Austin Teen Book Fest

This past weekend was the annual Austin Teen Book Fest. So much fun. I love that this conference is all about readers connecting with authors.

In the spirit of connection, I finally picked up a copy of Brandon Sanderson's THE RITHMATIST. We ended up standing next to each other waiting to get into a panel, so I also scored an autograph and picture. I may have fan-girled.

Of course, along with wonderful authors and amazing panels, several publishers were there...with SWAG! I love checking out what the big guys are doing to promote their authors, so I thought I'd share a few of the cooler items I picked up.

Lots of folks had bookmarks, but Kendare Blake wins for the coolest (and the only one I bothered to pick up).

This great bookmark is for her new book series The Goddess War. The feather is made from a really heavy vellum so it will stand up to a little wear, but it's still a little sheer. I love that it's a common item, useful to readers, and still stands out in a good way.

Next up was sampler books. I saw a couple of these and two really caught my eye. The first was for a Rick Yancey title that came out in May.
This glossy booklet is 5x11 inches, and if it looks thick, it's because it is. Forget a free chapter, we've been given nine. That's right, nine chapters. Noticing my astonishment, the lovely publicity lady informed me once I read those nine chapters, I'll have to read the rest. I haven't started yet, but I'll let you know how that turns out.

Another sampler book that caught my eye was No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz. This one actually came out in May of last year, but I'd never heard of it. You can bet I'll be finding it now.

The book doesn't look all that exciting until you open it up. I quickly realized that we'd been given a quick glance at the four main characters who drive the story. I don't know if the book is told in multiple POV, and it doesn't really matter. This would be a great idea for multi-POV or a single POV that has a group of protagonists, like an epic fantasy.

What makes this work is that it isn't a character description. We learn who the characters are through a very short scene featuring them. Again, this could be just how the book is written, but that doesn't mean you couldn't do something similar for a single POV.

The last item I picked up is something I hadn't seen before and perfect for a group of authors looking to share costs.
Sampler booklets can get expensive, so instead of printing the samples, these authors posted them all online at a single site. The 5x11 inch glossy card features 6 books on one side and 6 more on the other. These are separated by release season, but you could do it anyway that works for you. Each book is featured with the cover, the title, the author, the tagline and a release date.

You could do this with other authors with similar release dates or even select a new release for each month of the year. You could pick a genre theme or shake up as a "something for everyone" collection. I love the idea of pairing up with other authors in your area to create some local author buzz.

The options are endless and with costs split between several authors, you can get more bang for your buck.

So that's it for this conference, but I'm always on the lookout for author promotion ideas. Have you seen any cool promos lately. Share them in the comments!