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Giving Readers Something Extra by Jacqueline Diamond


Children today learn to read differently than we did. Increasingly, kids read on iPads and other tablets where they can tap a word to hear it pronounced or a picture to make it move and generate sounds. Although interactive ebooks are relatively new, adult readers have always loved receiving something extra, whether it’s a bookmark, an autograph or an author’s note about how the book came to be written. Today’s media provide numerous opportunities for authors to add value. Some of these methods also serve as promotional tools. The down side is that, if we don’t focus, we can blow our budgets, overload our brains and take too much time away from writing. I’d like to give a brief rundown of some possibilities, with observations about those I’ve tried. What works best for you may be different. Let’s start with swag—stuff we give away. This ranges from free or low-cost items, such as ebooks, refrigerator magnets, pens and bookmarks, to gift cards, Kindles and even vacation trips. Often these are awarded as prizes in contests or at Facebook launch parties aimed at boosting a release onto the bestseller lists. Having a limited budget, I’ve been cautious about offering expensive swag.…