We live in the Freeium era, as documented by Chris Anderson in his book Free. I'm all for giving something in the hopes of gaining a new reader, a new convert, a new fan, and engaging my readership in general, but the practice poses some challenges for writers. Such ask knowing what--out of the sea of options available today--works best.
With The Taker set to launch in less than three weeks, I've been thinking about how to promote the book. Gallery, the publishers, have this well covered. For instance, folks who purchases ecopies will get a bonus: a chapter from The Reckoning, the second book in the trilogy. They've designed widgets and all kinds of neat online stuff to attract and entertain readers.
What I'm talking about here are things to supplement their efforts, and I could use is your help in understanding which bonuses and swag and enticements readers prefer:
1. Electronic content: Lots of options here. In addition to putting a "teaser" chapter from The Reckoning online (though probably down the road) we're thinking of putting up short stories that provide some insight into key characters' backstory, or little spin-off tales. What are your favorite ways authors have used the online space to extend your experience/enjoyment of a book?
2. Swag: I love swag, but am well aware that one man's treasure is another man's dross. Do you like to receive a tchotchke when you attend a reading or visit an author at a convention? If so, which are the items you keep and which are the ones you toss?
3. Bookplates: It seems the practice of providing signed bookplates is well entrenched at this point--and for the record, I have bookplates available for anyone who'd like their book signed but can't make it to a reading. What's your feeling on bookplates? Have you requested one from an author or is the whole idea bit meh to you? Is there some other signed memento you'd prefer?
4. VIP clubs: Increasingly, authors are setting up opportunities for fans to get exclusive privileges: opportunities to meet with the author when they come to their area or holding private "members only" events at conventions; exclusive econtent or even printed novellas, etc; special merchandise not available to the general public. How do you feel about these? Have you joined one or would you consider joining one, and if so, what kinds of exclusive enticements would interest you?
I look forward to reading your answers in the Comments section, and I'll summarize in a future blog post if I receive a lot of responses. Thank you in advance for your help!