Ten Promotional Products Authors Should Probably Avoid
Caution: Some of these links are not work-safe.
1. Beanie Babies -- yes, they're precious, and soft, and cuddly, and so sweet, and you have ten thousand of them on shelves in your bedroom and decorating your bookshelves and piled up the rear window of your car, and please, I ask, no, I beg you, don't infect anyone else with the beanie baby craziness. Besides, you know the ones you give away will be worth a fortune in a few years, right? Best keep them in your personal collection.
2. Book Matches -- Why do we even have these anymore? I thought everyone quit smoking by now. Anyway, the first rule of advertising is: never give the buyer a promotional item that can actually destroy your product.
3. Condoms -- Not what you want to be handing out at the Christian Booksellers Association's annual con, but I'd pay money to watch someone do it at RWA National. My suggestion: sneak them into the big luncheon and put them on top of the freebies they stack on the seats.
4. Hard Hat -- useless, unless your reader is attending a SFWA-run conference, in which case it would be more practical to offer promotional hip waders.
5. Fake Tattoo -- Think about the many places on the body to which this item can and will be applied. Or, guess where I'd put it. Yep. Next.
6. Fly Swatter -- I want you to close your eyes, and imagine your cover art. Now festoon it with the smushed bodies of flies and fly parts. Yum. (Might work for the New Weird authors, though.)
7. Herb Grinder, Pocket-Size -- For God's sake, do I even have to explain this one?
8. Nipple Rings -- Look, just keep your advertising away from my womanly curves altogether, got it?
9. Playboy Playmate Calendar -- The average book buyer in the US is female, middle-aged and straight. For us, you need to invest in the PlayGIRL Promotional Calendar.
10. Rolling Papers -- Yeah, sure. Nothing says "Search my body cavities" at the airport like getting caught with a thousand of these in your carry-on.