Posted by Fran Wilde on Jun 4, 2014 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 1 comment
Whether paper or plastic, big or small, book swag is everywhere during convention season. Apex blog asked writers, editors, and fans about their favorite book swag in a no-holds-barred, slightly last-minute roundup!
Welcome to all our participants: Miriam Weinberg, Catherine Schaff Stump, Michael Swanwick, Joe Monti, Maurice Broaddus, Jaime Lee Moyer, Shveta Thakrar, Jason Sizemore, Beth Cato, Fade Manley, Chuck Wendig, Erin Underwood, Paul Weimer, Elizabeth Bear, Natalie Luhrs, and Tina Conolly.
(NB: This post can be viewed as a companion piece to last summer’s Bag of Holding post.)
What’s your favorite swag? Let us know in the comments.
Miriam Weinberg, Assistant Editor – Tor/Forge (Macmillan) Usually, my favorite swag item is the TOTE. I love totes. They are multi-purpose, and often have bookish references, or PUNS (I got one at BEA today that says “Totes Books” which I think is probably a sly what-it-says-on-the-tin, but what I choose to believe is also a nod to the excitement of books+contemporary slang—as in a shorthand for “totally”). This one has Andy Warhol in florescent pink on one side, and Salvador Dalí (I LOVE HIM SO MUCH) on the other. I also like pins, in that nostalgic punk-DIY-type deal, and I have been dying to get the pin promoting Roxane Gay’s upcoming essay collection, which I have already pre-ordered. However, my favorite ALL-TIME swag, hands-down, are the trading cards that Victoria (V. E. ) Schwab designed and printed to promote VICIOUS. There are the four main characters (Victor, Eli, Sydney, Serena), each with a catch-phrase and publication information on the back, and then she made an author card to round out the set, and there is an editor one (!!!), though that last was just for fun. Lastly, I’m including the character coasters for Greg van Eekhout’s upcoming Tor title, CALIFORNIA BONES, because they just arrived in the office and are *perfect* for BEA-week drinking.
Catherine Schaff Stump, Author - Hulk Hercules (Cats Curious Press) My favorite piece of book swag of all time is the Jig the Goblin tattoo from Jim Hines. I wore mine proudly for the 2-3 days it lasted.
Michael Swanwick, Author - Dancing with Bears (NSB) All my favorite book swag has been books. But if you stretch that word to mean “most memorable,” I’d have to say it was the tote bag I acquired one year at the American Booksellers Association’s annual convention. I had spent a long day wandering about, meeting people, signing books to be given away free, and the like, and somebody gave me a cloth tote just before I left. Totes are especially valued at these events because they can be used to haul the free books publishers thrust upon the booksellers, and as a result the people giving them away are reluctant to waste them on a mere writer. But a friend who’d gotten several took pity on me and I stuffed it into my inferior plastic bag of books with (by then) rather glazed thanks. Somehow I drove the hundred miles from D.C. back to Philadelphia and arrived home safe. Marianne’s parents were visiting, so as soon as I’d kissed her hello, I turned to my mother-in-law, who had a particular liking for tote bags and said, “I got something for you,” and unfolded the bag. Which was when I discovered that it was promoting a horror title with the slogan: A NOVEL OF SEXUAL INVASION. Thank God, my mother-in-law laughed.
Easily it was the cupcake truck Penguin had in 2012 with varieties of cupcakes handed out by Sarah Dessen. A close second: Houghton Mifflin’s totebag adorned with J.R.R. Tolkien’s illustration of THE HOBBIT.
Shveta Thakrar, Author - “Krishna Blue” in Kaleidoscope (August 2014)
Cain’s Blood is an adult thriller about cloned serial killers coming to age. Project Cain is a YA thriller about a cloned teenage Jeffrey Dahmer from Cain’s Blood coming to age. Yes, Mr. Girard is a twisted individual.
He’s also a close friend. For many years, I gave him hell about never finishing his Project Cain novel. Thinking back, I’m surprised he didn’t just kick me in the shin and never speak to me again.
So, out of the blue, not only does he have one new book coming out, but two!
His publisher gave him a few of the flip ARCs and Geoff gave one to me. I’m sure he gifted me one of the precious ARCs out of friendship, though I’m certain there was a small part of him thinking “Screw you, Sizemore, here’s your Project Cain, two of them to be exact, you annoying asshole.”
As a book geek, I love the flip ARC. I’m also proud of my buddy for being able to shut me up.
That’s why my flip ARC is my favorite piece of swag.
Beth Cato, Author – The Clockwork Dagger (Harper Voyager, September 2014)
My favorite swag is the folding wooden fan I got from Mary Robinette Kowal for Shades of Milk & Honey, but I do not think I could find it again anywhere. The snowflake book-marking clip for Without A Summer was pretty keen too. And I love bookmarks.
Erin Underwood, Fan, Author, Editor Con-runner
I’ve not scored much book swag in my time as a book reviewer and member of the genre community. I do not go to a tremendous number of cons. However, I do have one prize that I treasure. One of the more interesting intrusions as swag into our community from the military is the idea of a challenge coin. Challenge coins are a tangible metal coin signifying units, areas and organizations. They are a form of identification, a type of collector’s currency, and a source of pride. From their origins in the U.S. Military, they have spread to police organizations, firefighters, Nascar, and other even more unlikely places. And, they have spread to science fiction as well. A member of the armed services, himself, author Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops novels revolve around the U.S. military’s response to the eruption of magical powers in our modern world. It seemed natural to him that the military unit devoted to dealing with these magical powers would naturally create a challenge coin of their own. And so he has made the coins that exist in the Shadow Ops universe for purposes of giveaways and promotion of his novels. And thanks to the generosity of the author, he has sent me one. Our gifts, for our nation, indeed.
Elizabeth Bear, Author – The Eternal Sky Series (Tor) My favorite piece of book swag is this lizard bottle opener key chain that I was given by Patricia Bray back in 2004 or so. I think the best pieces of swag are both cool and useful–stuff you will keep around for a good long time.
Most swag leaves me cold. My husband goes to tech conferences and comes home with the worst things — cheap gadgets of all sorts that are annoyingly un-recyclable. I mean, what are we going to do with yet
another plastic beer opener or blowup neck pillow that says something clever on it about the cloud?
So frankly, I’m a big fan of bookmarks. I can ALWAYS use more bookmarks. There’s space to put all your info and still have a lovely image (bookmarks are great for showing off your beautiful cover art),
you can sign them, and if the swaggee later regrets their impulse acquisition – into the recycle bin.
I also like postcards, but only if there’s actually, yanno, room on the back to write someone a message when you send it out. To use it like an actual postcard. Small Beer Press has done some neat ones with
their gorgeous covers.
I just saw Greg Van Eekhout’s swag for his new book California Bones - he’s got cardboard coasters! A collectible set, no less! This is a fantastic idea — again, I can always use another coaster by my desk
– and once it’s too covered with coffee stains — recycle bin. (And you would see it every time you sat down to write!)
I will give a shout-out here to the one piece of non-recyclable swag that I’ve seen and liked – Mary Robinette Kowal passed out delicate little fans with her first book, Shades of Milk and Honey. I kept that and used it later at a steampunk con in the middle of an August heat wave. Well done.