Sunday, February 19, 2017

Swag! Freebies! Goodies! What is wrong with me?

Jenn McKinlay

     Okay, I have a confession to make I love free stuff. I mean I really love free stuff, which is deeply at odds with my utter contempt for clutter. I swear it’s like I have split personalities about stuff. At a conference, I will vault over three other people and add a back handspring with a twist for a free pencil, but if the Hub or Hooligans leave their shoes in the middle of the floor, I will kick their shoes all the way to their bedrooms and if I’m really irritated, they will find them neatly tucked into their beds. Clutter makes me bonkers. Give me free stuff. These are my issues.
     Compounding my issues is the reality that I have developed a swag problem. It started so simply. “We’re going to make you a few bookmarks,” my publisher said. “Something you can hand out at conferences and signings.”
     That seemed smart. Then they offered to make postcards, too. Very nice. I felt like it was a sort of a business card for the books. I dutifully took them to events but then I noticed that other authors had even cooler stuff to hand out. Pens, sticky-notes, and sometimes key-chains, water bottles, and tote bags. In a blind panic of newbie authorness, I decided I had to up my game.

Because...TIARA!!!
     The darkness began with the book Sugar and Iced. Set against the backdrop of a beauty pageant, I thought it would be hilarious to offer up tiaras as a silly giveaway. Well, if the beauty pageant in the book was cut throat it was nothing compared to the rabid response I got from readers wanting to win a tiara. Seriously, bribes were involved! It just proves everyone wants a tiara, yes, even some dudes. I have to say, they were pretty sweet with real rhinestones on a metal base from a British import company and they only cost five bucks. After that, the madness snowballed into cupcake squishy balls, aprons, berets, library card swag, some of which was produced exclusively by the Poisoned Pen, you name it, we did it.


     I can hear you asking why even offer swag? Aren’t the books enough? I imagine every author has a different reason for offering bookmarks, bags, pens, or whatever. For me, I write several series so I’m promoting multiple stories, usually at the same time and this gives me a way to differentiate between them. For the current cupcake mystery out in April, I’m giving out measuring spoons. But then in May, I am debuting my first romantic comedy so it’s beach bags for everyone, okay, not everyone but the lucky ones who win a giveaway.


     Because naturally, as the swag mountain began to grow, my inner clutter hater reared her persnickety head, and I realized I needed to have structured giveaways to unload the loot.  So every Wednesday on my FB page, I have a giveaway of whatever crazy swag I have going, my book, or if I’ve signed with another author recently, their book. Why do giveaways? Well, mostly because in the beginning of my career I felt like every social media post was a pitch to buy my book, buy my book, buy my book. Bleh, I hated it! So, doing giveaways became a way of talking about the book or a friend’s book without talking about the book and it felt like an opportunity to say thank you to the readers, which, truly, I can never thank you all enough! So, here have a pen! LOL!


Leave a comment and be entered
to win this ridiculous giveaway!
So, Reds, tell me, do you like free stuff? Like a sweet Jungle Red Writers bookmark? What’s some of the best author swag you’ve seen? Readers leave a comment, telling us your preferred author swag (i.e. a book, a bag, a tiara, etc.) and be entered in a random drawing to win…well, free stuff! Because, of course, there's a giveaway!

197 comments:

  1. Goodness, I love free stuff . . . when my sister and I go to the annual teachers’ convention, walking the exhibit hall is free stuff overload. [Pencils, magnets, and tote bags get scarfed up; then I head for the authors’ row to get signed books for my grandbabies.] But, I digress . . . .

    Generally, I’ve seen bookmarks and postcards, messenger bags, tote bags, even free copies of books. It’s tough to say which is “best” . . . it’s all in good fun and promotes the books . . . the best “goodie” ever: a signed manuscript page from "Through the Evil Days" from Julia.

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  2. Free stuff is great, but after going to Malice-Go-Round a few times I've collected stacks of bookmarks, recipe cards, pencils, and tons of other stuff.

    The best two freebies: a very cool black coffee mug from a local radio station, a very nice, sturdy black tote bag embroidered with the names of Hank's first books, Remember that, Hank? It's my favorite of all the book totes I've ever had. Among many.

    Please don't add me to the giveaway, though. I'm trying to go the other direction with possessions at this point.

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  3. This is the best approach since it's intended to humor them in a positive way. Subway surfer hack

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  4. Oh, I want to be good. I really do, but I just can't pass up the swag, and I need to curtail my collecting it. I will never need another bookmark, but I can't resist the ones from my favorite authors and for my favorite books. I remember the lip balm from Hank at my first Bouchercon in Albany. I still have it, haven't used it, but I like having it. I think my favorite swag items are tote bags and mugs. I just received a mug with a picture of the cover of her new book from a favorite author, and it was filled with candy, too. Pencils are probably my least favorite, but I do like pens. What I would really love is if authors would have more pins (not pens) for their latest book or with their picture. Kind of like collecting Disney pins or Hard Rock Cafe pins.

    As a blogger, I have bookmarks, but I think I need to up my game for the next Bouchercon.

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    1. I should have made it clearer that the reason I haven't used Hank's lip balm is that to me it is a collectible and should be kept in its original pristine condition. I'm sure that to many it was a practical, useful item that they welcomed as such.

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  5. Love the tiara idea! I had Hank's black bag, too, Karen, and carried it everywhere (including to Morocco) until the lining started to flake away. I had Edith Maxwell Author mugs made up as a special giveaway - but they cost too damn much to ship. Saving them for local prizes now. And working on some spring ideas. It's hard to figure out a giveaway for a late 1800s Quaker midwife, though, although last year I made up coasters with the cover and a blurb, including one from Rhys. People liked them and they were lightweight. Might go that direction again.

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  6. I just started using my Hank lib balm and I love it. I really like pens. Useful and something that does not clutter anything up. Good totes are always handy.

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  7. Lip balm for above! I wish we could edit after we click publish.

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  8. Oh, can I relate, Jenn! Hate clutter! Love swag! I have a pen that I'm still using, collected from a conference I attended years ago. Mugs are great (brownie points if filled with chocolate!), but I'm like Kathy Reel--I don't need any more bookmarks unless the design is really striking--but love the idea of pins. I have a denim jacket festooned with pins and another one (okay, lots more) would not be remiss!

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  9. I'm not so big on free stuff... so much so that I give back the swag bag at Bouchercon and every other conference. However, I want a tiara. And I wouldn't turn my nose up at a cupcake squishy ball. Your swag rocks, Jenn!

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    1. Hallie, when my grandbaby was younger and enamored with all things princess, I bought her a tiara which she wore everywhere for two or three years. And I vicariously enjoyed every single moment of it . . . tiaras rock!

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  10. Yes Jenn has the best swag ever. And the Wednesday giveaways are brilliant...Though I already have a tiara, given to me on a big birthday by my sister in law:).

    Here's a serious question though--has a piece of swag ever influenced you to buy a book?

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    1. A piece of swag has never influenced me to buy a book. Swags are merely an extra piece of fun to accompany "off-reading time" but I don't find them necessary. I have been more influenced by the joy of joining a Facebook party hosted by an author or group of authors and learning more about the author(s) and their writing. Often the additional delight of a Facebook party is the gift/giveaway of a novel signed by the author which when read may inspire me to purchase the next title(s) in the series. Or, to meet an author's friend during the Facebook party and then to be inspired to purchase one of their novels.

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    2. JENN: Oh, a Facebook party! I have no idea how we'd pull it off but it's a great idea!

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  11. I love swags if they are usable in my day. Good ones are swags that I can place on my fridge, clip memo pads on, write a note or two, swing on a picture hook, light up a flashlight, a mug for my hot chocolate or can be filled with candy, or a water bottle. I remember getting trading cards from an author..those were cool.

    I remember Hank's lip balm which I used and I'm looking at the little tape measure that I recently received. Like Kathy, I don't need anymore bookmarks - not useful with a kindle. Like Hallie, I tend to give away the tote bags I get at conferences filled with books I no longer need. I do love those measuring spoons.

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  12. I do too, love free stuff! Mugs,book markers all that stuff! Thanks for the chance. It does get me to buy the book too !

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  13. Swag is fun, but what I really love is when authors give away their books. Especially the first book in a series. I've been known to get hooked on new series this way and go out and buy other books in the series after receiving the first one as a freebie.

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  14. Books and magnets and bookmarks...oh my! I especially love signed books from my favorite authors.
    I recently bought a signed hardcover by an author I've enjoyed for years - I would have bought the book anyway, but it was nice that it was already signed when I went to the bookstore.

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  15. I have a love/hate relationship with swag. I love to get it, hate to deal with it afterward. I have more bookmarks than I will ever use - and I use the same one all the time (my BOLO Books bookmark and KEEP YOUR MITTS OFF IT! LOL). I have way too many bags. Basically, I love getting the stuff from the author as proof we talked, I get home and...now what?

    I had a Hank lip balm and that was cool. I have the black tote bag, too. Somewhere.

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    1. Mary, I have mixed feelings about swag. If it is something I can use, then great! If not, then I give it to someone else who would like them. I have too many bookmarks too, though I eventually use them, Sometimes I discover a new bookmark that I picked up from Malice A Go Round then I remember meeting the new author.

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  16. Add me to those who still have (and use) my Charli McNally series tote bag from Hank! It's so big and roomy, and zips close so I don't lose stuff! I really love tote bags! And mugs, and ink pens, and bookmarks, and journals (in which I can record names of books I read, other important reading notes, or ANYTHING!). Kitchen hot pads are good(pot holders or hot pads to put under dishes on a table), placemats, and can or bottle or glass cozies to help you maintain a dry grip and keep drinks hot or cold longer. Also those little jar opening thingies. (There has to be a real word to use for them, but I'm not sure what it is!) And, of course, signed books themselves!

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  17. Swag is wonderful, marvelous, intriguing and fun! But so are the books ��! I love give always with books and swag! I love my cozy authors! I love ❤️ giveaways. Winning this one would be really fun!

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  18. Before Christmas, Kay Finch sent me a handful of bookmarks. My daughter and I punched holes, added ribbons for hangers and made our first "Readers" Christmas tree. We will keep adding book related ornaments. Love books.

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  19. Of course I love free stuff! But I have to admit I pitch much of it, just have so much room for bookmarks and key chains. My favorites are books first, of course, then pens, can never have too many pens. Book bags are great and useful for so many things besides books even, like packing a lunch and a bottle of wine to smuggle into "Live at the Met" performances. Five and a half hours of Wagner works up an appetite

    However, if I should win a tiara, I would know I could die happy! Seriously, a tiara? I promise I would wear it everywhere, including into the Great Beyond. Is is fireproof?

    Love, A Fangirl in Rochester

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  20. I love winning free things! I will admit it thrills me to win a book, even if it is not a newest of the series. Yet, getting a bookmark in the mail is fun also! I put bookmarks on my memory board, then have the remainder on my desk in a cute cup. The postcard size ones I have on my wall. I have won tote bags, which I sew liners for and use them to hold craft things. I have won pens, key chains and buttons. I do enjoy swag!! Thanks for all you do for your readers.

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  21. Books, bags, and mug swag are my favorites. I've never seen buttons promoting a new book before but that is a fun idea too.

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  22. I've gotten some reallly great totes, and of course books!!! Not to mention pens, magnets, bookmarks.

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  23. OMG, a tiara! That's the best swag ever, Jenn! I share you problem of collecting swag. Bookmarks so I remember books I want to buy (and I do all my reading on my Kindle), pretty postcards so I remember books I want to buy, misc cool stuff so I remember... Then later, after I buy the books, what to do with all the bookmarks and postcards? You see the problem. LOL. Thanks for this chance to win more swag!

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  24. Bags, pens, bookmarks, mugs, books... I love it all!
    kpowers784@yahoo.com

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  25. i love free stuff, all of it. Books and totes are great and other fun swag. I love some of your giveaways, especially international and Paris themed. Thanks jannrogan@yahoo.com

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  26. I love your series! And free stuff related to those wonderful books is even better. Thanks Heather
    Heatherpalmermt_bc@yahoo.com

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  27. I absolutely love swag ! I am happy with anything I win , but books and mugs probably top the list !!! I also HATE clutter , so I hear you on that!

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    1. And of course I forget my email ! kathambre@yahoo.com

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  28. I think everyone enjoys getting free stuff. It makes you smile and gives you warm fuzzies that someone cared enough to offer the opportunity to win. Thank you for the chance :)

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  29. Swag is delightful and very special. I treasure free stuff especially book and reading swag which is my ultimate favorute. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  30. Free stuff is always welcome but more than ever treasures which I cherish because they cheer me up and are related to books, reading and wonderful adventures. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  31. I love swag! I use all the tote bags, bookmarks get very dog eared, just getting the mail is exciting. cheers@marjimmanor.com

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  32. I like any of the free items authors give away to promote their books!! but I really love the free books, bookmarks and the book bags!!!!

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    1. Joanie - you won the Poisoned Pen book bag on Wednesday - email me your address jennmck@yahoo.com and I'll mail your prize!

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  33. I love to get any kind of free stuff but something I could use a lot would be great - pens, notepads, etc is the best. Something related to that particular book or series would be great too.

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  34. Love the swag!! Love winning books!! I will read your books regardless.

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  35. How absolutely fantastic!
    Good luck to all!
    💚

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  36. I love winning swag. My favorite things are books, bookmarks and a bag to carry my books in.

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  37. Of course a copy of any book is first but coffee/tea mugs is the next most wonderful sway. Bookmarks are wonderful to share with my small town (900+) library who just added your Hat Shop Mysteries as 2 of the first cozy series that they are just starting to offer. Thanks for all the wonderful contests your give & all your wonderful books.

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  38. Several years ago, I discovered book giveaways. I was addicted. I love books and who can resist a free book. In search of book giveaways, I discovered online sweepstakes. And I wld win. I have won three trips. Yet book giveaways are still my favorite.

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  39. I always love winning books. Tote bags are next on my list.

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  40. Love winning because I never do. My faves are books with cool tote bags, and pens.

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  41. I love to read. My absolute favorite swag would be a coffee mug. I would use it everyday. I have never won one though. But the mug would remind me of the author
    quickchangeus@yahoo.com
    Diane Rivera

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  42. Any book is #1 & next would be coffee/tea mugs & of course tote bags for books & groceries. Bookmarks are great to share with my 2 local libraries, 1 of which is just now starting to add cozies to the collection. That is in my small (900+) town library & the big library in the next county (27,000+) buys every cozy & mystery book they can & added new series & authors from the stack of bookmarks I took them. Libraries are the lifeblood of any community. Thanks for your wonderful giveaways & all of your fantastic books.

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  43. Who doesn't love free stuff?! Very little in life is free so gotta scoop up what you can, right? :) those tiaras a cute!

    Excited to read your romance debut - my husband I both love your library series and my coworker was sad when I informed her she was reading the last of the hat series. I work for Dakota County Library - so if a bunch of Book marks were part of away - they would be put to good use!

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  44. Free is great until you realize you have no use for the swag. But, a book, now that is different, always can use.

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  45. I love the thrill of seeing my name when I have a chance to win. I love books, pens, keychains, book marks, tote bags & little flashlights. Thanks for being so very generous to your readers, I know I do appreciate everything you do.

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  46. RHYS. I used to love the swag, but after 20 years of conventions I always give away the bag. I sometimes wonder whether swag works. I take a pen but never look which book it is promoting. My own most successful swag? For my first Biuchercon I made 1500 tea bags, yes, hand made, with the words a cup of tea and Evan Help Us by Rhts Bowen. Cozy Heaven
    Years later people said "you were the tea bag lady"

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  47. Oh my gosh who doesn't love free stuff. I love book stuff so all this swag is perfect.
    cochrandcr@gmail.com

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  48. I confess I love free stuff too, but I do have a special weakness for bags and bookmarks. And for books, but that goes without saying!

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  49. Free stuff is great. My first love is signed books but I know thats not always possible. Any swag is treasure to me. I've won necklaces and a ring and bracelets.
    judytucker1947@gmail.com

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  50. Who doesn't like free stuff? My favorite things are useful, like pens and notepads. I also love when the swag ties in with a book's theme (like Jenn's measuring spoons and berets). Like so many others, I have bookmarks running out my ears. Dmskrug3 at hotmail dot com

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  51. Suckered in by swag? No, just love your books - but free stuff is always good too!

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  52. I love free stuff as well! From authors I like bookmarks, pens or post it notes that I can use everyday. Books are always nice as well & if it comes in a bag that is an extra bonus.

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  53. I love love love swag! So much fun to get a package full of books, pens, notepads etc. Thanks for the giveaway

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  54. Wow. Reading this, I felt like I was reading something I wrote about myself! I can't stand clutter, but if you could see my desk and beside my desk, you would think I was the messiest person you've ever seen. UGH. I have received a couple free books before from authors and with that, there would be a postcard or bookmark that I didn't even know about. I was thrilled more with that than the book itself!
    I mean I LOVE books, don't get me wrong. But once you read that book, it goes on a shelf or in storage. The bookmark lives on. You can keep using it.

    I love all kinds of swag. Bags are wonderful, not only because I can reuse them over and over again but I'm helping promote the author when I go out. Bookmarks, as stated before, are great to use in other books. A tiara? Well, I have all boys and wouldn't use it myself. But I can honestly say that is the first time I've ever heard of it. So great job on finding something different. Pens are great because once again, you can keep using them and show them off. Honestly, I think all swag is great. If it doesn't cost much to produce and you enjoy giving it out, continue to do it. Not only do people love getting books, but receiving something else with it makes it even better. They feel more drawn to the author. At least that's how I feel.

    Now that I've written a book myself .... Thank you SO much for this opportunity.

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  55. I like some swag. I'm partial to the useful stuff like bookmarks and pens. I will say that it can be useful for sales because I had a jar opener from an author that I used a lot. Then one day in the bookstore I saw a book by that author and it was like a subliminal message. I recognized the name so I bought the book!

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  56. I am on the fence, here. Mostly I prefer pens, bags, notepads, etc. I'm more for books. But bookmarks always. I give a stack to my library every so often. They really appreciate them here. As for postcards. I usually have one or two in my bag. I get a chance to talk to someone about books I will usually give them one Della at deepotter (at) peoplepc ((dot) com

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  57. I love free stuff. I have a drawer with free stuff in it and a bag of free pamphlets from our travels. I collect things any thing free finds a home with me

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  58. Love swag! Books, totes, bookmarks, pens, paper, tool kits, koosies, magnets....thanks!
    rhondajgothier@yahoo.com

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  59. Swag is awesome. First, it promotes your brand and secondly gives your fans something extra (not that busting your butt writing novels is not enough -but hey - when Harper Lee's Watchman was released I was first in line to get my free book bag!). I always love bags, pens & mugs. I am always either reading books, buying them, writing or drinking coffee....or some variety thereof. So any item which carries books or coffee or can help me write my own stuff = AWESOME! :)

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  60. I love all of this swag input! Lip balm - Hank - brilliant! Tea bags - Rhys - perfection! So much fun!

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  61. I love free stuff. I get so excited when I win anything. Love swag! :)

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  62. I have to admit the free stuff is fun, I will buy the books anyway without it but I always think that it is a nice touch. I look at it as the author's way to say thanks for reading me. With new authors a book giveaway has introduced me to many authors, authors like yourself who I will read always, the other freebies are fun, especially when they tie in with the current book you are writing.
    momzillasteel at gmail dot com

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  63. Hi Jenn McKinlay, I love free things also but can't stand clutter. I enjoy your Wednesday giveaway and now your Sunday one also. The Tiara was fun and now I love the measuring spoons. Thanks for doing them Lois Rotella @ rainonlois@aol.com

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  64. I am a author freebies person; I love pens, note pads, mugs, key chains and book bags. I love collecting these items from different authors.

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  65. I love free stuff, especially pens, and tote bags, bookmarkers, lip balms. Love the swag!! :)

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    1. Forgot my email. steeletrukin@yahoo.com

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  66. I love free stuff. The best swag I like is always something unique other than bookmarks.

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  67. I love useful free stuff, since it seems wasteful to receive swag just to toss it. That's why I love your measuring spoon giveaway, tote bags, and books. The best swag is a copy of a newly published book, since I have often read all of the earlier books from an author. Thanks for making reading fun!

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  68. Crazy like a fox as always. Me, I go for the practical stuff -- book bags, bookmarks, mugs, pens, notepads. If I can use it, I will take it.

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  69. I love free stuff. Key chains and bookmarks are great. I'm hoping to win a set of measuring spoons. And I really tried to win a beret! But honestly, I'd truly be happy if I were to win a book without any swag.

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  70. I love give aways! Anything unusual of funny and I am immediately drawn to it. Bookmarks are great. I plastic coat them, add a tassel and put them in a book I am giving as a gift. When I used to travel by public transit, always with a book I had a few people comment that using a book mark, with cute tassel was so much better than using a transfer, so I then decided to carry a few with me (of my favourite authors , if I had a stash) and hand them out to other readers, who were using transfers or scraps of paper as bookmarks...cheers,,Donna

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  71. Of course, we all like free stuff. We enjoy winning a free book and all the other swag is just icing on the cake. dbahn(at)iw(dot)net

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  72. I LOVE free stuff! And, as we can see from the comments, so does everyone else!

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  73. And yes, Jenn, I still get fan mail--for the lip balm! xoxoo

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    1. Hank, did I miss seeing the lip balm giveaway at Malice? Or was the lip balm from another event? That's cool! No need to send me one :-)

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  74. Swag is always fun to get! A
    book with 1 bookmark! Mugs, gift cards, sturdy totes, magnets, pins, pens, sticky notes. One of my favorites is a letter opener I've been using for years! I'm a greatgrandmother and I'd love a tiara!!

    kpbarnett1941[at]aol.com

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    1. You're the winner, Karen B! I'll email you so you can send me your address and I can mail your loot! CONGRATS!!!

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    2. Thank you, Jenn! Address sent.

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  75. Loved your post. And I feel your struggle. Its like looking around thinking where would l put that then you find out its free well of course I have room!!!! I love a giveaways prizes;books, pens, bookmakers, cups, totes anything and everything.

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  76. I do have an addiction to tote bags plus I love any sort of library swag.

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  77. Loved your post. And I feel your struggle. Its like looking around thinking where would l put that then you find out its free well of course I have room!!!! I love a giveaways prizes;books, pens, bookmakers, cups, totes anything and everything.

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  78. I admit it, I love swag. I may need to go to swagaholics anonymous. I especially love books, pens, magnets, and tote bags, but I love and appreciate every and all swag. Thank you for this chance! areewekidding(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  79. I'm so glad I'm not the only person with this problem! I'm constantly yelling at my husband about our messy house (seriously, why are the clothes all over the floor NEXT TO the hamper instead of inside it?), but I absolutely love free stuff. I think my favorite so far is the zippered MWA tote bag from Bouchercon last year. I've used it for traveling several times because it's really sturdy. Love it.

    My favorites swag items are books (of course), tote bags, magnets, and pens since they are all useful and don't take up THAT much space...

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  80. Sheila from Illinois says: I love free stuff!! Author swag is the best! Mugs,magnets,key chains, tote bags, signed books to name a few.Especially when it comes from an author I love.

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  81. I love free author stuff. My favorite is free books, closely followed by recipes. Bookmarks are pretty cool too.

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  82. I think pens and cups are my favorite swag. I still like books; however, I find myself using my Kindle most of the time. Refrigerator magnets are good too.

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  83. Like Hallie, I usually give back the book bag at conferences, unless it's especially nice in which case I give it to a niece or nephew. I like bookmarks (am using a Hank Phillippi Ryan one at the moment!) because I'm usually reading a couple of books at once, so I like to have some spares at the ready.

    I love the idea of giving away a signed book by another author, Jenn! I might have to borrow that!

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    1. Are you talking about bookbags from your books or bookbags from other authors?

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  84. I LOVE free stuff!!(whether measuring spoons, bookmarks,etc....) The best is a free book, by the writer, along with a 'side of free goodies!'(goes with the cooking theme of your books! lol)

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  85. Who doesn't love free stuff? If they don't, they are crazy!!! I love author giveaways because either I get a book I have wanted or I get something I can use to promote the author! So it is a win/win for me and therefore I enter all the giveaways I find (and sometimes even win!) (Wendalee50@aol.com)

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  86. I love freebies! After books, I love totes, cups, pens, really just about anything and everything. But, be careful of what is on the tote. I have one from Duffy Brown with the title, Geared For the Grave. A family member was in the hospital, not thinking of anything but having a book, charger, and umbrella, I took my tote with me. Did I get some looks from other family members! MarshaMysteryreader@yahoo.com

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  87. Oh, I do not have the swag gene. What is wrong with me? Partly is that my house is already cluttered enough and have no place to put stuff. I do like bookmarks, and free books, though!

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  88. love free stuff..love totes and books especially..anything from you is great..I win a book here and there but no totes yet..hopefully one of these times
    greeneyes2755@yahoo.com

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  89. I love your swag and hope to one day win some I love your books mama2bulls@gmail.com

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  90. I would love some swag stuff, I love free stuff. Thank you for thinking of us. miller1563@tx.rr.com

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  91. I love your giveaways. They are so fun!

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  92. The best part about Hank's lip balm was that it was made with all-natural ingredients, and was a cut above the usual.

    Someone up there ^ mentioned jar opener thingies (we call them Screwy Louies), and I cast my vote for that idea, too. I use one to hold my phone in one spot in the car.

    Jenn, I meant to say this in my first post, but you look mighty fetching in that tiara. Natural royalty!

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  93. Sounds wonderful thank you so much for this giveaway
    Penney

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  94. I love free stuff too! My favorite is probably pens, but I like it all!

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  95. You had me at free. I have a stack of book marks. Love book marks. Stick notes always come in handy being a teacher. Book bags, use them all the time too. I use all the swag I get and people ask about the swag when they see it. mommatoodle@msn.com

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  96. You're very kind, Karen! I was trying to channel my inner Audrey :)

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    1. Jenn, I agree with Karen. I noticed you were channeling your inner Audrey :-)

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  97. Oh my gosh. This is a free stuff lovers anonymous meeting! Guilty too. I tromped all over the state fair years ago trying to find where to score the free yard stick. Like I really needed one. Book swag is wonderful though. The absolute best is a book or ARC. I'm drowning in bookmarks but I wouldn't pass up another one. I have a cool tote bag which can be worn like a backpack. It is perfect for my walking trips to the library. I may not need it but swag is an added connection to authors and their books.
    Pat D

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  98. I love free stuff. Free pens, bookings, and bookmarks are my favorites.

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  99. Is an emphatic Yes enough to earn some swag! Love the stuff. We even sent back 40 lbs of beads from Mardi Gras last year.

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  100. Jewelry and pens. But always love the books....it is the best way to get to know new to me authors.

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  101. Jenn, I do not like clutter either. I just made it by one day (no book donations to library from 2/16 to ?) and I donated lots and lots of books on 2/15! However, I do love swag if they are something I can use and there is a place for them. For example, a book bag would be perfect for all of the books from the same author. I received a beautiful book bag from Ellen Byron and I put all of her books in that bag. When one of the Maisie Dobbs books was published, at Jacqueline Winspear's book launch, they gave out Maisie Dobbs tea bags. Loved that. At my first Malice, I received many bookmarks, which I kept because I could use them for many paperbacks. With hardbacks, I can use the book jacket to keep my place in the book, unless it is from the library, then I use a bookmark. I am drinking coffee from The Nugget Cafe Flat Skunk, CA cup, which I received from Penny Warner because I read her drafts for the Connor Westphal series. It was a gift because I helped her. I do not think it was part of a giveaway. I love that bag in your photo "About A Dog" because it reminded me of a line from Lord Peter Wimsey "I have to see a man about a dog". I do love free books too!

    Jenn, please do not enter me in the giveaway. However, if you happen to have an extra bookmark with photos of your Hat Shop books at my first Bouchercon, then I would LOVE one :-) Or you can email me for my address. Or a Hat Shop bookmark (it does not have to be photos from the books).

    My email is lbooks478 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  102. Books, tote bags, pens -- I read or use them all. Bookmarks and magnets don't do anything for me.

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  103. I love swag -- I don't know if it is just the term, but it makes my eyes light up -- it's sort of like after getting my hair done and the stylist asking if I need any product -- again, I love the term, and of course get lots of it. I love any kind of promotional swag and one of my favorites was a jar opener from Daryl Wood Gerber -- I use it all the time. I also love pens, as you can never have enough, notepads for the same reason, and anything else is just icing on the cake (or cupcake). Of course the best thing is an autographed book! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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  104. My favorite swag is books, books, and more books. But according to friends and family, I have a pen and tote bag problem. And who doesn't love bookmarks? Really, any swag is good swag!

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  105. Besides signed copies of books, I love tote bags. I have them in all sizes, and I can always find uses for them.

    Deb Romano

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  106. I'm with almost everyone on here, I love swag. But WOW, I think I'm the only person that has hardly any swag...not for lack of trying. I should probably stop buying lottery tickets right now. ;) I was over the moon with joy when I received bookmarks in the mail and I did also win a keychain back in December. I admit, I almost cried.

    I don't think it's just "getting swag," but I think we get in that day to day rut and when someone notices us personally, as an individual, it just feels amazing. Um, yes the swag is cool, I'm using my bookmarks and keychain. =)

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    1. oops...konecny7@gmail.com
      Maybe that's why I never win.

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  107. This is the best giveaway I have ever seen. Jen you are the queen of giveaways. Plus I love all your books. Thank you for the chance. Zeta(at)iwon(dot)com

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    1. My favorite version of swag of course is print books!

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  108. I am in the same boat as you are... I love free swag from my favorite authors...especially signed stuff,books,and even coffee mugs!,although I only have 2. Lol I have one shelf dedicated to signed books ,swag consisting of mugs,a shot glass, mini flashlight,pens,key chains,and a container with bookmarks. NO ONE,I repeat,NO ONE is allowed to touch anything on that shelf!!! Lol These are my treasures. I actually use some of the swag I get to help advertise the authors books. I even have a mouse pad with an author's book cover on it. It is like an addiction..I never have enough and I need more...and if you think about it,I need swag for all of the new books that are coming out too..right? So yes, it is safe to say....I love swag collecting. And I love your books.

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  109. I love free stuff, too. I must say that you sound pretty creative with promo items. Am trying to think how to answer your best author swag seen question, and I think that it was a mug with the author's name and series logo on it. It was something that I was fortunate enough to win, and since I use it at work everyday, I have had colleagues and even clients ask me about it. Gives a great opportunity to talk about the author and series, makes me feel like I am doing my bit to spread the word.

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  110. Oh, and forgot to include the way to contact me if my name is drawn for the above comment, sorry about that.
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

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  111. Hi Jenn! Big fan here! I love swag & I won't turn anything down that is given to me by my fave authors. Coffee mugs are a big "win" for me so I especially enjoy seeing one of those in my cupboard. Thanks for a cute blog post today & for a chance in the give-a-way! sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

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  112. I love free stuff! Anything, anywhere! My favorite free gift from an author was a pound of coffee...definitely hard to beat! But I have also accumulated a nice collection of postcards and bookmarks which I enjoy and they are easy to store. I especially like if they are signed. Thanks for feeding my addiction...hopefully!

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  113. I love receiving the swag! But who doesn't. I've gotten some cool rhinestone pens, bookmarks everywhere, note pads, jar openers, mini spatulas, and I've seen some cool mini tiara pins and full sized tiaras among other stuff. I think as long as it ties into the book or book club it's all great!!!

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  114. I love bookmarks because I can never fine one unless it came with the book when I bought it, and who ever has enough pens? :D

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  115. Seriously, doesn't everyone love swag? How could you not. I do, however, share your loathing for clutter. It truly is a conundrum. My favorite giveaway was the squishy cupcakes. They were perfect for the books! Congrats on your continued success. Jen Kiesl

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  116. Nothing wrong with free stuff. I just pick and choose carefully to avoid being overly cluttered with the stuff (I have enough clutter without freebies).

    Usually I just take the bookmarks. But when I go to trivia night at the local restaurant I hang out at (and win the contest most times), I end up with the pen.

    Currently, I have my Ingrid Thoft bookmark in use for the ARC of the new Adrian McKinty novel.

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  117. I love free stuff!! You have some really awesome giveaways and the stuff amazes me!!

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  118. I love swag. Some of the best (well my faves) are book bags. I like them because they can be used over and some have cool pockets. I also like mugs. :) I once won a poster in a give away promoting a book series. That was pretty cool s it was all the characters

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  119. Love free stuff. If it is kitchen related, I can never have enough. Although I do not mind pens, pencils, post it notes, anything that is useful and will get used almost everyday. It is also such a great way to advertise my favorite authors to everyone I meet.

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  120. Sigh. I, too, have a swag problem! I have been known to knock over old ladies and toddlers to get a free "something" (not really, but you get the point!) Plus, I have a clutter issue as well. I really like the Baker and Taylor cat totes. But really, how many tote bags does one need? Pins are always cool, and I leave library conferences with enough free books to start a library!

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  121. Sheesh- who doesn't love free stuff...especially from one of your favorite authors! But I have to try to contain clutter so I go for smaller items...like bookmarks (the kind that clip on are my favs so I don't lose them) and pens and pencils....things like that. You always have such awesome giveaways!

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  122. Who doesn't love swag! Books, totes suitable for beachbag, bottle koozies, soaps, chocolates!

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  123. I love to win free books, but a little something extra isn't bad either! Personally, I would love to win something that is related to the book/series, like jewelry, bookmarks, a tote bag, or even a clothing piece. I, too, have a clutter problem, and it's especially hard when you're living in a small apartment!

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  124. I love free stuff and unfortunately have passed this love onto my 9 year old son who I fear may become a hoarder

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  125. I feel like the main character in "The Fly." My rational side is trying to stop my hand from typing "GIVE ME MORE SWAG!" It's not working. It's absurd but I am mesmerized by the stuff, and nothing is too weird or too ordinary for me to want and love it. I have the pens and bookmarks and postcards (which I try to match with the right book when I am reading) and the keychains and recipe cards and post-its and mugs and tape measures and all kinds of cute things. When I go to the grocery store my reusable bags are a rainbow of advertisement for authors. I was thrilled when I got a Chapstick with a picture of the book cover on it. One of the most useful things I received was a waterproof tote bag and flashlight and metal water bottle (survival themed book). But I've noticed my best friend and I have the same irrational fear of using this stuff because what will we do when it runs out??

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  126. Oh goodness did this ever receive a lot of attention as you can tell people love to receive free stuff no matter what it is from pens to key chains to recycle bags.The best free item i receiced from and author is a leather journal with the authors name on the front that was neat,also received a crown from an author that is sitting on my book shelf in my office. All of the free stuff over the years is sitting on my bookshelves in my office just love it and don;t want anyone walking away with any of it as it is so special to me. I love getting print books that is my fav to get so i can review. Some things that i would send out are bookmarks,pens,clips hold papers but no matter what free stuff if i was an author i would always send a few bookmarks with every package i mail out. I send the bookmarks with every letter i mail out and i also give them to the library and if anyone comes to the house they never leave without a few bookmarks so they remember that they have been to my house ....ptclayton2@aol.com peggy clayton

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  127. I love books, of course, but anything my favorite author wants to give away is great. It depends on what the free stuff is as to whether or not I grab it or just walk past it. The Cupcake series are my favorite. Email address is Knapp.MP@gmail.com

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  128. Jenn, I always enter your Wednesday give aways and any others from the authors I've friended on facebook. Books (especially autographed!) are the best but one of my favorites was from Kate Carlisle. It was a map of Dharma, the small Californa town that Brooklyn Decker the star of her Biblophile series hales from. What a great way to see how the town is laid out. Every business and home is labeled.

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  129. Love the free stuff. Love having author items to show off to promote the author and books. Anything to promote cozies- love bookmarks, am known as post-it queen at school, or anything the author sends

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  130. I love free stuff. I have a special drawer where I keep little treasures. And I love sharing bookmarks. I know our small library would love extra bookmarks since they have a special section just for cozy mysteries.

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  131. I like swag too, but have to try not to accumulate any more bags--I'm overflowing! I use them for groceries to avoid using plastic, as well as all the other uses mentioned by others. Free books are the best, I agree with everyone else, with a bookmark from the author inside. Glad to hear Jenn has so many creative ideas for swag! Elizabeth in Indiana

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  132. Ridiculous giveaways are my absolute favorite! Books, bags, measuring spoons...I love it all! I want to read About A Dog so badly!!!

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  133. I love free stubb would love those bookmarks Waiting to read About A Dog so Badly!!

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  134. Love any kind of free swag from authors if it pertains to their books. Books, pens, bookmarks, totes, whatever. Love it all. Also, love your books! Can't wait for the next cupcake mystery!! Hope I win!!!����

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  135. sorry when I type fast I mis-spell

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  136. Well, it wasn't really swag, but it has made me like the book even more: the author signed my book with a note of something for me to look for in the book, a biography of Alvin York. (It was a picture of a sign that my father had painted back in the 1940's!)

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  137. What's not to like. Favorite authors, cute stuff, and free!

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  138. Love free stuff,love books. Perfect combo. Best of luck.

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  139. I adore swag...and I want it all! LOL I am a bag lady, so I simply adore bags-and love ones that show off mysteries! I love key chains, but don't have many of those. I have a few mugs...always nice and a spatula was a great one-I really want your measuring spoons to go with that! And I would have loved a tiara, even though I'm not at all "girly". I'd love charms, but I really wish (and this would be too tough and probably copyright impossible) coloring books of the mysteries in question: covers, scenes, etc.

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  140. I adore free stuff as well. My favorites are things I can use everyday so I can justify my need for them. I've never had a tiara but I know I'd give to my little girl as I'd quickly deem it impractical for myself.

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  141. I'll be chuckling all day over the tiara-induced bribe attempts. I'm a swag fan. Sure it may be bad for the clutter, but it's a disease (I might blame the Great Depression). While I love the pens and bags and bookmarks what comes to mind as my favorite swag accomplishments are those Christmas ornaments Kate Carlisle did last year and your measuring spoons. OMG the measuring spoons are brilliant. Frankly anything I can have on my desk at work or carry around with me and use that can start a conversation about books is absolutely perfect!

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  142. I like giveaways. It's given me a chance to check out new authors at times.
    Favorite swag was always pens or bookmarks. I like shirts but hard to get them in my size.

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  143. Sorry to ask - I have not seen a comment from Grace Koshida (sp?) for a while.

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  144. I love free stuff! My husband considers it a mental illness. My junk drawer has now multiplied........
    I like anything. The odder the better. It's how I learn new things.

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  145. Oh course I love swag and free stuff! I really love books and I also like bookmarks, magnets, tote bags. Anything is appreciated.

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  146. I love your swag! It's fun and the one time I won my daughter stole it all. Lol!

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  147. You are me. I am you. Love the swag, hate clutter. I'm fond of pens especially because I am forever searching for a pen at home (and, yes, someone actually IS eating them and her name is Little Big Dog) so I keep all my swag pens in a bag in my cabinet in my office (not that I remember that when I'm screaming bloody murder that I can't find a bloody pen and who do you have to kill in this place before someone, anyone puts a darn pen back where it belongs, already).

    My favorite swag while I was still working the Dreaded Day Job was those little travel sewing kits. I used the heck out of them because I'm clumsy and Mr. Murphy knows it. I once had to sit in my boss's office in my underpants and sew the middle seam of my pants back up before a huge meeting with our client. I used two skeins of beige thread that day.

    Malice-Go-Round is great for swag! When I get home, my daughter and I sit on the bed and go through all the stuff so I can make my wish list for Christmas (yes, I know Malice is like eight months before Christmas but my retired librarian MIL will buy me books and books and more books so I make sure she knows exactly which ones I want) and then I take all the postcards to the library and find books to "hide" them in. Handselling books to people I've never met. So, see, Jenn, those postcards do come in handy. ;)

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    1. I've thought about putting extra bookmarks or the post cards in books are Barnes and Noble. Didn't know if I should rebel and do it or ask first.

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    2. Aimee, I love the idea of putting the postcards in library books. I'm going to do it!

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  148. I love free stuff! I would most definitely buy a book without it though or not judge an author for not having swag. My favorite has been totes, paper, cloth eye glasses cleaner, pens, anything I can use.

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  149. I like free stuff, too. I don't have many book items except some library canvas bags. Since I used to work for the Bureau of Forestry, I have Smokey Bear chip clips and jar openers.
    Edith, aprons or potholders would be something Quakerish. Hint, I could use a new apron. LOL

    Sally

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  150. Love me some swag! ;) Am I giving away swag when I take my son's excessive candy stash after holidays to work to give to our student workers? Lol

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  151. I love author swag! Some of my favorites are tote bags, notebooks, pens. I love all kinds of swag.

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  152. amy guillaume lindermanFebruary 19, 2017 at 5:38 PM

    author swag is so fun! i love pens, mugs, notebooks....i've seen all sorts of things....postcards, mini flashlights, nail files. it's all fun! i love to share it with friends who are looking for new things to read!

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  153. I love swag, especially tote bags, pens, and bookmarks. I sometimes share the bookmarks but always keep a couple for my collection. cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

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  154. Always like free stuff. Love tote bags, pens bookmarks and whatever

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  155. I love mugs. I like to drink out of the mug of an author I'm reading. It's weird, I know. But I do. Bookmarks and pens are awesome. There's this romance author who's sister makes her earrings of her books. There have been some rare occasions where she's given those away. That's pretty cool.

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  156. The swag is great, but for me, it's all about the books. Especially signed books! My friends nicknamed me the book whore because I go to book signings whenever I can. I can't wait About a Dog! I'd be lost without my boy!

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  157. i've never gotten any book swag but as a college newbie i remember my study buddy talked me into going to a jobfair because she wanted to get some free highlighters and pens. this guy gave me an application and started telling me about his company (i already had a job) my friend said we're not interested we're just here for the free stuff and dragged me from table to table getting stuff. i was horrified/mortified. the look on the guy's face was priceless. so were a few others... bookworm_ani (at) hotmail (dot) com

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  158. I love swag. I will take bookmarks to local libraries until I get my little free library up and running. For myself, I love tote bags and notepads.

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  159. I have a saying "if it's free, it's for me". I live by that every day, lol. So yes I love free stuff, giveaways and the whole shebang. That said, does it make me want to read the book more, no. Does it make me like the author more, no. If I get bookmarks or postcards I take most of them to the library to promote the book. If the author is giving away a book I either have or will have or have read, I either dont enter (or if they have something amazing with the book) give the book to a friend or the library. I love tote bags, doodads, gegaws and the whole gambit of goodies.

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  160. I'm disappointed when there is a giveaway that does not include the book.

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  161. Love free stuff! Books, mugs, bookmarks, you name, I love it! After I read the books I donate them to the Library to share the wealth!

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  162. Love free stuff! Books, mugs, bookmarks, you name, I love it! After I read the books I donate them to the Library to share the wealth!

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  163. I love when I can't win some free book swag. I always love a good bookmark because I read so much. I have a few pens from books that I carry in my wallet as well as some reusable bags which are always handy. Getting swag always make me more likely to read an author too.

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  164. Hi Jenn I don't need any swag but what I do need is a refill of bookmarks for my library bookmarks bag. With our friend in Florida I'm in desperate need of more of your bookmarks. Pretty Please can you send me some?

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  165. Winning something from a favorite author is so much fun! I LOVE signed paperbacks and gift cards to buy more books! The authors I follow are very generous!!!

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  166. Love free stuff! I'd hope you'd do the tiaras again 'cause now I want one, too! The best giveaways are signed books, of course. (I have several from several authors and they are my most prized possessions.) From a strictly swag point of view, though, my favourite swag I've received has been lip balm, which was swag because the label was a picture of the author's book cover. The most unique swag I've received, I think, is a magnet clip. Like a magnet to put on your fridge that you can also clip stuff to. Also a calendar is a personal fave of mine because it came from my favourite writer.

    Anyway, short story long, but short version: Swag is Super.

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  167. Love swag! Pens of course because who doesn't need pens? Bookmarks...yes, please! Mugs, naturally. Oooh those micro fiber cloths- love them! Army football gives out little towels- great to keep in the cars. Tape measures- need those sometimes. And tote bags----well to tote books and stuff!

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  168. I love swag!. They are great reminders of an experience of a conference or of reading a great book. Best are free books of course, but my favs are mugs, pins, and bags. Pens, pencils, and erasers are wonderful too! Thank you for your generous heart! ❤

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  169. I love free stuff. I especially love autographed books. The thing with cozy mysteries is I never part with them. Makes for an enormous book clutter at my house.

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  170. I love free stuff but it needs to be useful or I'll just pass it along. best free stuff- books & drinks.

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  171. Swag works! I also will grab every item I can get if you wave it in my face. T-shirt that will never fit me? Gimme! Another tote bag to add to the 87 million I already have? Mine! I give pencils and pens to my mother. I particularly like unusual items like your measuring spoons. I like it all! Anything! Everything! Ooh, and cat toys!

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  172. I think we all love free stuff! ;)
    I especially love book swag though. I just think it is such a neat thing to have items, whatever they may be, that relate to some of my favorite books.
    My favorite swag is lip balm, tote bags, pens, magnets, and coffee mugs. I love it all though. <3

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  173. I love free stuff. Books are the best but there's lots of good swag, too. I like useful swag like measuring spoons, jar openers, spatulas, coffee mugs---all fun to use.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

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  174. Books are best, however I also love to receive notepads/notebooks, pens/pencils, & totebags.
    turtle6422(at)gmail(dot)com

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