On New Ventures: A Big Announcement

I made a vow not to go crazy on the swag and promo this year. For RWA, I would print out mini-books of “The Warlord and the Nightingale” to promote CLOCKWORK SAMURAI and I would order a box of Liliana’s Princess Shanyin trilogy to sign at the Indie Signing. That was it. No more promo.

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Then when the THIS WEDDING IS DOOMED continuity was coming out, I vowed I would promote on release day only. One day. One blog. (We ended up doing four.)

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Then I found myself plotting how to deliver cakes to giveaway winners.

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That wasn’t all. Wouldn’t it be cool to try to create little cake wedding favors for the Berkley signing at RWA?

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That was when I realized I was certifiable. I was a complete swag addict. But why? Why was I so pathological about swag?

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People have told me time and again, swag doesn’t sell books. I know that. Do you think someone makes Asian steampunk books because it’ll sell more books? No!

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The thing is, I love the romance reading community. I love the tropes and themes and the idiosyncracies. I love how excited readers get. Over books! And swag just feels like a fun way to reach out. To start a conversation. To celebrate romance. To enhance the experience around the stories. And it uses all those nooks and crannies of my brain that don’t get used often — the crafting, baking, graphics, artistic side.

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I get to be a kid again when I make swag. Like I told my Little Girl, Mommy is doing arts and crafts for adults.

Anyway, long story short. While I was plotting how I would make little tiramisu jars at Nationals — involving packing jars into my suitcase,Β  procuring mascarpone and lady fingers in NYC–I realized I was CRAZY. @!*ing mad. I also realized I needed this. I also realized…

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There was a place for this. Something people might appreciate, that would make them happy.

So there will be no cake favors at RWA. I’m not going to swag for myself anymore. I’m taking my swag addiction to a whole ‘nother level:

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I’ve banded together with my partners in crime, Amanda Berry and Shawntelle Madison. You may not be aware that the three of us were involved in a completely non-profitable venture before that Romancelandia had a lot of fun with a few years back.

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We’re in research and development now, and are planning to hit the pavement at RWA to network with authors and publicity folks. We’re even putting together a prototype box, what I dub “Box X”, to use in focus groups. (Looking for bloggers/readers/reviewers who would like to volunteer for that. Sign-up on the website link below.)

Unless the sky falls, we plan on making The Ever After Box happen.

We hope this is something people will want to join in and be a part of. Because it’s going to be AWESOME.

Sign-up for the RWA meet-ups and updates at: www.everafterbox.com

9 Comments

  1. Marci
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 16:05:47

    That sounds awesome. I keep wanting to trust swag boxes and a few sites look interesting, but I’m just not willing to trust other people to know what I like. But a box by romance writers for romance readers? That sounds like something I could live with.

  2. Jamie Michele
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 16:46:09

    Such a great idea! Will it be promo and mini-books, mostly? Seems like you could definitely put whole books in there, too.

    I’m not a swag-keeper. I’ve kept very, very few things, mostly coffee mugs.

  3. Jeannie
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 17:46:45

    the current plan is to include a full length book plus 5-6 items all tied together with a theme. The items will vary and include purchased items as well as customized and branded items. We hope authors will want to join in and collaborate with us.

  4. Heathercm2001
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 19:14:44

    From a reader’s perspective, this sounds great! I would definitely sign up for something like this! I just got my first Fresh Fiction Box Not To Miss, and it is a lot of fun. I could only imagine how awesome one would be coming straight from the authors.

  5. Jeannie
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 19:45:13

    Heather,
    Authors get carried away with swag sometimes. And the Ever After Box fully encourages it. :)

  6. PJ Fiala (@pfiala)
    Jun 01, 2015 @ 20:26:30

    This is a phenomenal idea. Fabulous. Can’t wait to hear what the focus groups say!

  7. Meri
    Jun 08, 2015 @ 16:15:31

    You are a crazy person after my own heart! πŸ˜€

    I am also a person who’s allergic to wheat. There are LOTS of us out there, as well as people allergic to gluten, and other things (peanuts, anyone?).

    So not all swag boxes should probably include did (although I’d KILL for a delivery box of Been & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream right now! :9 ).

    Anyway β€” I think your Swag Art is WONDERFUL (and despite your saying it doesn’t sell books, yours just reached out, grabbed me, and MADE ME buy some of yours! πŸ˜€ ), and I hope you’ll let me try some of yours :)

    β€”Meri
    P. S. I’m even willing to trade-out some focus group consulting :)

  8. Meri
    Jun 08, 2015 @ 16:18:47

    Argh, autocorrect strikes again! And again! :p

    “…include did” should be “…include food”.
    “Been & Jerry’s” should obviously be “Ben & Jerry’s”.

  9. Rosemary
    Jun 29, 2015 @ 10:03:14

    This is a fabulous idea!

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