It’s (already) February and March is bearing down far too fast for comfort! The good news is that we’re about to enter the 2014 conference season with three of the big conferences looming on the near horizon: Romantic Times (RT 2014; May), Book Expo America (BEA; May) and Romance Writers of America (Nationals; July). I’ll be attending RT, and I’m seriously excited about it. It’s the first time I’ll have been to RT’s annual conference, and I’m looking forward to meeting fans, signing books and participating on several panels.

One of the things authors can do is participate in giveaways. There are rooms with free goodies where authors can put fun things for readers and other authors to take that advertise their books. I’m going to be advertising both names I publish under (Denise Tompkins for all things paranormal and Kelli Ireland for all things contemporary romance related) and have begun to stock up on fun things like organic lip balm, candy, etc. But I’m looking bigger than that. I want to do a gift basket. A big gift basket. I was thinking of things I could do, and I’ve come up with some pretty cool idea. However, the gift basket isn’t for me. It would be for one lucky winner — hopefully a reader.

This is where you come in. I’m thinking of things to put in the very non-traditional “basket” (think designer purse), but I would positively love your input. If you were going to invest in tickets for a chance to win a gift basket, what would you want to see in that basket? Books? An e-reader? Spa products? All of the above? None of the above? Any ideas you can throw my way would be most appreciated. And don’t be shy! I’m greedy for your thoughts and comments, and you never know which items might just end up as prizes on my sites at a later date.   😉

14 Responses to “Conference Season, Gift Baskets and Goodie Bags, Oh My!”
  1. Laney4 says:

    Lots of books are always a draw for me. Throw in some stationery (a journal, Post-It notes, pens) and I’m a goner. And chocolate, just one box of chocolate, will put me over the edge even more – on the other side of the pond especially, they like to share Tim Tams with readers. Gift cards are always nice, but they don’t take up much space in a “big basket”.
    Some authors have totes made with their name, website or even book displayed prominently. Some have Post-It notes and/or pens with just their name and website. Some even have T-shirts made up with a large book cover on the front! One of my favourite gifts was a water bottle that I proudly use, which boldly displays the author’s name.

  2. What an awesome reply! Thank you, Laney4! I’ve looked at Post-It notes in a very cool dispenser, but I hadn’t thought of a journal. I’ll got to Barnes & Noble and pick one up. That’s a brilliant idea!

    I will have some very good chocolate to go in the purse/bag. Hopefully that’s a draw! (For me? I’d be all over the purse and the chocolate!!!) I’ll have to look at a water bottle. Yet another great suggestion!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I have kept the suggestions printed out and will definitely be using some of them. 😀


  3. Josie says:

    I 100% agree with Laney4’s choices – books, books and more books with some stationery and chocolate. My idea of heaven! Love the idea of a tote bag, too.

    I quite like ‘themed’ baskets for example having everything needed for a girls’ night in – bubbly, popcorn, dvds, spa treatments (as well as the books, stationery and chocolate!). Or maybe something retro – games and sweets from childhood.

    Or, you could ‘split’ your gift basket in half and have one side for all things paranormal and one side for all things romance. Would look really cute if decorated half in green and half in pink!

    • I love the idea of splitting the gift bag into two halves! So awesome! I think the gift bag itself is going to be a Coach purse (large bucket bag) that will host a ton of books, an e-reader, nice chocolates, coupons for more digital books, maybe a manicure set, a nice journal, a fountain pen — that kind of stuff. What do you think? I’ll definitely think of a way to do paranormal and romance differently. I have a rough idea, but it will make the basket huge. I’ll have to see what I can manage! LOL

      Thank you so much for your feedback!

  4. Mary Preston says:

    Let’s go with “all of the above” ++ chocolate.

    • All of the above + chocolate it is! I’m going to do my best to also offer a few things for writers, so it should be something that appeals to everyone. I hope you get a chance to go to Romantic Times in New Orleans and see the results!

      All my best,

  5. katie says:

    i know when my group does a basket, we have a purse and put in cash and it’s always popular. I like the idea of a kindle, chocolate, spa products, swag, etc

    • Hi Katie.

      I hadn’t thought about cash! That’s a great addition. And I really like the Kindle, chocolate and spa products too. There have been some great ideas posted here. This basket is going to be so fun. I’ll have to credit all of you with the ideas. 😀

      Thanks for the great suggestion,

  6. Ocotilla says:

    How about a couple of salt-free spice blends from Penzey’s?

  7. katie says:

    Also, maybe include something that is representative of the place the conference is (like if it was in Chicago, the popcorn that everyone loves).

    • That’s an awesome idea! I’ll be in New Orleans a day early so I can pick up some beignet mix, some chicory coffee and maybe (for fun or…whatever) a voodoo doll! EXCELLENT recommendation, Katie!


  8. Kimh says:

    Books, candy gift crds

    • That’s an excellent suggestion — gift cards. I like the idea of maybe a couple to restaurants or even a Visa pre-paid card. Hm. Now the ol’ grey matter is churning! Thanks for the comment,

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