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Randee Dawn Works on Swag

It is such an honor to have Randee Dawn guesting on my blog today. I have known her for years. Lots of years. We got to know each other while we were both doing the Television Critics Association Press Tour, and became friends apart from that little junket. So, when it comes to backstage on a TV set, she knows whereof she writes. Today, she’s writing about the devilment that is book promotion.

This morning, I spent time tasting tea. Six kinds of tea, as it turns out, all sent as samples from one of my favorite tea purveyors, Tea & Absinthe.

Randee Dawn holding her new book, Tune in Tomorrow
Randee Dawn

Hey, I do the hard stuff for my upcoming book, Tune in Tomorrow!

It helps that I like tea, but the reason I was testing so much hot tea (and on a July morning, no less) was that I was hoping to find a great flavor that Tea & Absinthe and I could package as a big of swag connected to the book. Tune in Tomorrow is a funny pop culture adventure that takes place in a fantasy realm, and focuses on a TV reality show/soap opera created by mythical creatures, for mythical creatures, but starring humans.

The actors on the show all have helpers who are brownies (that’s the mythical creature, not the delicious square chocolate confection) with outlandish names like Oleander Pinebough and Bookender Riverbend. They are so incredibly helpful (despite being treated like interns and paid in glitter) that they will even allow themselves to be turned into tea. (Fortunately, they reconstitute within hours, so no true harm is done.) Each brownie tastes different – a boring one will put you to sleep, an industrious one will keep you awake.

So I had to have tea. The right kind of tea. A chocolaty, but spicy tea. And now I think I’ve found it.

Tea is just one of the swag – or book-related giveaway – items I’ve been working on. In theory, a person could swag themselves into debt trying to promote their book; the giveaways can be almost anything. The most useful ones are related to the book, and are sometimes excerpts from the book. Over the years I’ve tried printing small bound excerpts of a short story I wrote to hand out, but they looked chintzy and dumb. For Tune in Tomorrow, though, it was clearer: I wanted to be food-related. Hence, tea.

Other Options

Cover for Tune in Tomorrow by Randee Dawn

The other swag item I’ve had created are enamel pins. The pins are lovely, if I do say so myself: A cartoon mango, floating in a sea of stars, surrounded by the book’s title, my name and the phrase “Be the Mango.” I’d love to make that a catch phrase – in part because once you know the story in the book, it’s all about self-actualization, and finding your inner spark. In the book, the new hire Starr is discovered while performing improv – she’s a singing mango on stage. That’s also the moment she finds her inspiration: She’s always wanted to act, but that outsized, goofy mango performance truly lit the fire in her belly. Anyone who’s become passionate about something or someone will know what that feels like.

Later on in the book, when Starr needs to find that inner spark again, when circumstances have ground her down and she needs to be strong, she goes back to that mango-singing moment. And she thinks, “Be the mango.”

Hence, pins. And you know what? It’s a good phrase for life. Find your inner mango. Be your inner mango. Or at the very least, eat your inner mango. With a side of brownie tea.

Tune in Tomorrow: The Curious, Calamitous, Cockamamie Story of Starr Weatherby and the Greatest Mythic Reality Show Ever publishes August 16 from Rebellion/Solaris. You can find it at Barnes and Noble, Bookshop.org, and at Amazon (please note that I, Anne B., am an affiliate of all three of those sites). Thank you, Randee, for joining me today.

You can find my latest book, Death of an Heiress, by clicking here.

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