Monday, November 30, 2015

Tuesday Tips and Tweaks

This week author Melissa Keir, joins us with her tip. Melissa is a wife and mother, an elementary school teacher, a movie reviewer, an owner of a publishing company as well as an author. She always wanted to be an author when she wasn’t hoping for a career as a race car driver.

To Swag or Not to Swag

For authors, we want to get our cover and name out there among our readers and potential readers. Hence, SWAG! (Stuff we all get) But does it really work?
The consensus is no. It’s nice and can be a great item to have on hand for conventions but it doesn’t really sell your book. Recently, I sent out four boxes filled with swag that I picked up at various conferences. These were wonderful items and fun to get…everything from sample chapters to pens, to condoms to bookmarks and charms. But none of them enticed me to buy a book. They did come home with me…I didn’t throw them away (which is what happens to 80% of all swag).

So why do we buy swag if it doesn’t really work? First, it can be a great way to connect with people. During a conference, people will more likely stop at a table where there’s something for free. They like to get things for free. Having swag on your table will allow them to stop and you can then chat up your book and yourself…make a connection (that’s what sells the books anyway). Secondly, they do serve as a business card to your brand, so make sure it’s something that “fits” you and your stories. I love to give away compact mirrors because my brand is “Sexy Between the Covers” and what is more sexy than each one of us? A small mirror can go in a purse, car or other place and be used again and again. And hopefully, each time, they will see my name and website. Even if they don’t buy my book today, they might check me out later. A business card would get crumpled up and possibly thrown away. Mirrors…not so much.
If you are interested in more information on SWAG, check out the following blog posts about it.

Blurb for Claiming a Cowboy’s Heart
Even broken souls deserve a second chance at love…

Elementary Teacher, Michelle Alt’s faced untold trials in her life, yet she continues to do what’s right to make things better for the next generation.

Cowboy Veterinarian, Preston Hall has lost everything in order to follow his dreams and return to his grandfather’s small town practice.

These two broken souls recognize each other’s pain and come together to heal, but fear and misunderstandings send their blossoming relationship into a tailspin. Will they be able to put aside their pain to find the love of a lifetime?

Excerpt from “Claiming a Cowboy’s Heart

With her floral shoulder bag hanging from her arm, Michelle Alt approached the dead raccoon. The smell overwhelmed her. Pinching her nose, she took deep breaths through her mouth. The full moon illuminated the intersection across from her school. People should learn to drive slower on this street. This time a raccoon, someday a child.

She squatted and dumped the contents of her purse on the asphalt. Removing the cheap dollar-store clothespin from her purse, she dealt with the smell and closed off her nose. The spring had just enough strength to press her nostrils together without hurting. With her hands free, she selected a yellow pair of sunglasses from inside her bag and slipped them on the raccoon’s face. A smile flitted across her lips.

“That’s a start.” Looking at the pile of junk sitting at her side, she removed a couple of more items, setting a red plastic cup with a paper umbrella next to the raccoon’s hand. Last, she inserted a small bottle of sunscreen between his arm and body then cleaned up the remaining materials, stuffing them into her bag.

It’s perfect. He looks like he’s resting in the sun. Another day at the beach for Mr. Raccoon. She glanced at her watch. Crap, I need to run. I hate asking Mom to watch my daughter for these little acts of willful disobedience. Thank goodness, she’s more than happy to watch Connie, even for, in her words, ‘a waste of time’. But I’m so thankful to have her helping me. I’d never be able to do it all alone. Standing, she slipped her bag over her shoulder, glanced down the street—no one in sight—and dashed off toward home.

A deep sigh escaped her lips. The porch light glimmered in the distance. Almost home and no one the wiser. I can’t wait to see what people think of this roadkill art. All caught up in her fantasy, she bumped into a brick wall. “Umph.” Michelle raised her gaze and locked on the fullest lips she’d ever seen. Are they as soft as they look?

“I’m sorry,” the wall spoke. “I didn’t see you.”

Buy Links: (Preorder- Available on Nov. 30th)

You can find Melissa at:


Thanks Melissa, for dropping by and sharing that great tip on swag.

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author’s tip or tweak.


  1. Thank you for having me. I really have decided to pare down my swag this year. It's hard not to want a bunch of things but seriously, if it's being thrown away... that's money being thrown away!!

  2. Swag is my way of saying thank you to my readers! I don't buy a lot of it, personal things every now and then. :)

    1. Jennifer... that makes sense... do you give it away with each book bought? or for giveaways?