It feels odd to have to mention this, but often it isn't enough to have a book physically available at a convention. Yes, having a cupcake launch party will create interest (and some people did stop down to the Zumaya Publications table in the dealers room afterwards), but often you need to have some means of generating awareness. Just having signs posted around the convention (with pictures of the beautiful cover) before the party had people coming up to me later during the con saying things like "Oh, you're the cupcake lady! Is that the book?" "Sorry I missed the party, where can I check out the book?"
Fortunately, I had already prepared enough ahead of both conventions to have promo pens I could hand out for those times I wasn't at the table. Because I'm still a newbie with my smartphone and get easily frustrated with my fingers not hitting the right keys on the screen (how can people type so quickly on those things?), I decided to have stylus pens, which seemed to be popular. They've got my book title, my name and website on them just in case people decide to check out the book (and if people don't want to, they still have a good black ink pen with a useful stylus).
VistaPrint this time for my paper promos, rather than the company I used in my previous blog post about promotion material. For some reason this year VistaPrint had a better selection of business card designs and an easier setup method for double-sided postcards. The stylus pens are from National Pen, which I've had good luck with over the years.
So now I'm all set for the next month's worth of conventions, library workshops and bookstore events. At some point I should probably add a banner, as a number of my other author friends have done, but that should wait until I see the new covers for the upcoming re-releases from Zumaya Publications. A banner would work for those conventions I drive to, but when I'm flying to a convention the weight limit for suitcases means I'd rather bring books than a banner. Maybe a custom designed tablecloth? Vistaprint immediately showed me what my postcard design would look like on a banner, a tablecloth, and a few other items. They all looked lovely and it was very tempting, but I don't know.
What are your go-to items for promotion? What attracts your attention?