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 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 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

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

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
Pens Xpress
Pens4all
InkHead

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?