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Shelley Munro
February 26th, 2009, 04:23 AM
Iíve noticed pens are a very popular promotional item with both readers and writers. I certainly like to replenish my pen supply when I go to a conference. Of course, like many promotional items, pens donít make me want to run out and purchase the relevant authorís book. I havenít personally ordered pens for myself (mainly because I havenít found a reasonably priced source in New Zealand) but I look upon pens as an additional tool to help gain name recognition amongst the buying public.

Pens are a good promo item because theyíre relatively cheap. Everyone likes pens and uses them on a daily basis, no matter a personís age, sex or locality. Theyíre a universal item and appeal to everyone. Thatís a big plus.

Pens come in all shapes, sizes and colors. These days you can often purchase pens to match books - a specific color or design. For example: you can buy pens with puppies, in a leopard print, a sea theme or even a holiday theme. If you have a book with a builder hero, how about a builderís pencil? If you have a book with a magical theme, how about a pencil that changes color with the heat of your hand? The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

As Iíve just mentioned as well as pens you can order pencils, coloring pencils, Sharpies or highlighter pens to fit your needs. Writers LOVE highlighter pens or this writer does. Most pens I pick up have black ink. Iím not sure why that is but I have a decided preference for blue ink. Most people wonít care but Iím a blue girl all the way!

Jane Porter (http://www.janeporter.com/) is an author who does lots of promotions with pens. I have several of her pens.

What Do You Put On a Pen?

Maria Zannini (http://mariazannini.blogspot.com/2009/02/killer-campaigns-signatures.html) has an excellent post about author signatures at her blog. The taglines you put in your author signatures are great for pens as well. The thing is to keep the info to two, maybe three or four lines maximum. Too much information is confusing and the writing is too small. You should definitely include your name and website and either a tagline or a book title on your pen.

Hereís a few examples from pens I have:

Jane Porterís pen has three lines of writing.
Line 1 - Jane Porter
Line 2 - (slightly smaller) Harlequin Presents
Line 3 - janeporter.com

Terri Brisbinís pen has four lines of writing.
Line 1 - Looking for love?
Line 2 - Find it in a Romance by
Line 3 - (large writing) Terri Brisbin
Line 4 - www.terribrisbin.com (http://www.terribrisbin.com)

Tielle St. Clareís highlighter has three lines of writing
Line 1 - Exotic & Erotic - Books by
Line 2 - (larger writing) Tielle St. Clare
Line 3 - www.ellorascave.com (http://www.ellorascave.com)

Pens are good promo at conferences. Theyíre excellent for goodie bags. Give them out to friends and family, your hairdresser, vet or librarian. Leave them in restaurants after youíve signed the check. Add them to Christmas or birthday presents because everyone likes pens!

There are lots of places to purchase pens, especially if you live in the US. The best way is to ask other authors for recommendations. Here are a few websites for you to start with:

National Pens (http://www.pens.com/)
Pens Xpress (http://www.pensxpress.com/)
Pens4all (http://www.pens4all.com/)
InkHead (http://www.inkhead.com/)

Vista Print does do pens as well, but theyíre quite expensive compared to some of the alternatives.

Do you like pens for promotional items? Do you favor a particular pen style more than others? Have you purchased pens for promo items? Which company did you use and what was your experience during the ordering process? Do you have any other ideas of places to use your promo pens once youíve purchased them?

Kim Smith
February 26th, 2009, 08:22 AM
I am so glad to see this post. I was considering promo materials and I am at a loss as to what will get me the most bang for my buck.

rebelheart
February 26th, 2009, 11:39 AM
Shelley,

I'm a blue girl too. In fact, my favorite rose is called "Blue Girl." BUT, as far as pens go, I love author pens as the best promo item, even more than magnets or postcards, or little notepads. What kind of writer doesn't have a pen handy? And to have an author pen is a constant reminder of that book and author. And I am not too proud to say I need reminding. I may have the intention to buy the book, but forget once I'm in the bookstore, due to being overwhelmed by all the delicious books in the store. So having an author pen in my purse is practical and a reminder that I can just pull out of my purse.

Or if my pen is at home where I'm using it, I am reminded that I want to get that book every time I pick the pen up.
It's the power of suggestion---Pen>Writing>Reading>Buying Book

Great topic for a blog, Shelley.
Julie

Shelley Munro
February 26th, 2009, 11:39 PM
Kim,

This is my personal opinion only and other authors might disagree, but I'd go with bookmarks first and pens as my second option. I've also noticed that some authors use a business card size promo and hand those out. I quite liked those, but haven't done them for myself. If you're able to get to a conference, definitely check out the promo area and see what other authors are doing. That's a great way of getting ideas.

Shelley

Shelley Munro
February 26th, 2009, 11:40 PM
Julie - that's really good to know. We authors always like to know if promo ideas are working for us. I really wish I could find a good source of pens down this way.

Shelley

rebelheart
February 27th, 2009, 02:02 AM
Shelley and Kim,

Of course, when you consider the cost of a pen vs. a bookmark, then the bookmark is a lot better for putting in bookstores or donating to luncheons, etc. Now if you had a few to give in a prize basket of some sort, then readers and writers always like pens.

As far as pens go, besides being blue ink, I prefer the ones with the retractable ink for the mere reason that I always lose my pen cap. Plus, when you lose the pen cap in your purse, that means the pen is loose and coloring the inside of your purse, which has happened numerous times. I now only carry retractable pens in my purse, and yes, most of the time, they are author pens.

I don't really carry bookmarks in my purse, but I guess I should. After all, I do carry a TBB list.

Julie

Catherine Bybee
February 28th, 2009, 12:51 AM
Great topic, Shelley. I haven't had a need to buy any of these things. But with books coming out at the end of the year it's time to start thinking about these things. Thanks for the links.

Shelley Munro
March 3rd, 2009, 04:18 AM
Julie - that's a good point about a pen being retractable. There is nothing worse than ink over everything. I've just cleaned out my handbag and noticed I have ink everywhere!

Catherine - I think I've seen you on the MFRW list? If you search for pens in the messages there's a post with an attachment and heaps of pen links. I really wish we had cheaper pens in NZ!!!

Shelley

Catherine Bybee
March 3rd, 2009, 12:30 PM
Julie - that's a good point about a pen being retractable. There is nothing worse than ink over everything. I've just cleaned out my handbag and noticed I have ink everywhere!

Catherine - I think I've seen you on the MFRW list? If you search for pens in the messages there's a post with an attachment and heaps of pen links. I really wish we had cheaper pens in NZ!!!

Shelley

What does it cost you, Shelley? Yes, I'm on MFRW.. I'll look. If there is a way to buy the pens here and ship them to you cheeper than you can get them there let me know... I'd be happy to 'pen traffic' Laugh it Up fuzball for ya. LOL

Shelley Munro
March 5th, 2009, 05:31 AM
Thanks for the offer, Catherine. The cost of postage from US to NZ is horrendous. Added to that is the fact our exchange rate has sunk to an all-time low against the US$ This means not much shopping in the US for me at the moment.

Thanks again!
Shelley

Catherine Bybee
March 5th, 2009, 12:23 PM
Looks like everyones economy is in the toilet.