We all know the heart wants what it wants, and mine wants swag. I love a good branded giveaway, even if that means my husband complains constantly about the overflow of tote bags in our coat closet (but you never know when you are going to need one of THAT exact size and shape, right?). Thankfully my book publishing jobs have allowed me to indulge this passion, devising promotional tchotchkes of all kinds. Perhaps my favorite remains the item we made for a paranormal romance where people are turned into zombies by a big pharma corporation: breath mints we packaged to look like a brown-orange prescription bottle and a “drug warning” that the mints “might cause you to crave human flesh.”swag

Really, we make swag not just because we love hand sanitizer (though I am thankful for the author who I snagged some from at last year’s RT Booklovers Convention), but because we truly want to draw extra attention to our wonderful books and authors. And in the case of launching the XOXOAfterDark site and brand, I wanted to be sure we had some physical items out there in the world that remind readers about visiting the virtual home of XOXOAfterDark.com. This way we have analog reminders about activities in the digital space—and tangible items to share with convention-goers and gift as thank yous to authors and fans alike. I try to err on the side of useful swag that sticks around for a while, sitting on a desk or tucked into a purse or beach bag—so we’ve made pens, hot pink sunglasses, heart-shaped bottle openers/keychains, and more. And yes, ok, we’ve done XOXOAD M&Ms. They’re more (very) ephemeral, for sure, but we can’t go wrong linking the site with chocolate!

If you’ll be at the RT Booklovers Convention next month, stop by our table at the Wednesday night opening party or come to our Publisher Spotlight. We’ll have irresistible books on hand, and some fun swag too.