Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bookmarks, Buttons and Cheesecake

Welcome please, our guest blogger. Krista Davis is the National Bestselling Author of the Domestic Diva Mystery series. Her first book, The Diva Runs Out of Thyme, was nominated for an Agatha award. Sophie and the gang are sleuthing again in the recently released The Diva Paints the Town. Sophie Winston could hardly turn down her deceased neighbor’s last request for a bequest party, but she had no idea that the crafty old man brought the guests together for a reason . . .

Visit Krista at her website and her blog

I know what you’re thinking -- those three things have nothing in common. Actually, they do! I read Monica’s post on promotion with a lot of interest because lately, it seems like all my writer friends are talking about promotional items. I’m glad to say that I have a box of bookmarks to unload on anyone who will take them!

But conference season is upon us, and that brings about a whole host of other giveaway issues. I’ve been asked to donate baskets to several worthy causes. Now, since I’m writing about domestic divas, you’d think the possibilities would be endless. I can’t exactly mail a home-baked cake, though! Does anyone really want another apron? Scented candles? Soap shaped like flowers? A bright red KitchenAid mixer? Yeah, I’d go for one of those, too, but that’s not in my budget!

Just last night I was informed that I would be hosting a table at a luncheon. That means goody bags for the nine people who sit with me. Last year, The Diva Takes the Cake had just been released, so I filled little bags with a cupcake and a few items like note cards. What do I do for The Diva Paints the Town? I’ve thought about teeny bottles of nail polish (paint, get it?) but I’m guessing not many people would want those. In The Diva Paints the Town, Sophie and the gang redecorate an old mansion. There are a few key clues like puzzle pieces, Amontillado, and keys, but those don’t make good giveaway gifts. And while one bottle of Amontillado isn’t expensive, nine would be!

Some of my friends are into buttons this year. I won’t spoil the surprise, but if you’re coming to the Malice Domestic Conference, you’ll see them. They turned out great. Which reminds me -- I need something to give out there, too!

But that’s not all! I’m not kidding. It seems like every blog is having a contest to bring in more readers. At Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, where mystery writers cook up crime . . . and recipes! we started with $25 gift certificates to Williams-Sonoma. I happen to love that store, and it seemed appropriate since all our bloggers write food related mysteries. But it grew a little stale, so in December, we offered a Junior’s Cheesecake as a prize. Apparently there are a lot of hungry people out there. Who am I kidding? I would have loved to win a cheesecake to serve to my holiday guests! But, that seems kind of seasonal. So we went with a box of chocolate next. Maybe January isn’t a good month for a chocolate giveaway because people still have leftover holiday chocolates and they know February is around the corner? So there we are, wondering what people want? What kind of prize, other than the aforementioned $400 mixer, do you want?

Sometimes guest bloggers ask questions just to spark up conversation. But I’m serious! I’m dying to know what you want. What was in the best little gift bag you ever received? Would you turn your nose up at nail polish? What would bring you to a blog to enter a contest? What would you bid on at an auction?

To quote Frazier, “I’m listening.”


Camille Minichino said...

Welcome Krista!
I'm afraid I'm here not to give you ideas, but to steal the ones other commenters mention! It's tough to come up with something that is useful, new, and within a reasonable budget.

Over the years I've given out periodic tables (for my first series), plus the usual rulers, keychains, and pens. I find that my pens and rulers are the first to go from the tables at conferences.

Another time I had little wedding favor bags made up with the names of my boy/girl characters. The bag made a handy travel bag for jewelry.

I donate miniature scenes to auctions in honor of my second series and offer mini scenes as prizes on my blogs and lists.

Hey, how about measuring cups or spoons for you?

See -nothing useful. I'm here to poach!

Dru said...

Because I'm a quilter, fat quarters, quilting threads, floss, quilting kit, and related quilting items would make a great basket.

How about a little baking set including a pastry brush (painting the top of baked goods).

Sheila Connolly said...

Hmmm... I'm in the same boat as you, and I've even given out apples once or twice. And there will be buttons!

I have five (count 'em, five) purple pens from one author who I've crossed paths with at conferences. Note: a lot of giveaway pens run out of ink quickly, which is annoying. I love pencils, because they are useful. How about erasers?

I've gotten a computer-screen cleaner (which is probably the single most useful thing I ever received), nailfiles, keychains, candy, a mini-flashlight, matchbooks, stress balls in various forms... That's all I can remember right now.

BTW, your book is great, particularly if you like old houses. How about a mini-screwdriver?

signlady217 said...

If most readers are like me, gift cards, even just $10, to bookstores would be wonderful items to win! Amazon, B&N, BAM, Hastings, Waldenbooks, etc. Also, baskets/bags full of books (I'll read almost anything, or trade, donate, even regift it!). If it was a really big contest, maybe a trip to a conference.

Terri Thayer said...

Thanks, Krista, for making us think. I have stayed with the tried and true bookmarks. I did give away a quilt I made. But only once. That's way too much time and effort.

Thanks for blogging with us today.

Monica Ferris said...

I might bid on a hat, depending on the hat, at an auction. In a gift bag, I'd love a good ballpoint pen, one with a padded area for my fingers. I wouldn't mind fingernail polish, though I hardly ever use it, because of the "Paint the town red" theme. A little hand lotion or a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer might be nice. A box of paper clips or other office supply stuff might be helpful. It's hard to come up with something clever and useful!

Anonymous said...

I just lined up my first blog radio interview with many more to follow. My most recent blog is similar to yours: asking viewers for their input as I'm new at this.

But that's my contribution to your question: Blog Talk Radio.

Stephen Tremp

Krista said...

Thanks for inviting me to join you today, Terri! I can't believe you gave away a quilt. That's a lot of work!

Camille, it's interesting that pens and rulers are the first to go. I bet your readers love the miniature scenes!

Monica, it's nice to hear that you like the nail polish idea. Be careful, you may see little bottles of it at Malice!

trek said...

Keeping in theme, how about recipe cards? Debbie MacComber sent out simple knitting patterns on laminated cards.

Anonymous said...

I like Keychains, and hand lotions would be fun to give away but I also think maybe a small notebook of some sort that readers could keep handy with them for books they want to purchase this way they could have their list with them.

Anonymous said...

I think small notebooks would be fun.

Mare F said...

I think that nail polish is a cute idea. You could put in a pastry brush or a sponge brush, a key charm or pin, a snifter pin or mini-snifter, or maybe a small bottle from on of Camille's minature scenes. The bags sound like fun to receive if not to make.

Janel said...

I think the nail polish is a great idea. The first thing that came to mind for me, when you talked about your MC renovating I house, was art supplies. Maybe a little wooden cut out or plaster piece shaped like a house and some markers or little pots of paint to decorate it. Oh, and glitter. You'd never paint a house with glitter, but I think it's fun.

By the way, I love the giveaways at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, especially the cheesecake :)

Linda O. Johnston said...

Hi, Krista, and welcome! I'm afraid I'm not a good one to come up with gifty ideas for baskets but here are a few: I definitely believe in bookmarks, of course. I also purchased key chains a few years ago where the clear plastic attachment was empty, and I insert a copy of part of a book cover in one side and info about the latest book in the other. People seem to like those. Since I write about a pet-sitter, I've also given away wipe-off stands where people can write instructions to their own pet-sitters. But whether people would bid a lot for this kind of thing... well, I doubt it.

Thanks for blogging with us!

Caitlyn Henderson said...

In the goody bags you could include paint chip sample cards but with the book info on the back. Coupons to a paint or hardware store. For the keys idead you could include key chains or they have have key shaped wall mountings with hooks for hanging your keys.

Melissa Fiskateer #2396 said...

In the past, my fictional murders have always been "revenge" crimes, giving someone their comeuppance. it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, there's a sense of self-satisfaction to writing this type of murder.

Now, I'm working on a "cozy" murder. No blood, no gore. Again, it doesn't bother me.

What does bother me is reading about the fictional murder of a child. Nothing is more heinous, more disturbing, more emotional than the killing of a child. And yet, in some books, it's exactly the kind of detail that drives me to hate the killer and root for for the hero.

Reading, writing or interviewing families about real life deaths (ie: murder, accident, suicide, illness) bothers me a great deal, especially when it's a child.

Caitlyn Henderson said...

In the gift bags you could include paint chip sample cards with book info printed on the back. Maybe coupons or gift certificates to paint or hardware stores. For the keys ideas you could include key rings or there are key shaped wall hangings with hooks on them for holding your keys.

Beth Groundwater said...

Okay, Terri, Camille, and Joanna,
I have nominated you three for the "Creative Writer" blog award on my blog ( How about having ALL of you Killer Hobbies bloggers take a crack at this game?

signlady217 said...

House-shaped cookie cutters would be cute, or any shape cutter, and sprinkles, non pareils or dragees.

For the quilters: fat quarters, fat eighths, 2-inch squares for watercolor quilts, 5 (or 6)-inch squares.

Tiny picture frames or small albums, cute buttons or charms, purse-size calendars, post-it notes and gel pens.

Betty Hechtman said...

Wow, so many ideas. I have just given away bookmarks.

I remember the cupcakes from last Malice, Krista. They were fabulous

Esme said...

For me bookmarks-I also love themed spatulas-or other fun kitchen gadgets. gift cards are always fun. Of course chocolate always works also.

Krista said...

Wow, so many comments and such great ideas!

Dru, the pastry brush is so clever!

Oh, Sheila! I love those little screwdrivers that open toys and battery compartments. Hmm. Wonder if I could find some!

Signlady, I'm with you on winning a trip to a conference. Maybe I'll suggest that to the Malice organizers.

Monica, I like hats, too! And you have such a wonderful collection of them!

Thanks, Stephen. You're the second person to mention blog talk radio to me recently. Has anyone here done it yet?

Trek, I keep forgetting about recipe cards. Great idea!

Pamela, a little notebook! So simple and it would work for a lot of different themes. You're so right. I'm always looking for something to jot info on.

Mare, I have to say that I'm surprised so many people like the idea of nail polish. I was afraid it would be a dud.

Janel, you're so right -- glitter is always fun! Hmm, stamps, maybe? Joanna, have you tried that?

Hi Linda! I made a kitty basket of Mochie's favorite things for last year's Malice. I have to admit that I'm a total sucker for cute dog and cat ornaments. The only bumper sticker I have says WOOF!

Caitlyn, this has to be the most innovative idea yet! Paint chips!

Melissa, I think all of us love cozies like you do!

Beth, I'm itching to see their answers. We had such fun with Lesa's award at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen!

Signlady, you're so clever. Cookie cutters. Wouldn't they be cute with a pastry brush?

Hi Betty! I hope I'll see you at Malice again. I had such fun with the cupcakes last year. Ate a few too many, too. ; )

Cheryl B said...

For me, I like receiving books (even gently used books, they don't have to be new!), gift cards (Amazon, B&N, Borders, Starbucks, Bath & Body Works). I read many of these hobby books, but I am NOT a quilter or a great cook or even good at any of the hobbies I like to read about! I think there are many who read the books like me who enjoy reading about the subject but aren't necessary into it as a hobby.

Promotional products said...

Thanks, Krista, for making us and nail polish is a cute idea