Get swaggy with it

What’s swag? Merriam-Webster says it’s “Not just the swag that refers to free promotional items given to attendees, but also the swag that refers to stylish confidence. It’s likely that the sense of swag which means “loot” comes from a term thieves used to describe stolen goods.”

For authors, “swag” can mean anything from your book cover to bookmarks to free downloads.

In a guest post by Dawn Reno Langley on Jane Friedman’s blog, she writes:

Any kind of material used to market your book is considered swag—including little giveaway items that remind readers of your work. Book swag comes in many shapes and sizes, ranging from the basic paper bookmark to personalized bottles of expensive champagne. Some readers collect magnets that depict book cover art. Crafters design keychains featuring book covers or author photographs. Collectors treasure the subject-specific book swag, such as personalized candles, jewelry, or handbags.

In the OSV book world, swag can be your book cover used to tease readers on your author or Facebook page, or a webcast, or a freemium download of a sample chapter.

Dawn has GREAT advice and idea, so take a few minutes and read the entire post here.

If you want to talk swag with us, let us know!

Introducing freemiums

By Raven Johnson, consumer marketing specialist

freemiumsstackedlinesWhen OSV first started offering free downloads based on our books — which we call “freemiums” — the strategy was mainly focused on drawing in new book customers. As we learned from these first efforts, we were able to refine our offerings in a way that made a bigger impact on sales, while still acquiring new names for our consumer list.

Our new freemium model focuses on a “try it before you buy it” idea. We work with authors and members of our editorial and book acquisition teams to come up with extra content that we use to create our free downloads. Having these free options allows consumers to get a feel for what the book will be like before actually buying it. Offering something free also shows readers our priorities it really isn’t all about sales. It’s about helping people know, live and love their faith.

We promote all our freemiums to our growing consumer email list, and on our social media platforms. Freemiums are also a great tool for authors to use too! To check out all our free downloads, just click here.

Have an idea for a free download that goes along with your book? Just let us know! Email Polly at

Thinking of podcasting?

podcastpngSeems like everyone is talking about, listening too or planning a podcast. Why not you? It’s another avenue to share your expertise and reach readers. Visit for a primer on getting started in podcasting. Lots of good advice!

Check out some Catholic podcasts:


Book trailers:New marketing tool

From Alyssa Sanchez:

Our Sunday Visitor has recently incorporated book trailers into our marketing efforts. These videos are used to extend our outreach across different forms of media and help to offer potential readers an insightful look into the book.

We often use these videos our social media platform (check out a sample on the Author Toolkit Facebook page), as internet advertisements, and in our email promotions to our growing consumer list. From quick snippets of the author or other vivid imagery shot by our marketing team, each video can help better reflect the themes of each of our books.

You can view all our book trailers on our YouTube channel.

Have ideas for a trailer for your book? Let us know!

Alyssa Sanchezis a multimedia marketing specialist for OSV.

Me, start an email newsletter?


OSV Author Platform eNewsletter

How many email newsletters (enewsletters) do you get? Maybe you feel as if you get too  many and just hit delete on a lot of them — or even unsubcribe.


But what about the ones you really like?

Email is still the #1 way companies — and authors — communicate with their customers and readers. And it can be a very personal way of connecting.

If you don’t have any experience with sending enewsletters, never fear. There are tools to manage the  creating and sending part, and  we have hints to assist with the content part.

  1. Decide on an email management system (EMS). We’ve used and recommend Constant Contact, but there are others. Find some here (most have free options).
  2. Have a prominent “Subscribe here” button on your web site. The EMS you choose will have instructions for this. Your email list will be managed through the system you choose (unsubscribes, bounces etc.)
  3. Decide on your email template (there will be lots to choose from; simpler is better).
  4. Decide on your email frequency (once a month is great to start out).
  5. Create and send your first newsletter!

What should your enewsletter say? Great question. Some suggestions:

  1. Content from your blog, if you have one. Include an excerpt and link to a full post.
  2. Update on what you’re working on. Don’t give away the farm, but let your readers and prospective readers know how it’s going. One author I know uses a spreadsheet to keep track of his progress, and includes a screenshot of it.
  3. Excerpt from an earlier book, if you have one, with a link to purchase from OSV, Amazon, B&N.
  4. Have you spotted your book on a bookstore shelf? Great place to take a selfie and include in your enewsletter. Invite your readers to send you their “sightings” and “shelfies.”
  5. Any upcoming events like talks, webcasts, book signings or guest columns or articles.
  6. What you’re reading, or is on your “to be read” list, or your favorite author’s latest book.
  7. Links to your social media — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
  8. A short reflection or prayer that you use before writing.
  9. Reflection on a saint or Bible verse that has helped you on your writing journey.
  10. Be sure to include an email address.
  11. Something fun you’ve read/done/want to do, or somewhere you’ve traveled.

Need more help?  Read this post from Writer’s Digest … this post from Medium … Jane Friedman has a post here …  and Think Writter has ideas here.


Goodreads and you

(from the May 2018 newsletter)


Are you a member of Goodreads? If you are, you know that it’s THE place for readers to connect with other readers, share the books they’re reading and find great recommendations for new ones.

It’s also an excellent place for authors to connect with readers. Goodreads has an Author Program you can join for free. If you already have an account and a published (or soon-to-be-published) book, you just need to sign in, search for your book and “claim” it by clicking on your author name, then the “Is this you? Let us know!” link (towards the bottom of the page), and follow the instructions. (If you don’t have an account, it’s easy to sign up. Just click here.)

Once you are verified as the author (you’ll get an email from Goodreads), your author profile will include the official Goodreads author badge and readers will be able to “follow” you.

Goodreads has a helpful Authors & Advertisers Blog with author profiles, Goodreads news, book marketing advice and interviews with publishing experts.

Now, you’ll be able to:

  • Take questions from readers
  • Write reviews of other books
  • Update your profile picture
  • Connect your web site or blog
  • Advertise your books
  • Promote your books by running a giveaway

Click here for the how-to instructions. You can follow Goodreads on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, too. Let us know how you’re using Goodreads to grow your audience!


What is Goodreads?

GOODREADSGoodreads is GOOD — for finding new reading material, following friends’ bookshelves, keeping track of your own reading — and for promoting your book(s).

If you don’t have a Goodreads account, it’s easy to join, or you can log in with your Amazon account. You’ll find reading suggestions, you’ll be able to connect with your contacts who are members already,  and you can build a community around your own work.

How? This blog post on the Goodreads website will get you started. You’ll find advice on filling your own online bookshelf, engaging with readers, how to mention your own book in comments, how to connect with reviewers, and more.

Let us know how you are using Goodreads to engage with your readers!

And be sure to follow Goodreads on Facebook and other social media.


How about some free book marketing help?

Our friend Rob Eagar, well-known book marketing expert who’s been helping authors with their marketing platforms through his company, Wildfire Marketing, since 2006, has three free ebooks for authors:
Find Readers and Sell Books on a Shoestring Budget
Mastering Book Hooks for Authors
The Ultimate Book Marketing Plan Template for Authors

Just visit here, enter your email, and download the free ebooks.

Rob also has a free enewsletter and other resources for authors on his website

Rob Eagar ebooks

Visit to download



OSV author webcast how-to


Connecting with your readers is important, and interviews, radio and TV shows, and podcasts are good ways to do so.

At OSV, we also use our popular webcast (also called webinar) format to allow authors to present their books and areas of expertise, and answer readers’ questions.

What’s a webcast? Simply put, it’s a live, online meeting using web-hosted software like Webex, GoTo Meeting, or ON24 (which OSV uses). Webcasts combine audio (computer or conference call), video,  Powerpoint presentations and chat rooms (for questions and comments).

Tracy Stewart

Tracy Stewart, webinar coordinator

If you’re asked to participate in an OSV author webcast, no worries! Our webcast coordinator and moderator Tracy Stewart will walk you though the process in advance of the event and answer any questions you have.

Tracy has put together a webcast video (what else!) on how our webcasts work. Visit here to login, and watch the nine-minute presentation. (It’s archived, so ignore the message that says the webcast has ended.)

Questions? Email Tracy at

Our upcoming webcasts are listed here. Be sure to register to check them out and see how they work!

Share and share alike.


Share and share alike.

Here’s a link to a great infographic to help you determine the best sizes for graphics to create shareable posts on social media. Compelling photos, videos, stories, or links can spread across social media rapidly, increasing your exposure. One idea is to take quotes from your book and create graphic images to post. There are several sites online that offer a free way to combine cool images with your own quotes, but you can also use any photo editing application you have on your computer or tablet. Have you tried this? Let us know how it worked, and any tips you have you can share!