The Author Swag Has Arrived!


After hours of pouring over‘s website for the perfect tote bag, I found this one. It’s very mod style and has a nice gusset so things can stand up in it. I couldn’t brand it with the book cover because this bag only allows one color of printing and the bookcover didn’t look good. Actually, it looked like a horror novel. I considered changing the bag, but this one is so adorable in person.

Thanks to Jian Chan for helping me figure out what to put on it.

The swag bag will include the bookmark I showed you Saturday too.

One of the many things I learned in consulting was not to waste time. So when I have a question, I find an expert and pick their brain. My darling cousin, Amanda, works as a publicist in NYC. She let me fire dozens of questions at her and gave me back diamonds of knowledge.

One phrase in particular impacted my entire swag process. She told me to link it to the book in some way and personalize it for the reader.

That phrase rolled around in my head. I decided to take one of the pivotal scenes where Kai is facing her mortality and give my readers everything she had in that moment: Kai’s survival kit.

Enter the notepad, where she wrote her last letters to loved ones…


The notepad is also courtesy of 4 I have to say, they were fantastic! Very responsive to emails. Went above and beyond to make sure I was happy with my choices, the artwork proof, and the delivery. I will definitely use them again. The customer service and the prices cannot be beat!

A penlight to write by…


Since I could only put one line on it, my cousin recommended my website since it’s the hub of everything. Info on events, buy buttons, etc.

The pen to write with…


Big thanks to Carrie Rubin for recommending PensRUs to me. They were fast, efficient and the best prices around! I got the three-sided pen so my website and author name appear on the other two sides. I picked green because the 6 train is a green subway line.



The mini bottle of water and mini Twix are courtesy of Target. They fit into the theme of Kai’s survival kit.



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39 Responses to The Author Swag Has Arrived!

  1. Gwen says:

    These items are fantastic! It’s clear you put in the time and made use of your expert resources. Great promotion. Can’t wait for the release!

  2. Carrie Rubin says:

    Wow, you went all out! Looks fantastic. Glad you liked PensRUs. Thanks for the mention. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! I wanted to create a cool raffle giveaway at book signings and a nice take home at book events. ๐Ÿ™‚ They were fantastic–half the price of other places! You save med a bundle with that recommendation!

  3. Very well done! Terrific tote (it stands. It has a good shape!) And that key chain certainly will light things up ( good to use website). But the notepad is my favorite – best phrase at the top – and misty looking pcture…makes you want to read the book!)

    • Thanks! All these items are coming your way as part of my street team (minus the bottled water–didn’t want it spilling on the bookmarks). ๐Ÿ™‚ My cousin Amanda is a publicist in NY and said if you can only brand with one thing–make it your website. Great advice especially when it came to the key light. Aw, I love the notepad too. I really wanted to recreate a key scene in the book for my readers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You are a marketing dynamo. This bodes very well for the success of your book!

    • Aw thanks Audrey. I was always terrified of marketing. Until I realized I’m selling the book and I believe in the book. I’ll do anything for the book. Even studying marketing and hiring professionals like Jennifer Fusco to help me. And watching fellow writers like August and Rebecca to see how they do it! I’m naturally much more of an introvert but I’m learning how to be a targeted extrovert for the book. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Cool promotion! Twix, yum! I like the modern bag you chose too ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    Those are all fantastic items! And choosing items that reflect a moment from the book is brilliant. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I’ll be switching from my company tote to this one. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks JM! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was tough to find one. With YA books merchandising is so much easier–there’s always a piece of jewelry or some token item that is integral to the story. I was at a loss on this one. Took a week to figure out what I could use and how it tied into the story. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aw, awesome! Thank you! Yours will be coming soon with the bookmarks!

  7. Hi Kourtney! I haven’t been really active with the blogging lately, but I wanted you to know I’ve been following your progress and I am so happy for you! I can’t wait to read the whole story (I kept your Amazon chapters on my Kindle to remind me)! I love your swag bag, especially the notepad. I wish you luck and success!

    • Hi Jeannette! Sometimes we need those breaks. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aw thank you so much! I can’t want to get the book out there. That’s so great to hear–I hoped these promo items would be fun for readers. And I’ll be doing giveaways of the author swag bag on my blog, during my blog tour in late May-early July, and on my Facebook page. Hope you win one! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. klynwurth says:

    Great job Kourtney! Everything looks wonderful. How will you use these items? Please bear with this old(er) girl, who grew up in a time when it was enough to write a book and get it published. I am unschooled in the theory and practice of author swag and may have to resort to hiring someone younger than myself, if this sort of behavior is encouraged! It’s clear you know what you’re doing and you put a lot of work into it.

    • Thanks! LOL. I learned about swag from events when I lived in the city. People love freebies. So when I have ticketed author events and signings, these will be given to all attendees. At book signings, one will be raffled off. My street team members all received one. It’s a nice little thank you to readers. Also the tote is cute and doubles as free advertising every time someone carries it around. I knew nothing about any of this six months ago. I learned to apply lots of business knowledge to writing lately (budgeting/marketing). It’s been a very eye opening and interesting undertaking. ๐Ÿ™‚ I read as much as I could on book marketing and then found experts and picked their brains and hired them to help. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. 4amWriter says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen anyone go to the promo lengths like you have, Kourtney. You are one serious author! You go, girl!!

  10. EllaDee says:

    I’m so impressed by the research you’ve done and how you’ve used it to come up with an incredible marketing tool. From a personal taste point of view I love the swag and the notebook – Things I Should Have Said… is genius ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Aw thank you EllaDee. I’m pretty good at recognizing my weaknesses and trying to get better and enlisting help. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m fortunate I had some marketing gurus prodding me along. I am so glad you like it! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I think these are great swag items. You really put thought into this.

  12. I meant to ask you about your tote bags today! I’m glad I stopped by, haha. I thought they were super cute.

    I wish you and The Six Train to Wisconsin the best of luck!

    • Thanks! Lol. Perfect time to stop by the blog. ๐Ÿ™‚ They look kinda blah online but are really cute in person. Fingers and toes are crossed! Best of luck with Sade on the Wall too!

  13. Beverly G says:

    I totally want one of those I think its super cute now I have your book on my wish list So I wish it the best of luck and well I hope it sells many deff one I will be recommending to my book group

    • Thanks Beverly! I’ll be having giveaways at events and online so stay tuned to try to win one of those totes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for adding my book to your wish list. That’s lovely to hear. I hope your book group considers reading it and if they do and would like me to do a chat in person or on Skype with them about the book, please let me know.

  14. I love your notepad idea and making your character’s survival kit. Awesome!

    • Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was stumped for a bit. YA books tend to have something easier to merchandise imho. Then I started looking at potential promotional items and realized how perfectly certain items fit to that scene in the story.

  15. Cat Forsley says:

    K heart = swag bag = awesome = time and effort = awesome = design = awesome ………………………………… Twix Gone ๐Ÿ™‚ lol = awesome ………………. legwork done in toronto = funnnnnnnnnnn xo C

  16. Pete Denton says:

    They all look brilliant! Great idea and great research to get all these things together. Getting closer ๐Ÿ™‚

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