February 20, 2012

Oh Susanna - Where To Go For Swag?

Wow!  How did it get to be Monday so fast?  The weekend just FLEW by!

Yesterday seems to have been an unusually quiet day on the internet (by which I mean I was so busy doing laundry that I was barely on my computer and hence missed whatever might have been going on :))  But seriously, I dragged Donna out for an interview and I'm not sure anyone besides Catherine, Alison and Vivian even saw it!  (Ouch for Donna! :( )  The extreme quietness has caused me to doubt my new policy of posting interviews on the third Sunday of the month... Perhaps it is a bad plan.  I shall have to re-examine it....  Or maybe Disqus was having issues... or maybe y'all weren't interested in the topic under discussion...  Feel free to share below.  In any case, if you didn't get to see Donna's interview, please go HERE.  I think you might find some useful information, and if you have any questions, please post them to the comments of her interview post and we'll see what we can do about getting you answers :)

In other news, I'm pretty excited because April Fool, Phyllis! will be available in the Scholastic SeeSaw Book Club for March!  It is titled The April Fool Treasure Hunt and has a blue cover instead of pink, but the story inside is the same.  And for real fun, it comes on CD!!!  I haven't gotten to hear it yet - I hope it's good :)
Since I haven't gotten my copies yet, I had to swipe this cover picture off the Scholastic site :)
Oh, and apropos of nothing, I'm being featured on Kimberly Dana's blog - The Blog Zone - today if anyone is interested...

Now onto today's real business: the Oh Susanna question!  This is a good one, and I will be very interested to hear what all of you have to contribute on the topic!

Saba asks, "I'm looking to have some swag made for my blog and website.  Do you know of any companies that make stickers and bookmarks?"

Well, Saba, as a matter of fact I do!  And I'm sure our readers have experience with many more and will hopefully share what has worked well for them!

The main sites I have used are VistaPrint, GotPrint, and Zazzle.  I have made magnets, bookmarks, stickers, mugs, and pencils.  (The pencils were from another site...  Oriental Trading Company.)  What's really great about all these sites is that you can google coupons for them and usually find a way to get a discount.

I am not artistically inclined and I have no knowledge whatsoever of how to use PhotoShopElements or Adobe Illustrator or any of those design-oriented programs.  For this reason, I have found Zazzle to be the easiest site to work with for anything involving art.  You can upload photos or scans straight out of your iPhoto file or wherever you keep your photos (as long as you have the rights or permission) and plop them right onto whatever you're making - magnets, stickers, t-shirts, mugs, keychains, etc.  Zazzle has a lot of choices of things to make.

VistaPrint I have used for business cards and magnets.  They are pretty user-friendly too.

GotPrint is what I used for bookmarks, but I had to have help.  My daughter created the bookmark image I wanted on PhotoShopElements and uploaded it to GotPrint.  I could not have done that myself because all I know how to do is open PhotoShop Elements - I have no idea what to do next :)  This does not make for interesting bookmarks :)  Bookmarks are the thing I've struggled most with.  I have not found a really easy-to-work-with site that allows you to design your own without themed templates you don't want.  Anyone with advice on this topic, please share!!!!!

The pencils are a little tricky because you can only go to 30 characters usually, and usually only one line of print.  So you have to choose your book title or your website or your name - you can't fit them all.

I am always looking for easy-to-use sites for this kind of thing.  Also for good ideas of what to make.  Like I said, I personally have found Zazzle the easiest to work with, and they have a lot of product choices.  I might try tote bags soon :)

Now, all you faithful and helpful readers, what kinds of swag have you made?  What sites do you use?  What do you recommend for Saba?  Please share!
Reactions:

45 comments:

  1. Super helpful question Saba and thanks for all those options Susanna. Do publishers ever do bookmarks etc. or is that for the big names only?

    So cool about Phyllis! I'll have to interview you in April that would be fun!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great news about Phyllis! So...they can just change the title and do a CD like that without running it by you? How does that work?

    It never even occurred to me to create swag, so thanks a lot, Saba, for putting yet ANOTHER bee in my bonnet! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it's possible that publishers sometimes do bookmarks for the big names, but it's never happened to me, and I think it's getting less and less frequent as publishers try to keep their bottom lines up...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very interesting, thanks!
    I did see the interview, and I thought it was very informative. If I ever need to make a webpage I will definitely get professional help! I didn't comment just because, since I will not be making a webpage any time soon, I didn't really have anything to say.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad you found this interesting and that you saw Donna's interview - I was feeling bad for her that it didn't seem to get a lot of reads!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sorry I didn't get the interview read and commented on yesterday. I've found that when I post on Sunday I get far fewer comments as well - I guess a lot of people take that day off. Also, with it being just before a holiday both in the U.S. and Canada, people might be away. I'm not at the stage of website yet, so had trouble knowing what to comment, but it is valuable information to tuck away for another time.

    I have no experience with getting swag made, I've just purchased swag-like items from Cafe Press. I don't know how they work for doing one's own design. I do know that there was a lot of delightful bookmarks and postcards available at SCBWI, and they're excellent marketing tools.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks so much for the comment, Beth, I appreciate it. Yes, I think Sundays are tough... I have to look into Cafe Press - I thought it was only for products that would raise money for causes because that's how I've seen it used on PiBoIdMo and 12X12, but maybe you can just make stuff there...

    ReplyDelete
  8. As an example, the Julie Andrews Collection has a number of items on CafePress for sale, featuring various characters, phrases, logos from their books.

    I'm pretty sure anyone can design their own items either to sell on CafePress or buy in bulk for your own use.

    Here's the link to the Julie Andrews Collection -- it shows you a bit of what's possible, anyway. http://www.cafepress.ca/jacollection

    ReplyDelete
  9. My mom has used VistaPrint for her business and really likes that site! I hear good things about Zazzle, too.

    Congrats on your book, Susanna!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for the question Saba -- never even heard the term swag before. I learned a lot! Not there yet, though. So will have to jot down he info.

    Stopped posting on the weekends just because I'm busy, have a hard time reading other blogs and I get so few views on mine.

    Very informative post.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm not in swag mode yet :) but I'm filing away this info! Oh and I read Sunday's post this morning--and it reminded me that I still need to read over and revise my About Me page.
    So many little things to do!
    Congrats on Phyllis. Scholastic makes me smile--I remember getting those little newsletters in class and wanting to buy all the books!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks, Beth!








    Beth Stilborn (unregistered) wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    As an example, the Julie Andrews Collection has a number of items on CafePress for sale, featuring various characters, phrases, logos from their books.
    I'm pretty sure anyone can design their own items either to sell on CafePress or buy in bulk for your own use.
    Here's the link to the Julie Andrews Collection -- it shows you a bit of what's possible, anyway. http://www.cafepress.ca/jacollection

    User's profile
    Link to comment

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks, Laura! And yes, I really like Zazzle!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yeah, I think I may switch the interviews to the 3rd Monday in the month - I think we all need a break from the internet on weekends :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congrats on Phyllis' promotion -I would love to hear the CD!

    Café Press would be my suggestion too. And I confess I don't visit blogs so much at weekends. I need a wee break from it and yesterday I was snowshoeing all day. I do think you may be best to move the interview to a Monday, Susanna.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ooh, snowshoeing sounds fun! We have no snow - so weird! I will definitely check Cafe Press, since Beth recommended it too! And thanks for you input about weekends - I confess, I need a break too! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, this post is chock full. First, congrats on the book in SeeSaw. I remember loving those scholastic book club flyers when I was a kid. (And then later when I had little ones of my own.) Now I'm going to look for Donna's interview and then over to The Blog Zone. Sheesh, you really know how to keep your readers busy ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks, Ruth! I know - I used to look forward to those book orders so much! I still remember books I got through Scholastic that I loved - Two On An Island, Two In The Wilderness, etc :) Thanks for taking the time to read everything :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for the great resources, Susanna! Oh! They are wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Glad you think so, Penny! I confess, I'm very fond of Zazzle :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you so much Susanna! I am going to check out all the sites you just listed :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. You're welcome, Saba! Let me know what you think!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Congrats on Phyllis hitting scholastic! How fun! I will watch for it when my kids bring their things home!

    I have used VistaPrint and Oriental Trading Company. I'll have to look into the others. Great tips.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am going to look for Phyllis in my scholastic book order form!!

    I just read Ms. Farrell's interview (I was away for the weeked).
    My Dad helped me make business cards with VistaPrint it was pretty easy and didn't cost too much.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm sorry, Susanna. I usually don't check the goings on of the blogosphere on Sundays.

    Yay for the Scholastic entry of your book. My daughter's in elementary so I'm sure I'll get a chance to get that book club catalog.

    ReplyDelete
  26. No apologies necessary! We all need a break - me included! Figuring out when people have time is a work in progress - some people have more time on weekends. And I'm excited about Scholastic - my kids have outgrown the book order clubs, but I have fond memories of those packages of new books coming home, when I as little and then again when they were!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Congrats on the Scholastic book! Woo hoo. And, I'm off to check the Sunday post. Sundays are typically quiet for us, but this past one was anything but. Great resources on the Oh Susanna question. I've use Moo for business cards. Lots of interesting products from them. A little more pricey than Vistaprint, but real stand out items.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks, Stacy! And very interesting about Moo - I haven't heard of them but will definitely have to check them out!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think that's a very sensible attitude, Stacy! Save the info and then you'll have it when you need it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Let me know if you find it :)

    And thanks for you input on VistaPrint!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have to say that I usually try to unplug on the weekends, at least until the kids go to bed and even then I'm usually too wiped out to do much (or read much) that's coherent. I will have to go back and read the interview- I love everything you post.
    I just ordered some fabulous knitting swag from CafePress and I believe they sold items from the PiBoIdMo in November. I saw places where you can upload your own art, plus then others can buy too. I also have a friend, Chris, who works for Thomas Direct and has always provided outstanding service to make anything you want. The website is thomasdirect (dot) com. Sometimes you just need a person!
    Oh, and I'm so excited for your book on Scholastic- my order forms should all be coming home soon!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks, Tracy. I was thinking some people might have more time on weekends, but personally, I find I need a break, so I can understand if a lot of other people feel that too. the whole social media thing can get overwhelming. I think I'm going to switch the interviews to Mondays... Interesting about Thomas Direct - I'll have to check that out. And a couple people have mentioned Cafe Press, so I'm going to take a look there too, just for fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. I highly recommend Vistaprint! It's awesome! If you sign up to receive email updates, they tend to send you special offers where you can get your business cards, postcards, magnets, etc. for free, and just pay for delivery. I've gotten some great deals that way!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Egad woman! I meant, oh I meant, to really stop by. *sigh* Sorry. *guilty*

    I never heard of Zazzle. We have used Vista though.

    Yay for your book being in Scholastic! You're super famous now. Made for TV movie about your life could be next! *wink* Seriously, (am I ever?) I am so happy for ya.

    (((hugs)))

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thanks for your input, J.C. I think it helps to know what other people have found successful!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Congrats on the book! The cover is adorable!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yay for Scholastic! I'll look for it in my daughter's book bags. :)

    And I LOVE VISTAPRINT! Good quality, good price.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks, Laura! And good to know - I like getting a consensus on things! :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. new here....but i just wanted to say lots and lots of good suggestions on the swag! i am an etsy shopper and always look there when i need little treats for things...i noticed a vendor advertised those little metal buttons kids wear at an excellent price (like $.25 ea) and will of course print what you like...picture of whatever...you can just do a search for them...might be a fun thing. plus it supports a small business!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great idea, Sharon! Thanks for chiming in and sharing with everyone! And WELCOME! :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I had to be away from the Internet a lot this weekend...I was in the woods literally!!! So I just read this post. I haven't used any of these. I'm still waiting for something to "swag" about :-) I would say...if you are doing anything besides pencils that you should consider adding a QR code to link to your website or blog or even to an online bookstore to purchase your book. Don't pay to have someone generate a QR code for you since you can do it online for free at several sites like this one.
    http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
    Katie Davis has information about this one her website, too.


    I just tried pasting a QR code above, but I don't know if it will become an image in comments...so if you see HTML gibberish...it didn't work. Anyway that QR code can be scanned with a smart phone and will take you right to Susanna's blog. I tried it just now. I saved it as an image to my laptop and then scanned that image with my smartphone and Susanna's website loaded on my smartphone. I use the Qrafter app to scan these. You may think it would be easier to just have your web address, but this is quicker and becoming more and more popular.

    I love all of the suggestions that Susanna made. I wasn't familiar with any of these. So I will add them to my growing resources.

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear from you and try to respond to every comment. Please share your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...