Seekerville! Thank you, Tina, and everyone. Y’all hungry? I brought turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey sausage, turkey spaghetti, turkey wings… (Just kidding…)

Y’all know me as the transcriptionist for my Schnauzer, May the K9 Spy, but previous chapters of my life include: working for my dad at his veterinary clinic, teaching 5th grade, a phone sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, a corporate field rep for a promotional products firm, creating and running a supply business, buying and running a franchise that welcomes new movers… Yikes! Through all these experiences and challenges, God’s been with me every page.

Perhaps you have a circuitous route to today as well, or… maybe not. Whatever meaningful work we choose, or even if we’re talking on a personal level, image is what we present to the world.

Now that many of us are authors or working in that direction, what about our author image?

Maybe like me, you’re searching for items to present yourself and your business beyond a simple bookmark.

If you’re traditionally published, some of that image is decided for you. You have an agent plus marketing and art departments to assist. As we’ve learned here in Seekerville however, even those authors must do quite a bit themselves.

But as indies, we can creatively imagine our own. Daunting! Since my first book May on the Way: How I Become a K9 Spy released in September 2011, I’ve tried some things that have worked well, and others not so much.

To digress…

This past September, Beverly Lewis was signing at MoonPie General Store and The Original Book Warehouse in Pigeon Forge, TN.  A friend and I had already planned a trip as the store was interested in purchasing my book series. (And did, along with the Mini-May plush!) Of course, I was elated to meet Mrs. Lewis that day - her name was enough to draw throngs of people to the store - and looked to see what she had on her table, besides the boatload of books she was signing!

There were bookmarks, postcards and tucked away to the side, a quad-fold flyer, only given to those who asked. Notice the right section of the flyer lists all her books, with boxes to check for those in your collection.  




But for those of us who aren’t household names (yet!) let’s think beyond the bookmark…

Sandra’s SWAG - Something We All Get - post earlier this year addressed some of this topic.

Helen Lacey touched brand and platform here: http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2013/11/all-worlds-stage.html

Since I was in the logo/ad specialty business, let’s walk through the decision process.

**  Think about what you want to accomplish with your investment.
   
Think short term AND long term. Be specific.
   
As an author, perhaps you’ve written a series. Or you’re known for writing a certain genre.
You want to be top of mind when buyers (readers or book sellers) are looking for something in your category to read or gift.

Maybe you simply want to announce your new release to potential buyers. Or you’re joining other authors in a boxed set, sharing readers and expanding territory. Or you write non-fiction and your book(s) tie in directly with work, a ministry or charity.

Each situation could have similar yet very different goals.

**  Prepare a realistic budget.
   
Again, think short term AND long term.
   
To briefly digress, I’m originally from Houston, TX where Mattress Mack’s story is legendary. 

Newsflash! We are in business too! Books are our product. But we don’t necessarily have lots of money to promote our image. 

Do we have $50 to invest over a year? $100? $500+? Think about what items we could use over time, what occasions will occur in the next year, or two, and buy accordingly.

**  Find items to enhance your image

Not much $$ available? No worries. Perhaps you’re the crafty type or know someone who would help to coordinate something with your book or brand.…

Prolific Texas author, Janice Thompson, bakes and decorates gorgeous cookies to coordinate with her wedding books! 

Along with purchased items, local author Rita Monette shares a nicely printed short story telling more about her main character, Nikki Landry.   




You could wrap tea bags. Stuff a small box with nuts or goodies. Print labels or scratch pads. If you won’t get lost for an hour, or promise to return when you do (!), check out Pinterest here... and here. And here. 

Just remember these items will be consumed, so unless the container is stellar, it will end up in the circular file along with your name.

Stores like Hobby Lobby, Big Lots, Oriental Trading, Overstock, or even Ebay carry a host of materials to help you do it yourself. You probably know others to share in the comments section. Next time you visit, browse with your books in mind.

While my phenomenal editor, Sandra Byrd, no longer does personal appearances, she does hold giveaways: “I try to do something unique and tied into the content of each book, as well as my brand. One of the giveaways for my forthcoming novel, A Lady in Disguise, will be a Happily Ever After candle by Prize Candles. My story has a unique Cinderella twist, I always write HEA endings, and there is some bling - so Cinderella appropriate - within each candle, that the lucky winner can find as the candle burns.”

What about professionally printed items? Envision ways to use a pen or magnet over a year or two: in person, by mail, contests, goodie bags, at conventions, drawings… Larger quantities keep your per piece costs down. A print run of 50 books costs less overall, but the per piece price is significantly higher than pieces in a print run of 500 or 1000+.
   
Everyone loves a bargain. But if you go to the effort and expense to purchase something, and your recipient tosses it moments later, you’ve wasted your money, or worse, the recipient associates your name with something worthless. That's not really a bargain, is it?

A bargain is an advantageous purchase on several levels: objectives met, price, wow factor… Be mindful of quality as well as cost.

How? Like anything else, know your limitations. Enlist professional assistance!

America just celebrated Small Business Saturday. Search under ad specialties, promotional products, or marketing materials and find a local shop to help you navigate the thousands of possibilities. They work with small clients with small budgets too. :)

Look for companies affiliated with ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute).  What a treasure of information they can share! Reps know what’s trending, what products have been well-received, best quality, timely delivery, etc. It’s their business to help our business be successful. Plus, they have showrooms to browse. If you’ve never visited one, you’ll be AMAZED.

Develop a relationship with the sales representative. He can help you avoid vendors with pricey setup fees and advise ways to minimize other somewhat hidden fees such as resizing logos and shipping. He can even suggest artwork that can be used for more than one item. Tell your rep what you do, and have him suggest things to promote yourself and your brand. Note: some items have a tremendous markup, so ask him to sharpen his pencil if possible.  


Planning ahead (usually) saves money! Ask him to inform you about seasonal specials and clearance items, or which companies will waive setup fees. But see a physical sample of the item before you purchase. (Been there, done that… not in a good way. DRAT.) Should you choose to use an online source, search for verified product reviews and/or see a sample before ordering. Choose American made, if available. :)

Businesses like Staples have a Copy & Print section that might suit your needs. If you sign up for emails, you’ll receive coupon codes like I did last week: 15% off and free shipping. I’ve also used www.123print.com and www.vistaprint.com for business cards, labels, envelopes, postcards, notecards.

Okay. Let’s have some fun!

What branded items do YOU have at home? Why did you keep them? Do you remember the person who offered it? Do you use their services? What is the feeling or thought you have as you see the product? Is that something you’d like for your recipients to think about you and your business? Act accordingly!

Here are some SWAG items I’ve held onto. Each time I use them, I remember the business. Would something like this be beneficial for your career too?



In my May the K9 Spy repertoire are several items, including tattoos. These I tuck into books and thank you notes and also share with visitors at craft fairs and festivals.

My wristband is a dual-purpose item, serving as a prize during school visits and ID collars for my plush toys.

For prizes and street team/first readers, I’ve used Swagmaster Designs for bookmarks and charm bracelets. Note on bookmarks. Size appropriately for your own books. Mine are hardcover 6x9, so this bookmark ribbon is 10-3/4” ~ and May gray! The beads and charms add length.  




Check Nashville Wraps.  Oh. My… They carry lovely items, many of which can be printed or you could add your own label. I purchased these 2 bags from them. 

Finally, here’s a gallimaufry (Gotta love www.thesaurus.com) of other items that might spark ideas. Some have a longer shelf life than others. How could you tie your book or brand into one of these products?


Breath Mints                     Lip Balm                     Screen Cleaning Cloth
Smartphone Wallet           Laundry Bag               Power Bank
Jar Opener                       Screwdriver                 Seeds
Bandage Dispenser         Magnet                         Post-It’s
Christmas ornament         Mug                              T-shirt   
Beacon Light                    USB                              Luggage Tag
Rubber Duck                    Eyeglass Repair Kit     Guitar Pick
Frisbee                             Hacki Ball                     Emery Board
Can Opener                     Hand Fan                      Boomerang


Remember many are not expensive and come in shapes: heart, computer, house, foot, bone, light bulb, van, tooth, telephone, light bulb, #1, America… Some are lightweight and flat to mail with your books, but you shouldn’t ship them at media mail rate. 

Let’s talk turkey!


Readers, what items would you like have and to hold from favorite authors?

Authors, what other ideas do you have to share? Anything particularly memorable you’ve seen before or used yourself?
    

THREE-FER GIVEAWAY:

We’re giving 2 sets of May the K9 Spy e-books: 1 to a reader and 1 a writer. Please specify Amazon, Kobo or Nook. But wait! There’s more! Don’t answer! 

Since it’s nearing Christmas, a third winner may choose any hardcover May book and your choice of plush toy: Mini-May, the star of our series or Nykeeda the Cheetah, from our latest release May Saves the Day: Situation in St. Petersburg! 


Check out the entire series here.
Merry Christmas from all of us at May the K9 Spy, a little early!



KC Frantzen learned to speak Critter at a young age. As a veterinarian's daughter, she was always surrounded by four-footed friends. Then in God’s perfect timing, along came “Only Small May,” a 10 lb. rescue Schnauzer who stole her heart and never gave it back. (But who knew May was a spy?)

KC and her husband volunteer with a variety of projects, including the Joni & Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway. They enjoy traveling just about anywhere, which helps formulate ideas for the May the K9 Spy series. The family lives in the country hills of middle Tennessee with two magnificent Arabian horses, several brilliant rescue dogs, and one lovely rescue calico cat.

Discover details here about KC’s FREE visits to schools and groups in this video!  

Connect anytime at www.maythek9spy.com and www.facebook.com/MaytheK9Spy.


113 comments :

  1. As a reader, I love matching bookmarks for my books! And then every time I read a book by that author, I'll have one to mark my pages. I also like notepads or post-it's and pens. Those are about the only things I keep.

    I know other readers like a wider variety of things, but since I am a practical person, I treasure things I can actually use :-)

    I love your Schnauzer KC! Growing up, my parents had a mini-Schnauzer named Heidi. She was brown and tan with unclipped ears and tail. It was so cute to see her tail curled up around her back and she was the sweetest girl! Then they had to give her up because with their jobs taking up so much of their time, Heidi started to tear things up while they were gone during the day. But the good news was, she went to our life insurance ladies mom who had a couple of other schnauzers. I guess they got along well, it was a happy ending for everyone!

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  2. I do love swag. I particularly like the items that I can use. Things like pens, notepads, sticky-notes, mugs etc. I even have a few baubles that go onto my Christmas tree.

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  3. Good morning KC! My mind is trying to process the image I want to convey to readers.

    This is an absolutely amazing post and I love that you provided links and names of possible companies to purchase from.

    One of my favorite things is the Writer's Prayer from Debby Giusti. I have it framed and on my desk. I also like fun things I can display. I have yarn from Debbie Macomber. It is a mini-skein and was a giveaway at RWA one year. It sits on s shelf with her books. Things that work beyond just one book.

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  4. Welcome back, KC! And high five paws to May!

    Terri is right. This is a terrific post.

    You go so far beyond the bookmark with great ideas.

    I have picked up a pen from my desk and looked up the author, many a time. I love good pens. I love tote bags. I love swag!!

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  5. Congratulations on your latest May release! Love the cover. Tell us about the research that went into this book!

    Are we still praying for your other doggie to come home?

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  6. Hi KC! This was a really great post. Thank you.

    I love swag too! Especially if it is something I can use, like pens, bookmarks, coasters, refrigerator magnets, etc. One thing I received from an author was a can of teabags and the can was an old-fashioned red telephone booth like they had in England. Her book it was for was set in England during WWII.

    I would love to be in your drawing. For e-books, I would need Amazon Kindle.

    Have a blessed day.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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  7. Welcome, May! Congratulations on your latest release!
    I agree with Terri, one of my favorite gifts was the Writer's Prayer from Debby.She also included a lovely journal and notepad with scriptures from Psalms.
    Thank you for this terrific post and great links too!

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  8. Good morning early risers!

    We're SO excited to be here today.
    And really, instead of turkey, I brought an egg soufflé my DH makes. YUM! Sides of fresh fruit and chicken sausage, and several breads and homemade jams.

    I'm still not finished with Pumpkin Spice however, so there's coffee with real cream and sugar, and assorted teas and juice. Help yourself!

    Dive in and let's talk goodies!

    (I know. Lots of !!!! marks. What can I say? May has influenced me. HA!)

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  9. TRIXI ~ Isn't that a wonderful way to collect things? Keep that bookmark with that author's book. /V8 moment/

    I've honestly never thought to do this (she says blushing)... I usually use bookmarks with the book, then transfer to another. What a great idea (that surely everyone else is already doing). The things we learn in Seekerville. :)

    Oh my yes. Schnauzers. What a sweet little Heidi. Yes, they can certainly be demanding and my Dad has always said, two dogs are better than one. They keep each other company when you're not home which is a real plus if you're working long hours. So glad she found a good home! Our boy, Cass (He's in the 4th book) has flop ears but his tail is cropped. Perhaps for much the same reason, we took him in when his previous family could no longer keep him. He's PAWSOME and goes with me to school visits.

    Thanks for being here today!


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  10. MARY ~ That's a great list! We, too, have some goodies for our Christmas tree.
    Speaking of that, as I was compiling the list, I COMPLETELY forgot a very successful item we had made during our franchise years.

    Being in TN, there are many musical folks. A friend mentioned a guy at his church in the Knoxville area who was quite talented. We hired him to play/sing and put together a Christmas CD of music. It helped him get exposure too. We had another friend design the cover and internals, sharing our own greeting emphasizing the Hope, Grace and Love that only Christ provides.

    It was so successful, we did it again the next year. It was VERY cost effective, so keep that in mind too. Still have a former client who became a friend who tells us it's not the Christmas season until she plays the CD's in her store. :) THAT is top of mind, y'all.

    So glad you came by today. Thanks!

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  11. Good morning and welcome to Seekerville, KC and May. My first book signing is this Friday and all I've come up with is a bowl of candy to give away, and I made new business cards. They asked me to speak first and then to autograph books.

    Thanks for sharing these ideas today!

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  12. TERRI ~ YES YES YES!

    So glad that the post made you think. It's super important in so many areas as we know, and this is another. What a great idea about the yarn! Isn't that simple? Easy to pack, not pricey and a keeper. Love it!

    You got it. Things that work beyond one book.

    Let us know when you come up with something that works for you, if you like. Good to share these ideas! Appreciate the visit today. :D Happy writing and thinking!

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  13. TINA ~

    Yes to all the above. Tote bags. Definitely. Use them all the time, keeping the trunk organized, carrying things into craft fairs and schools during May visits, grocery store, you name it. Every time I use the bag, I remember all sorts of things about the event where I received it and the giver. That being said, I've gotten some cheapie bags that didn't last and... yeah. I either don't use them at all or threw them out and guess what I remember about the giver on those items? Same with pens...

    If there is one thing to takeaway from this (ok more than one but humor me here) - it's to spend WISELY.

    Thank you for asking. Our sweet Anna. /sigh/
    No sign of her yet. Many have mentioned they've seen our flyers so the word is out. It's likely she was chasing deer (a favorite pastime) and ran too far away. She's been missing since the day after Thanksgiving.

    But! She's not missing to God. He knows precisely her circumstances. Nothing surprises Him and He's perfectly provided. Hard to be on *this* side of it, not knowing... But He does and we're resting in that, and doing everything we know to do. That being said, paws and hands together in prayer for our girl would be much appreciated. Thank you so much.

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  14. Oh, and about May's latest.

    Yes. *ahem* We DID have to go on a Baltic cruise to research. ;) And one to Hawaii which prompted a couple fun scenes as well.

    Did I mention how I adore research?

    Since May is an international spy, we do get to travel to really cool places for research (though I somehow missed an in-dog visit to the Paris sewers). Plus I scour articles and headlines from a wide variety of sources, and snag interesting people to interview, all to weave a fun story. May does get into mischief, that's for sure!

    We're so humbled at the emails, letters and artwork we receive from children AND adults, letting us know the impact she's made in their lives. Even reluctant readers find something to cheer in her stories.

    Who knew? Sounds crazy, but God took a little abused Schnauzer and look what happened.

    Isn't it something? Only God can take us from a place of despair and offer hope and opportunity. Go May, go!

    It's true of everyone here in Seekerville, I'm guessing. We're all here for a reason, hope and inspiration for others. It's a good thing.

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  15. CINDY W ~

    So glad you stopped by. You're in the drawing. Thanks!

    OOOH - Love that idea on the tea container. Super clever! Did you keep it? Did the author have her name affixed to it in some way?

    Being in Seekerville is definitely a blessing. Thank you for being part of my day!

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  16. JILL ~

    Hi and howdy!
    Thanks! This latest release was 2+ years in the making so, I was VERY glad to have it finished and out there. It's a longer, more complicated tale with more characters.

    Being a part of the Seekerville community gave me the courage to give it a go. Hope anyone who reads it will leave an honest review. It's kind of a hoot. (Yes. A Cheetah shows up. And a Komodo Dragon. Who knew?)

    AGREED! Like so many, Debby's prayer is above my desk. I pray along with her every day I'm writing. It's just inspired. WTG, Debby!

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  17. JACKIE!!!

    Congratulations! That is so so exciting about your first book signing. You'll always remember it! Be sure to have someone there to take photos for you.

    Sounds like you're off to a good start. Hope this post will give you some ideas you can use in the future too!

    If you stop back by, be sure to let us know where/when and about your book! :)

    Prayers as you start the adventure. Congrats again!

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  18. This is such a wonderful post, chock full of great ideas! Thank you, KC, and thanks for being with us today!

    I love May. And you did plush, too? How did I miss that????

    Great idea!

    I brought fresh coffee....

    I'm doing revisions these next couple of weeks, but I love that you've planted great seeds of ideas for me! Thank you!

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  19. I'm not a SWAG keeper.

    Don't hate me for this.

    But that means nothing overall because I know lots of folks keep and cling... although I've been grateful to have a doctor's office pen in my purse now and again! :)

    And you will LAUGH, but my most favorite SWAG is food... Seriously, I can tell you who's fed me and coincidentally, I buy their books, LOL! I'm much more likely to give away candy bars with a label (now that I know how to make labels!!!) because there is research that shows memory is cemented by relating the memory to something good or bad (trauma). In a move to NOT traumatize my readers (love youse guys!!!) chocolate wins!!! :)

    I don't know if it works yet, but Grandma Eichas always found food sharing to be the best way to welcome someone in... So I'm following age-old wisdom...

    And when you're on the way home from a function, and there's a pack of M&M's or a Snickers bar in your bag... you suddenly love that person.

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  20. RUTHIE ~

    Chocolate is definitely right up there! Great points! NOOOOO trauma in real life. In books though, I hear that's a must. ;)

    Yep. We've had plush from the get go. You mean. You don't have a Mini-May? How'd we miss this? We have had a marvelous Parisian feral cat and currently a swanky Cheetah named Nykeeda. :D

    Glad you enjoyed the post. You're proving the point that different folks like different things, which is what contributes to interesting lives, no?

    Thanks for the fresh coffee. Yum!

    Sure appreciate you and the Seekers. Even named the cruise ship in Book 4 Seeker of the Seas in your honor. >smile<

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  21. Great post, Karen. Thanks for including my swag packet. One thing I learned doing my little story printout to promote my series...Watch out for any color print if you're using a place like Office Max for copies. While in Louisiana doing a signing, I ran out of copies and stopped at the nearest Office Max. I had sticker shock when I got the bill. Apparently my last page had a couple of links to my website, etc., and were in color (put there by my word processor of course). They charged me more then double per page for those two lines of colored print. Lesson learned.

    I also find that book buyers still LOVE their bookmarks. I always do a bookmark specifically for each book, with a blurb and the book cover on one side and my photo and bio on the backside, with all my links. They are pretty reasonable at Vistaprint. I've had people to lose their bookmarks for a certain book and beg me for a replacement.

    I love your puppy print bag!!!

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  22. Hi KC, I really enjoyed your column this morning. What great suggestions of an array of goodies to leave behind for your readers. Very unique too. Bookmarks are always a great hit. Thanks for naming distributors you frequent that are reasonable and reliable. I am a writer and will save your column for future use. I didn't realize they call this stuff swag. That's why I love Seekerville. It's a learning experience everyday. I wish you a great holiday season and continued success in you writing.

    I'm sipping my favorite, French vanilla coffee and fresh banana bread is baking. Smells great in here right now. Sigh. Thanks for sharing, KC.

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  23. Fun article! I need to work on some swag for sure. I still have a jar opener Mary gave out at RWA in Atlanta. I use it often! How cool is that!

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  24. Good morning KC, I absolutely loved your post and all the great ideas and tips. I really loved the homemade ideas too!

    The only author goodies I have is bookmarks and I use them all the time. They make me smile. I work for a Christian radio station and we have given away...lip balm, jelly bracelets, tattoos, visors, t-shirts, fans, chip clips, sewing kits (the ladies loved these little kits), emery boards (we gave these out at Women of Faith every year and women always came back and showed us their boards), sunscreen (at outdoor concerts), travel mugs, rulers, pencils and pens.

    I am digging on some sourdough toast with a soft boiled egg (not fancy but so good on a cold day in Arizona - no joke it is 27 where I'm at) :) and I am loving my big mug of coffee.

    Thank you for sharing today. :)

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  25. RITA ~

    Thank YOU! I just loved your idea about sharing Nikki's "prequel" with readers and fans. It's a usually (thanks for that tip about color printing) inexpensive item to share. Glad the Louisiana trip went well for you.

    For those who don't know, Rita's series is set in the swamps there. Fun reads!

    Much success to you. So glad we know each other in real life, here in TN!

    Good to know about Vistaprint and the bookmarks. I like the idea about making them for each book too. If you stop back in, do you include info on the series also?

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  26. Hello KC!

    I think if I was a kid reading about May the K9 Spy, I'd love to have a stuffed May complete w/the glasses. That would be the coolest, but probably a little too expensive.

    I use bookmarkers, but only one or two. After that, my bookmarks get thrown into a pile never to be seen from again. I love good pens, but I don't know if it would encourage me to buy a book unless I already planned to do so. But I'd still love the pen.

    The homemade goodies sound the best!

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  27. TINA ~

    Earlier you asked about research for May Saves The Day...

    My editor wisely told me I'd glossed over an event that should've been experienced on scene.

    As I was thinking about it, I remembered my dear friend, Charlynn Johns, wrote a book entitled A Good Reason To Go. It's her memoirs as an itinerant missionary clown. With her permission, I reworked some of her material and it has truly resonated with readers. Her book is well worth the read.

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  28. Great advice, great ideas! Thanks, KC! This is definitely a post to bookmark!

    And OH YES!!! Having lived in Houston for 13 years, even 10 years later I still have memories of Mattress Mack!!!

    "SAVES. YOU. MONEY!!!!!!"

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  29. SUZANNE ~

    MMMM! I can smell the coffee and banana bread from here. MMMM! Cass's nose is just a sniffin' too... :D

    Thank you. So glad you found it useful. Yep. SWAG. There are other definitions for this term as with most acronyms but in this context, yep. Don't you just love this community?

    Yes, a Merry Christmas to all. Hard to believe we've celebrated Thanksgiving already. Wow. The year... Wow. Where did it all go?

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  30. JANET ~

    aHA! Jar opener! Aren't they wonderful and practical? Definitely sounds like Mary. :D Thanks for stopping by today. Have a good one!

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  31. KELLY ~

    BRRR. You're colder than we are here in TN right now. A warm front blustered through last evening, bringing high winds (not so good for fires in the Smokies) and much needed rain for us all.

    That's a great list of items. Yep. Chip clips. Forgot to mention those. We have perhaps 6-7 imprinted ones, some with magnets for the fridge or filing cabinet. Great item. Emery boards for ladies are always appreciated.

    Sure thank you for coming by and sharing what your radio station gives away. Take note, everyone!

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  32. KC, this is a fantastic, amazing, truly paw-some post! So much good advice and ideas. Thank you, thank you.

    Swag-wise I have a few items I have kept for a long, long time. One is a jar opener from Seekerville (actually I have two). I keep one in the kitchen drawer to use as a jar opener (imagine that). The other has served as everything from a coaster to a way to keep small items from sliding around in my car console. The other swag item is a lens-cloth for cleaning iPhone, computer screen, etc. While the jar openers have the Seekerville info on them, the lens-cloth doesn't. The clear plastic that the lens-cloth was packed in had the author's name on it. But even though her name isn't on the cloth, I remember who gave it to me :-)

    Glad your neighbors are on the look-out for Anna. May she be home, safe and sound, soon.

    Nancy C

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  33. I love that the ship is named for us! Yippee!!!!

    :)

    KC, after raising 6 kids and a bunch of other people's, too, (which I love!) I think I'm just allergic to clutter.

    And I'm not organized enough to find things after I tuck them away.

    But I also understand that I'm not the norm for readers, so your point about us all being different is perfect.

    Different works!

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  34. CONNIE ~

    About the Mini-May. You're right. They are in a slightly different category. I do give them away as prizes (like today!) but the silicone wristband that I have branded with our May the K9 Spy info and her slogan serves as the collar. Kind of a dual purpose there. And you might be surprised how many adults purchase them and the books for themselves. I am!

    Yep. Aren't we all different? Honestly? I don't use paper bookmarks much. A friend gave me one years ago that I just love. It's kind of a metal hook with beads and that's the one I use most.

    You, Cindy and Ruthie are in the same group with the food items it seems. :)

    Know what you mean about a SWAG item and making a purchase. One way to think of it is that it's simply to serve as a constant (?) reminder, so when you DO decide to make a purchase, the giver springs to mind.

    Thanks for coming by today!

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  35. MYRA ~

    Morning!

    So glad you found this post useful. So, you remember Mattress Mack? He's still going strong after all these years.

    Wonder if you and I saw each other on 45, 59 or 10 somewhere? Wouldn't that be something?

    True confession. Before meeting my DH through business of all things, we met through business(!) a couple years before. After we were married and combining households, I ran across his calling card attached to a letter I'd sent him. Just wasn't God's right timing at that point, was it?

    Houston is a massive place. We're so glad to live in rural TN now. Wshew!

    Thank you for coming by today!

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  36. NANCY C (CHILL N)

    Hey hey. We aim to please. :)
    Glad you found the post useful. That's part of what makes Seekerville so pawmazing, all the collective knowledge and sharing we do.

    Sounds like the Seekers, as usual, have it going on with the jar opener. WTG ladies!

    Interesting on the lens cloth and that you remember who gave it to you. I know that person is glad! Faces are memorable, but names sometimes, not so much.

    I say, why chance it? Spend a bit more and get the item imprinted so the recipient can't forget who you are.

    We sure appreciate your sentiments on Anna. One sweet couple we met on the road said they were driving around looking for her too. They'd lost a Husky last year and knew how it was... How sweet is that?

    God knows her situation and we're resting in this, and hope to hear her joyful bark at home soon! Even our dogs are looking for her. The eldest circles the house and ventures a ways into the field searching and sniffing. /sigh/

    Thanks for coming by today. :)

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  37. RUTHIE ~

    Naming the ship for you ladies was pawfect on SO many levels. ;)

    Speaking of research, it's mostly based on this ship: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F0iOEIcpqc Did I mention how much I adore research?

    Now to practicality, may I borrow some of your non-clutter ethic? PLEASE???? My DH would thank you... It's really something I MUST work on.

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  38. Thanks for such an important post. I am not there yet but hope to be in a year or two. I have some swag items from authors I use all the time. Some even go to church with me and I get comments from others.

    Bookmarks are great. I am on several street teams so I get a slew of them to pass out all year long but then every year our church has a ladies Christmas dinner and as part of the decorations at each place setting I put a bookmark which is a hit.

    Some of my treasured swag items are mugs. One says "I'd rather be reading a Tracie Peterson book. Another has pictures of the covers for all the books in a series by that author.

    I love totebags and carry them all the time. The ones that get attention by others are the ones that have covers of the books printed on the bags.

    One author gave out the water bottles with a straw. I use mine all the time and it means even more because I have met the author in person.

    One Author has given ornaments that go with a Christmas story. I treasure them. One of these was a cookie cutter with a cute tag. so I can also use it for a cookie cutter but it is also so cute hanging on my tree.

    I also love the pens and sticky pads too.

    One author makes jewelry and I have the cutest pair of earrings from her.

    Please enter me into one of your drawings. I must get back to my nano novel.

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  39. KC, thanks for this info packed, savvy post! I'm impressed with all you do to promote May's books. I had no idea you had created plush toys and bracelets/collars. All fabulous ideas for your young readership.

    I tend to dump swag unless it's practical. I still have Mary's BIC sticky note block on my desk, though it's diminishing. I keep and use small notebooks. Ballpoint pens are good for most people but I'm addicted to Uni-ball Vision Gel capped pens. I only use a ballpoint with shiny paper. Mugs are great but expensive. I do use bookmarks to remind me of the title and to keep my page when I'm reading another author's books, but I don't need many. I've got plenty of my own. :-) Tea bags, candy, goodies are fun to get but disappear quickly.

    Lots to think about!

    Janet

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  40. KC, I hope your doggie comes back soon! Praying for her.

    Janet

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  41. NANCY C, I'd forgotten to mention the Seekerville jar opener. I use it almost daily. That makes it perfect.

    Janet

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  42. Well I never thought about it but yes, I always look for chocolate in the goody room.

    AND YES, JANET DEAN, I use the Seekerville jar opener ALL the time.

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  43. Kelly Blackwell! FANS. I have several. They are perfect for Arizona summers. Not now..hahaha. Chilly even here in the valley.

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  44. I have a lens cloth from Kelle Z Riley who is a love inspired author who goes by Renee Andrews now. So that is an old piece of swag.

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  45. I love that. Seeker of the Seas. Must take swimming lessons now.

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  46. KC, these ideas, thoughts, and resources are great! I'll be keeping this post to refer to in the future. Sparkles will certainly fit my brand, so you have me thinking glittery thoughts. Thank you! I like swag....keeping tote bags, pens, and bookmarks to remind me of fun times when meeting authors. I especially like Debby's prayer card.

    Your efforts with school kids and with Wounded Warriors are so appreciated...two groups close to my heart, also.

    Congratulations of the new May, the K-9 Spy book!!! I'm praying for Anna.....

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  47. Hi KC What a terrific post today. Thanks for joining us and sharing all these great ideas from promotion. I love your suggestions and links.

    Two swags that I always keep and use are emery boards with author name on them and letter openers. Some are in shape of heart which is great for romance authors.

    I never save bookmarks as I don't use them. I do save business cards, esp of those authors I've personally met. I like the cards with photos to help me remember who they are.

    Thanks again for joining us today and sharing. (PS love all the turkey leftover ideas too. lol)

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  48. Ha ha Tina I too look for the chocolate. Too funny. I like pens also.

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  49. KC I love that you present at schools for free. So many can't afford to pay an author and it means so much to the students to meet a real author. It helps the teacher to get students interested in reading a book if they've met the author.

    I've found that the free presentations pay off in orders of books and name recognition. I think you've mentioned that it does the same for you. So definitely a win win situation.

    All of my young family members have copies of your books and loved them. Yay May and her inspiration. Pawsome!!!

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  50. Hello KC! I enjoy SWAG from my favorite authors. I have some cute earrings that I was given by a sweet author. I also enjoy personalized notes and bookmarks.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

    Have a TERRIFIC TUESDAY!

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  51. MATTRESS MACK did great for himself! But honestly, how much cheaper can most of us make our books than free here in Seekerville? :-) So my question to you, MYRA: did the ad make you want to shop at his store??

    Janet

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  52. I love this topic, KC (and May) I always wonder if people even pay attention to any of this swag.
    I'm always looking for fresh ideas.
    I know authors who spend a lot more per item than I do.
    Like, I'm looking for something less than $1 per item. But I know people who spend much more and then just don't have as much stuff to give away.
    I wonder if that's the right way to go.

    I am basically a cheapskate so who knows?

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  53. Hi Kc! (And a big hello to the four footed members of the blogging team!)

    This is a great post, and I'm going to have to make time to read it again, and again.

    I invested in pens with my website and brand line ("Bringing You Home") printed on them last summer. I was preparing for the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat and ACFW Nashville, so I knew I would have a lot of places to give them away.

    Why pens? Because nobody throws them out, especially if they are a nice quality that lasts. So I looked through my stash of pens and picked out my favorite - given away by a local store - and then hunted on the internet for the same pen. It was a little more expensive than the super cheap ones, but I saw it as an investment. I bought 500 of them.

    And now when I give my pens away, invariably the recipient says, "Ooh, nice pen!" They stick it in their purse or pocket and it becomes their favorite pen to use.

    I carry a bunch with me, and every time I need to sign something, I use my pen and then give it to the clerk. I've also given a bunch to my children and my husband, and they do the same thing. Soon my pens will be all over town. :) And since we live in a tourist area, I get even more bang for my buck! I can see those pens traveling all over the country in another year or so.

    So yes, I definitely invest in marketing, even though I'm traditionally published and I have "people" who do a lot of the work for me. And it's worth every penny.

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  54. I love that idea of your pens traveling around in your name, Jan.

    Traveling sales pens!!!

    I'll send you a SASE. I want one.

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  55. We have the parallel to Mattress Mack in Colorado...and now he's come to Phoenix. American Furniture Warehouse. Adds usually have tigers because he looks a little like the white-haired gent of Siegfried and Roy. At least that was my take on it.

    Sometimes grandkids in the ads.

    But when I go furniture shopping, what do I check out first?? American Furniture Warehouse.

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  56. WILANI ~

    You're in. What a terrific comment, with examples. I love examples.

    Those are some great ideas I'd not thought of, and several are so simple. Love it! Thanks for being here today!!!

    All the best on your nano novel. Write write write!!! This is a great time to be thinking of swag to go with it, or weave something in that you can use. Good job!

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  57. JANET ~

    Thanks for your hope and prayers for our Anna. I stepped away to hand out and post 20 more flyers. Got 19 done before I thought I should come on back here.

    You make several great points. What we give away needs to be meaningful and something we keep or the impression doesn't last too long, unless it's chocolate apparently. ;)

    I LOVE those gel pens. Check and see how much it would be to have some printed for you, especially if there's some way to work into a story.

    So glad you stopped by!

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  58. TINA ~

    Chilly even in the valley now eh? Wow.
    As I was passing out Anna flyers, I met up with a Cumberland County Road Maintenance fellow. He said the winds in the Smokies last night reached 80 mph and another storm is due this evening, with lightning. Not good. The saddest thing, I think, about the Smoky Mtn fire is that it was arson.

    God is just. Somehow, some way, there will be retribution there. Please remember the brave first responders trying to save life and property.

    You know, I'd sure coordinate a Seeker cruise somewhere. Wouldn't that be a blast? Doubt we can afford the ship I based May's 4th story on. Last I checked it was something like $185K a week. Yawzah. But surely we could find something that would work! :) Hopefully they'd allow dogs and cats, and perhaps big cats... Like Cheetahs!

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  59. Great post, KC and May K9 books are awesome. Book marks are good, but a really good ink pen (gel pens?) are invaluable.

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  60. JANET, we did visit Mattress Mack's store ONCE. And that was enough. It was HUGE and I was so overwhelmed. And honestly, most of the items weren't of the quality we tend to shop for. More like for starter homes and young families. It didn't look like it would last for years and years and years.

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  61. SHERIDA ~

    Great to see you here today! Glitter girls unite!

    Bet you'll come up with just the pawfect things. Seems like we're trending some favorites - the tote bags, pens, bookmarks, and Debby's prayer. :)

    Oh believe me, it's our honor to help with the Joni & Friends Wounded Warrior Getaways. A portion of the proceeds from our books go to such causes, them and our dear friends with Joshua's Pet Treat Bakery. We're here to help!

    And the kids. Oh my. LOVE doing the school visits and it seems they love having us come. We have one scheduled next Monday in GA and are working on the spring schedule now. At those we give away the wrist bands and tattoos, and usually a Mini-May if not more. Just depends. God seems to lead and we just try to follow.

    Hope you're doing well. Seems like it!!!

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  62. Wow, KC, this post is packed with great ideas! Thank you so much! I'm filing this one away for that hopeful someday. :)

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  63. SANDRA ~

    /waves/

    Did y'all know Sandra was gracious enough to write the back of the book blurb for our latest release? Thank you so much!!

    Isn't it interesting what interests each of us? Some use bookmarks, some do not, etc. This is another reason I attempted to get everyone's squeaky wheels turning with a variety of ideas. We want to spend $$ wisely and not have our item tossed at the first opportunity. What a waste that is!

    So keep thinking of items that others are bringing up and add your own flair!

    Thank you for mentioning the school visits. Following in your footsteps ma'am!

    It IS so important to get the young 'uns reading. We do our best to get them fired up, and of course, Cass prancing down the halls helps a lot (and May back in the day)... You're right about the sales. I've found that having the school cover my travel expenses frees me to just be there for the students. If we make sales, fine. If not so many, fine. It's all up to the Lord on that one. I TRY not to go in with unrealistic expectations. One never knows.

    My DH is fully supportive of May's mission, so that's a big plus. We do our best to bring value to the classroom, since time is in such short supply these days. So far, we've been very well received and hope to expand all across the US. We've been here in middle TN, GA, TX, CO and even to Calgary, Alberta! Go figure. Didn't smuggle May across the border though. She had to stay home. Hurumph. ;)

    Actually I take Cass wherever we drive. So far, I've not flown with him yet, but it could happen. Thanks for mentioning it!

    All the best success with your latest and greatest too!

    Oh - and ha! Turkey turkey turkey. I'll be having some again today, with cranberry, sweet potatoes and wild rice. And gravy. MMMM. Just about to the end though. /sigh/

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  64. CARYL ~

    Earrings! This is amazing. I'd never have thought of it, and you're the 2nd person to mention. Do they somehow tie in to the book(s)?

    That's something someone could do themselves too, with time and creativity. Love that.

    You're in the drawing. Thanks for being here today!

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  65. JANET & MYRA ~

    Funny that y'all are talking about Mattress Mack and his store. It IS huge and can be very overwhelming. What I love about him is he tries all kinds of stuff. He used to have unmarked trucks that delivered to more exclusive neighborhoods. ;)

    Some of the quality is more starter home, but some these days (so I hear) is much better quality. Much is American made, which I like. I never bought a thing from there but visited twice.

    He's known as a person who gives back to the community too, which helps his business. It's definitely a win/win for him too.

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  66. I always enjoy post-it notepads and bookmarks and chocolate is also good, even though it doesn"t last long!😀 You certainly have offered great advice.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)om

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  67. KC, do you visit libraries for story time?

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  68. When you are in Colorado again you really should contact Douglas County Library System.

    http://www.dcl.org/


    They are quite progressive and in fact, their model is what initiated ebooks in libraries. They started it all.

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  69. MARY ~

    May sends her greetings from her incognito mission. Thanks for remembering her.

    You bring up an excellent point! Which way to go, investment-wise.

    It depends on your objectives. Obviously people have kept your jar openers! WTG! If you look at the example Sandra Byrd gave of the candle, that is a pricey item but she doesn't give many away. My plush toys are similar in that I give to a select few or award as prizes. Otherwise, they're for sale. (This could work for others too. Just think about it.)

    Nothing saying we have to have one item, or two. I give away a BUNCH of temporary tattoos, not as many wrist bands, fewer ribbon bookmarks and so on.

    Whatever you can tie in to your brand or a specific book/series. Just ideas to get people thinking!

    Thanks for coming by and sharing. :D Write on!

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  70. JAN ~

    Have your people call my people. HA! Love it!

    YES! You've totally got the concept. Spend a bit more but larger quantity so price per piece goes down considerably. Then, send them on their way. Family and friends handing them out is excellent too! Not quite the same as meeting the author, but close and the recipients will remember it.

    As you say, if it becomes a favorite item, they will use it and WHEN they are ready to buy, your name will be right there.

    PAWFECT!

    Special sniffs and greetings from our troops to yours! What's Thatcher up to today? He needs to get over here and help us find our Anna!!!

    Congratulations on all your pawmazing writing success. Keep up the good work, ma'am!

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  71. MARIANNE ~

    Yes indeed. Love those pens myself!
    Thank you for being here today!

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  72. JEANNE ~

    You're very welcome. That's the best thing (ok - one of) about Seekerville. We share ideas from our own experiences that can help others, and paw it forward.

    That someday will come. Might not be what you think. As May says, "Opportunity is on the way. Keep your nose to the ground and sniff it out." ;)

    Glad you found some useful info. There is certainly much good info here in the comments too! Thank you for being here today.

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  73. CONNIE ~

    I've never personally done Post-its but love them too. Even got to meet the inventor, Art Fry, wayyyyyy back long ago in Houston. Somewhere in the depths of my files rests his biz card. :) Those things we keep...

    Agree on the chocolate. Love the idea and easy to share. There are places where you can make your own shapes, etc. I'd think that would be a super way to share your stories and brand. Just remember it'll be gone in a gulp unless you have a stellar container or attach a biz card or something. Like Mr. Fry's ~ yes. It was on a Post-it.

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  74. MARIANNE & SANDRA ~

    Forgot to THANK YOU both for the barkout on May's books. We're so glad you're fans! And seriously, Marianne, how could you not be with the last name Barkman and Sandra, with Cody the Coyote? ;)

    ("") ("") That's 2 paws up, ladies!!

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  75. TINA ~

    We have done readings at several local libraries. In Estes Park, we met with the public librarian who suggested, and then set up, our day with the elementary school. Loved that they also allowed some homeschoolers to join in the fun.

    Thanks for letting me know about the resource there. Will see what I can do next visit!

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  76. KC and May,
    So fun to read your post today. I love SWAG!!! Great ideas and tips.

    Thanks for all the mentions of The Writer's Prayer. You've probably heard me say that I wondered if folks would be interested in the prayer when I first took it to ACFW. I was pleasantly surprised and even more so when the folks at RWA Nationals picked up the prayer as well. That was back in 2006 and they continue to circulate.

    I keep notebooks, Post-It notes, tablets, etc, and pens.

    Jan Drexler, I used your cute sticky notes last night and smiled when I saw your name and tag line.

    Dee Gist gives away lapel pens for some of her books. Does anyone collect them? They're so pretty.

    KC, are you close to the fires? We awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of rain and rejoiced. More is expected tonight and tomorrow. After 42 dry days, the rain is truly a blessing!

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  77. DEBBY ~

    Thankfully not near those fires, though we sometimes get smoke from there, and we've had our own. There are arsonists on the loose. Grrrrr. We also got some rain but the winds. Wawzah. And they said another storm is due this evening, with lightning. Not good. We've been extremely dry here so rain is welcome. Lighting, not so much.

    Appreciate the barkout to May also. ("") ("")

    Yes on the Writer's Prayer. Isn't it the simplest things that sometimes take off? God honors His Word for sure.

    OOOH - lapel pins. THERE's another cool idea. How fun is that? Great share. Thanks!

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  78. Praying the fires end. I heard on the news about the 80 mph winds last night in TN, which you mentioned! Amazing! And scary, for sure. Stay safe!

    Love May's paw marks!

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  79. Yes, I do remember that about Mattress Mack--how he has always been so generous in giving back.

    But funny that he'd use unmarked trucks to deliver in upscale neighborhoods!

    Oh my goodness, the fires! North and South Carolina have been hit hard, too. Just awful! It's so upsetting to think some of them were the result of arson. What deranged idiot thought THAT would be "fun"!!!!

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  80. This is all very interesting. Thanks for all the ideas.

    I want to make a card game off of the world and characters of my book (the idea inspired by a card game made off of Pride and Prejudice). I already know the rules for the game and how to play it (the ideas came quite easily- even though I never thought I could come up with the idea for a card game- once I incorporated my story into it). I even designed what the cards would look like, but I want to have pictures of my characters on the cards and I am NO artist so I would probably have to hire the services of some artist to draw the pictures for me. At the present moment I don't have the sufficient funds to do anything to that scale so I've been waiting (probably till I get a job and actually have a steady income- lol) to make it.

    Also I could probably take the map from my book and make it into something you could hang on your wall (like some people do to J.R.R. Tolkien's map)

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  81. DEBBY & MYRA ~

    Indeed on the fires. Grrr.
    Difficult to believe.

    Yes on the two paws up! Saw that on another dog's page and swiped it. ("") ("") HA!

    On Mattress Mack. Don't know when you were in Houston but when the Rockets won the championship, he rented the entire Astrodome so the city could have a party. It was fantastic. I was completely hoarse the next day. Such fun! He's done so many things. Don't know how he is personally of course, but what he does is good for business, and here we are talking about him here! Go figure!

    Y'all stay safe. Praying for more rain without the other stuff... :/

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  82. NICKY ~

    You're more than welcome. Personally, I'm loving YOUR ideas here. Go for it. No time like the present to get things into motion. When you're ready to launch, then you'll have things in place.

    My friend, Cindy Vincent, is not only an author but she designed some games too: http://www.buckleyandbogey.com/ You'll see soon why we're FURIends. ;) Perhaps she could offer some advice for you?

    Thank you for being here today!

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  83. This is a cool post. I'm with most who like the post-it notes, nice pens, or magnets. I like magnets for some reason, but they have to be the good magnets, not the wimpy fall-off-the-fridge kind.

    I'm hoping to introduce my seven year old to May the K9 spy soon. I'm not sure his reading skills are quite ready - oh, head smack - I'll read it to him first and then have him read it later. We are working on him doing the reading to momma right now though... hmmm. He does love the Cody book Sandra sent him. We have a rescue Akita named Kaji. She's a moose of a dog, but so sweet and my little guy loves her (and all dogs for that matter). He always asks if he can pet a dog when he sees one.

    Thanks for sharing all the pawsome SWAG ideas. Would love to be in the drawing.

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  84. DEB H ~

    So glad you found it "cool" - we're all about COOL! May is most definitely cool. ;)

    Isn't that the truth about the magnets? For sure.

    Oh good about your young 'un. Cody is a great book to have in his library!

    We've had quite a number of parents and grands mention these books are pawfect for bedtime. The chapters are fairly short and lots goes on. (And we wrote it with boys in mind!) Let me know how he/y'all like them!

    I'd never have thought of this but one customer at an arts & crafts fair bought 2 sets of books. She sent one to her grandchildren in Ohio and they Skype each night and read together. How COOL is that?

    Oh Akitas... Beautiful dogs. I'm sure Kaji is so blessed to have such a wonderful home with you.

    You're in the drawing. Thanks for being here today!

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  85. Thank you, KC and May!
    Loved all your suggestions so I'm adding this to my Keeper File. :)
    Had to smile when you mentioned those stores in Pigeon Forge!! LOVE that book warehouse, and each time we vacation there (which has been a LOT over the years!) I always have to go in the warehouse and purchase books (have you been in the basement of that store? Wow!).
    Thanks again for sharing, and please toss me in your drawing for the May book/plush toy.
    Hugs, Patti Jo
    p.s. Thrilled to read that you also have a rescue CAT!! :)

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  86. That Rockets event sounds very familiar, KC! We lived in Houston from 12/1993 through 5/2011.

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  87. PATTI JO (CATMOM) ~

    So pleased you found this a keeper! YAY! Much like our 4 pawed furbabies, right?

    Oh gosh, you know the place in Pigeon Forge? Isn't it unreal? We were so soooo honored to be asked to come and show our books and plush. They were purchased on the spot for the store. YES! on the basement. Gracious mercy me. Hours. Must. Have. Hours. Let us know next time you're coming thru TN. Perhaps we can rendezvous. :)

    I've emailed one of the owners at the store and well as posted on their FB page. Sure hope they are okay with the horrible fires. Please remember them all in your prayers. It's just awful, with more storms (and winds plus lightning) expected tonite.

    You're in the drawing. So pleased you stopped by today with your furry FURiends. You might remember we have a pawsome Parisian feral cat in our 2nd story. YAY! He's quite the character... and Nykeeda the Cheetah in this one.

    Such fun.

    Have a PURRRfect rest of your afternoon! Thanks for being here today!

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  88. MYRA ~

    Then we definitely were in Houston together. I'm a native so was there through 2001. We moved here to TN about 7 wks before 9/11. Were you and your family working in a specific industry or ??? So much there. It's changed quite a bit now. Very glad we are here in rural TN. Still have family and dear friends there. I'll always be a TX girl. 5th generation on Mom's side. :)

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  89. First of all KC I want to congratulate you on your excellent post for the Seekerville Blog site. I have been researching and writing. My inspiration keeps me on track. I finished the first in your series, "May on the Way". I absolutely enjoyed it and I know my Great Nieces in Lockport Illinois will love these books. I will send in a review to Amazon.com on the book. Another friend of mine joined the Seekerville site also. I need to share something with you. The church group who I had Thanksgiving dinner with have a nickname for me. The Swagmiester. They started calling me that right after we first met. So there you go. I pray you find your puppy. God Bless

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  90. WILLIAM ~

    Thank you so much for stopping by. Know your story is going to be marvelous. Thrilled you've seriously started to write it. Yipppeeeee! Also thrilled *blush* that you enjoyed May's first story. Who'd a thunk it?

    Let me know if I can personalize copies for your Great Nieces, in IL. Happy to!
    ("") ("")

    Oh good! More the merrier here in Seekerville. So, now I have a NEW nickname for ya. Love it!

    Appreciate the prayers. I just was out calling for her as I walked to the mailbox, then came in and rang the bell. Doing all we know to do. Prayers are best and most appreciated.

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  91. Here's an update on the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge fires in the Smoky Mountains...

    https://weather.com/news/news/tennessee-gatlinburg-fires-images

    Please continue your prayers for everyone. And remember, this was started by arsonists.

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  92. Wow! I so needed the info in your post, KC. A SWAG queen, I am not. But I do know what I keep: pens, refrigerator magnets, PostIt notes, and tote bags. I used to love bookmarks, but now I mainly read on my Kindle Fire. I wonder if there's SWAG for e-book readers. Covers? Any ideas?

    One idea I loved was a personally autographed book plate I received from author Michael Palmer, a general market medical suspense writer. I was so excited to stick them in my hard copies.

    I'm making a comprehensive list of all the ideas. Thanks, KC!!!

    Oh, update on the TN fires. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are under mandatory evacuation. Gatlinburg houses and businesses have burned. The town is devastated. Please pray for the fire fighters and citizens, as well as lots of tourists who are in danger.

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  93. BARBARA ~

    Glad you found it useful! We tries our bestest!

    On ebook readers - that's a great question. I've seen some people with bling and stickers on theirs. I don't know. I prefer a paper book myself so it's rare I read stories online. Thanks for sharing what you keep too. It helps to know what is popular!

    That's ANOTHER thing I could've included. Book plate. Know several folks who do that too. Thanks for the good reminder!

    Isn't it awful about the fires? Are you in the area? Hope you and yours are safe. The first responders definitely are in our prayers, as well as locals and tourist, not to mention all the businesses and the SMNP itself. /sigh/

    We have local friends, and friends of friends, here in the Crossville area who are there fighting alongside many others. Devastating. And just before the beautiful Christmas season. You can see the decorations are already up in several of the photos on the link I just posted above. Thank you for the good reminder to pray.

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  94. Ereaders love the same stuff as everyone else. I pick up fewer and fewer books at conferences but I still will die to defend my right to take home swag.

    KC thank you for this wonderful post and spending the day with us.

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  95. TINA ~

    You're in the chocolate category also? Hee ha!
    And yummo.

    Oh it was totally my pleasure. I'll keep checking in from time to time this evening and tomorrow. What great ideas others shared. Always a wonderful learning experience here in Seekerville!

    Thank you for asking me to host this post today.

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  96. KC!!!

    My computer has been in the shop all day and I just got it back before dinner, so I am SO glad I didn't miss this WONDERFUL blog! As Tina likes to say, "girl, this is a workshop in a blog," chock-full of EXCELLENT information that every author needs to know.

    When my Daughters of Boston came out, I always took individual-serving boxes of Boston Baked Beans to my book signings in a basket, which was fun. And I wanted to have a unique bookmark that people would keep forever, so I had some made up in the largest size I could with hard laminate. The only problem is, the laminate was so hard that the corners were like a weapon. Would you believe people LOVED them and many people still have them today. :)

    My two favorite swags I've ever gotten are a stack of note stickies about six inches high that had the author's book cover -- Karen Witemeyer -- emblazoned on each side, and I am still using them today. LOVE them and think of Karen every single time I use one. The second best swag was a small notebook I got at CFRR that had stickies inside of it along with the paper (I'm a stickie queen, what can I say?), and I carry it everywhere in my purse. It makes me smile every time I use it because CFRR was SUCH a blessing. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  97. JULIE!!!

    Fellow "!!!!!!" aficionado!

    You make me smile. :)

    So glad you found this useful. See? You are already there. What a cute idea about the BBB's. Love that. How funny about the bookmark but hey, it's dual purpose! That's certainly serendipitous!

    OOOH. I like that idea about KW's book cover on a huge stack of stickies. They need to last. Usually what I see is a tiny stack of perhaps 10 or 25. That would be last a good long time (and obviously has even for a stickie queen)...

    That notebook sounds great too. Those are the types of items an ASI rep can help with.

    (((hugs))) back to you. Hope your computer is all fixed up! Sorry it was giving you fits. I like a computer to work like my car. I turn it on, it does what I want it to. Life however, often doesn't work that way. Ha!

    Just heard some thunder and the rains have begun. Prayers for NO lightning in the Smokies but lots of rain to put out these fires and give the beleaguered folks there relief.

    Thanks for stopping in to say HEY today!

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  98. Speaking of Mattress Mack, he really is something.
    Here's a few YouTube videos.

    I heard him speak at an entrepreneur's conference maybe 23-24 yrs ago. Outstanding.

    So in case you're interested... Here's one of his early commercials: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhuIPJGViQ0

    Here's another. Published on 2 Jul 2013

    "Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale addresses the Houston Chapter of the American Advertising Federation with his "Ten Tips For Success" at a special luncheon honoring the 2013 student scholarship recipients." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evBFXc0ZBvY

    And finally, a talk he gave this spring: Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale gave a inspirational talk entitled "A life built for others" at the Catholic radio prayer breakfast in Katy, Texas on May 24, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0zK1psU2VM

    I guess one of the things I love about his story is how he began and how he tried different things, worked hard and seems to continually give back. Very inspirational. :)

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  99. KC, praying for that rain as well, my friend!

    Hugs!
    Julie

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  100. KC, my favorite/most used swag items are totes, pens, and sticky notes. I do have a few plushies from favorite authors and those stay on the shelf with my signed keepers ;) And you can never go wrong with bookmarks--a much used classic!!

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  101. Hi KC:

    Sorry to be so late but everyone around me seems to be having medical emergencies. I'm the last one standing who can drive people to the ER! No kidding!

    Loved your post! I worked with specialty advertising all my career and I admire how well you described how complicated doing it right can be. Here's something that I have learned:

    Before you buy a specialty item write down what you wish to accomplish with that item. What are your objectives.

    Then ask yourself on reviewing any item if that item can possibily achieve those goals. Often you'll find it can't. You may also discover that no specialty item can do the job you want done.

    If you find an item you just love and would be proud to have your name attached to, then be sure to review your objectives. Very often those much loved items will not meet your objectives. Move on. :(

    Actually I believe that most of the money spent on specialty items is wasted other than making the author feel good in giving them away.

    Please put me in the drawing for a plush mini May toy as I have all your books.

    Vince

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  102. FEDORA ~

    Plushies rock don't they? Back during the Beanie Baby craze, one of my very very large clients (oil industry) bought several thousand of them for a trade show. We dressed the Panda in a little logoed red and white sweater. It was the hit of the entire trade show. WAY cool.

    You're also adding to the choir of totes, pens and stickies.

    Thanks for coming by!!

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  103. MR VINCE!!

    Oh goshamighty... So very sorry about your gig as ambulance driver. 'Tis the season of life it seems. Prayers go out for you.

    Thank you for adding your wisdom. You're so right. The giver might absolutely fall in love with an item but if it doesn't fit your objectives, $$ wasted.

    So glad to have your thoughtful comments wrapping us up for the day! Most appreciated!

    We're elated to have you as a May the K9 Spy fan. Thank you. You're definitely in the drawing!

    Keep us posted on how things are in sick bay, ok? Prayers will continue for you as well. <3

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  104. Hi KC. Your post was so full of great suggestions. I will definitely keep this post for future reference. I also love your schnauzer theme. I owned Sir Hawthorne Wexford (Hawthorne for short) many years ago and adore schnauzers. :) Blessings and thanks to you.

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  105. KC, I'm so sorry I didn't get by yesterday! It was one of THOSE days. But today is looking up! :)

    This was such a great post with lots of great resources. Thank you for sharing!!

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  106. I collect bookmarks and I save one and give away duplicates. Most people love them. I like getting note pads and jewelry. Bookish items are wonderful. I love getting chocolates and edibles. Pens are good if they last. I save magnets and mugs. I love it all.

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  107. Hi Jan Hall. I am with you. I love Bookish items!

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  108. KC, I've been gone and missed several Seekerville posts so I'm trying to catch up. Not sure you'll see this, but I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you sharing these tips and advice! Love it! I'm bookmarking this so I will have it handy when I need it. Thanks!!

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  109. REBECCA,

    Schnauzer-lovers unite! What a terrific name for your baby! Ha! They are wonderful companions. I'm so glad you found the post useful. Thank you for coming by.

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  110. MISSY!

    Totally understand. Been like that 'round here too. So glad you made it when you did. :D

    That's another terrific aspect to Seekerville. We can review what we missed in His timing. Hope it sparked some ideas for us all. There are some great additional ones here in the comments.

    Have a happy day!

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  111. JAN ~

    Thanks for letting us know what "bookish" items you enjoy! :) Always good to understand what resonates with readers. Appreciate your coming by.

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  112. LAURA ~

    Was checking back in today after catching up myself and found your nice note. SO glad you found it useful! It was really fun to walk around the house and see what I and my DH have kept throughout the years.

    Still can't believe I missed adding the photo of the Christmas music CD. Be sure to peruse the comments. Some great ideas others have shared too.

    Thanks for being a part of the community here! Enjoy!

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