Show me an avid reader that doesn’t love book swag, and I’ll call you a liar. Or just no fun. Your pick.
Even better than book swag, is FREE book swag, am I right?
A couple years ago (ish), I started seeing pre-order promotions for high profile books popping up on various social media. This was EXCITING, b/c I’m the queen of pre-ordering. The first few items I received this way were barely worth mentioning—a cheap purple comb (Marissa Meyer’s CRESS) and a bottle of dark blue nail polish (one of Leigh Bardugo’s GRISHA novels)—but over time, especially lately, the swag packages have gotten seriously fun.
Most recently I’ve received a magnetic bookmark from Marissa Meyer’s HEARTLESS, Stephanie Garber’s CARAVAL came with a black and white depiction of the magical city the book is set in along with temporary tattoos, a drawstring bag, a poster of the book cover, AND a set of mini coloring pencils w/sharpener (all to better to color the city), and from Susan Dennard’s TRUTHWITCH came a signed bookplate and a pair of book-inspired . . . wait for it . . . SOCKS. #socksunday
But as excited as I was to score these freebies, I soon realized that many of my fellow bookish friends had no idea that such offers existed or how to go about taking advantage of them.
This post is meant to remedy that.
There are numerous ways to stalk for swag opportunities:
1. Follow the publishers.
Most imprints are active on assorted social media sites and cross-post their announcements, so pick the one you’re most likely to frequent—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc.—and follow your favorites.
I prefer Instagram. Facebook’s algorithms are baffling, and Instagram doesn’t limit (that I know of) the number of users you can get new post notifications from, so offers like this one from Bloomsbury show up the second they’re added:
2. Follow the authors.
The same rules for the publishers apply the authors, but sometimes they give you the heads-up before an official announcement is made:
ALSO, some authors have long-standing arrangements with a particular bookstore, and if you pre-order your book through said bookstore, you’ll get EXTRA swag. In these situations, following your favorite authors directly is the only way you’ll find out about pre-order deals.
Also, also, following your favorite authors is the most efficient way to learn their book tour schedules, and there is almost always book swag at tour stops.
3. Follow Fierce Reads / Epic Reads / other similar mass imprint publicity . . . thingys . . . o.O
This is kind of a subset of following the publishers, but it’s more streamlined, so for those of you who really aren’t into internet stalking, this is the most efficient option. Get all the news in one place. If you’re strictly interesting in Macmillan (Fierce Reads) or HarperCollins (Epic Reads), anyway.
The other Big Five publishing houses (Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and Hachette) might also have versions of this, but I’m drawing a blank.
Once you’ve discovered a pre-order offer, all you have to do are follow the instructions. If the offer is from a publisher, not directly from a bookstore, you have to provide proof of purchase, but that’s easy. If you’re like me and do most of your pre-ordering from Amazon, after you’ve ordered the book, there’s a link to the order at the top of the book’s sale page, so just follow the link, then select the “view invoice” option and take a screen shot. Easy peasy.
What about you? Do you troll for pre-order book swag? Is this the first you’re hearing about it? What’s the coolest pre-order swag you’ve ever gotten?