That’s the new gimmick on the streets these days.
A trading card is about as useful as the tongue depressor I received at RT 2006. What the heck am I going to do with that? If I were sitting on the curb blowing bubble gum and hanging out with my friends before we grabbed our bikes and headed to the park, then perhaps I’d find trading cards useful. The last thing I need is more stuff to junk up my house. That’s coming from me as both a reader and a writer.
What happens when you bring home your stash from a conference or a convention? Do you mount them on a wall? Do you repackage them for gift baskets? Do you keep them as knickknacks on the coffee table? Seriously. What do you do with trading cards other than use them as coasters? I know what I’d do with them. After about a month, I’d either forget where they are or throw them in the trash because they’re not doing anything useful. Rarely have I visited a writer’s website because their name was on a pen or in the corner of a sticky notes pad. Buying their book because of their “cool” swag is out of the question. Sadly, the few sites I have visited because of their stash, I can’t recall which ones they were and I’m sure I didn’t buy their book(s). In fact, I don’t know of anyone who became a bestseller because of their bookmarks. Sure, this stuff is nice to have–don’t get me wrong. But I can do more with a pen than I can a tongue depressor with the author’s name on back. Besides, anything on a trading card should be on the author’s website.
When I first heard about the trading cards, I rolled my eyes and laughed. As writers, we should be investing our time and money into writing the best book possible and getting it critiqued by betas or an editor before we put it in the hands of readers. My biggest fear is this it’ll most likely be marketed toward other authors, just like everything else we do. But don’t get me started on marketing to authors. When it’s done the wrong way, it’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine. 😡
I could be wrong about the trading cards and hope that I am. But I, for one, won’t bother with them. I’m sure readers would rather have a good book in their hands.
Has any swag ever hooked you? What was the most ridiculous gimmick you’ve come across? For me, it wasn’t the tongue depressor. It was a penis-shaped lollipop. Yeah, like I’m going to be licking on that thing in public. Not.