18 – Swag Ideas for Your Book Launch, With Lindsay A. Franklin

Posted June 15, 2020 | Laura Christianson
The Professional Writer
The Professional Writer
18 - Swag Ideas for Your Book Launch, With Lindsay A. Franklin


Lindsay A. Franklin joins us for the second week in a row to continue our conversation about writing and marketing Young Adult (YA) fantasy.

Click here to listen to Part 1, “The Delicate Dance of Writing YA Fantasy.” 

Today Lindsay reveals the disaster that almost happened during an awards ceremony, when her first novel, The Story Peddler, won a major award.

Lindsay shares what she’s been learning during the book launches for The Weaver Trilogy (one book per year in 2018, 2019, and 2020).

Who is my reader avatar?

  • Who am I trying to reach in this book launch?
  • What is unique about fantasy readers?
  • What will they want to see from this unproven author?

What feeling or vibe do I want to create with my launch?

“Speculative fiction fans are very tribal,” she says. “We’re passionate fans of the stories we love and the worlds we love.”

Not only are fantasy fiction readers tribal, they’re also collectors. With that in mind, Lindsay began creating fandom swag:

  • Custom tea blends that tie in to the story
  • Instagram-worthy art prints
  • Small custom candles with a “magic forest” scent

Creating swag was a risk, says Lindsay, because although you can get people’s attention through swag and collectibles, ultimately, readers have to think that the story is worth creating a fandom around.

Lindsay mixes and matches the swag items that go in her “prize boxes” and uses them:

  • As giveaways for people who purchase her books at events
  • As pre-order bonuses
  • As thank-yous for endorsers and tour hosts
  • As prize boxes during blog tours, Instagram tours, book review tours, or in personal giveaways

“Gifts are my love language,” says Lindsay. It brings her great joy to search for the perfect swag. However, she realizes that the methods she loves might be deeply stressful for other authors. “Whatever you do has to work for your personality and has to be sustainable,” she advises.

Financing a book launch

Lindsay is committed to building a platform for a long-term publishing career. She let her publisher know she’d be investing her advance on book royalties into marketing her books.

Her publisher has been supportive, “on board for whatever I have planned.”

Still, launching a book can be a significant investment.  For authors on an extremely tight budget, Lindsay recommends coming up with “one small swag item that will get readers really excited, would be fun for you, and would be special to include in giveaways.”

Items authors should budget for:

  • Buying copies of your own books to use in giveaways (your publisher may provide you with X amount of copies to use for this purpose)
  • Swag item(s)
  • Packing materials to put book and swag in (make sure items are not heavy or easily breakable!)
  • Postage

Lindsay begins planning her book launches six months before a book releases. “I’m getting more efficient with each launch.”

Swag Ideas for Your Book Launch, With Lindsay A. Franklin | Episode #18 of The Professional Writer Podcast with Laura Christianson

About Lindsay A. Franklin

Lindsay is a Carol Award-winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed marsupial named Wombatman. Visit her at LindsayAFranklin.com

Lindsay will be sharing more of her 10-year journey through traditional publishing at the 2020 West Coast Christian Writers Online Conference, October 8-10.

The Weaver Trilogy


  1. The Story Peddler
  2. The Story Raider
  3. The Story Hunter

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