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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Put a Little Swag In Your Step (2019 edition)

Swag: Promotional materials sent by a publisher or book creator, publicizing a book’s release. May involve both practical and impractical components.

Swag [Informal]: Weird stuff you get in the mail to varying degrees of disgust, amusement, and delight.

It’s swag time, people! Ever since I became a children’s librarian, I’ve been fascinated by this particular aspect of book marketing and publicity. Most books do not get any promotional swag. Those that do often seem like completely random titles. Why this title but not this one? The ways of publicity are vast and mysterious, that’s for sure.

This year, I decided to meticulously keep track of every little bit of swag that came my way. Here is a full accounting of what I have found, broken down by category. Perhaps it will be of use or interest to anyone who wishes to start delving into swag of their own:

FOOD!

No swag is quite as enticing as edible swag. Granted, once you’ve eaten the item you’ve forgotten about the book, but on hungry work days, they are well and truly welcome.

I CAN USE THIS!

The only thing better than edible swag is swag that you can actually use. For example, years ago some genius decided to give away wooden spoons to celebrate Toni Morrison’s picture book Peeny Butter Fudge. The book came and went, but I think of it every time I use that spoon.

NOT USEFUL, BUT CERTAINLY MEMORABLE

When it doubt, grab attention above all else. Bonus points if you can include nose plugs.

THE SWAG SO NICE I’VE SEEN IT TWICE

This year’s duplicate swag included . . . unicorn horns. Turns out, they stay on rather well!

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE GIFTS, IT’S ABOUT THE PACKING MATERIALS

AND FINALLY, LET’S FACE IT. HANDMADE SWAG IS ALWAYS THE BEST

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.

Comments

  1. Oh, the little acorn guy! I bet he has a place of honor in your office!

  2. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    My kids are always in heaven when we get packages with bubble wrap to pop.

  3. deb remington says:

    I never get any swag & ive been doing this for 17 years!! What am I doing wrong?

    • Ah! Excellent question. Do you ever attend any librarian conferences? A lot of the swag makes its way there. In my particular case, this blog doubles as a review site, and they treat me as such. But even as I write these posts there’s no doubt I’m in a privileged position to even receive these. That’s something I should not forget.

  4. I got a live plant the other day. That’s a new one, for me. (The title associated with the swag is If We Were Giants by Dave Matthews and Clete Barrett Smith.)

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