Launch Party and Swag: What Worked and What Didn’t

Six months before my book launch, I went shopping. I purchased all that I thought I would need to exhibit and sell The Talking Drum at book fairs and other events: ethnic table cloths, miniature djembes, a bowl handwoven by West African women operating micro-businesses. Then the pandemic happened. There would be no in-person events. Everything would be virtual. I tucked away the tablecloths and bowl in my cedar chest, but was able to use the djembes in the background of Zoom chats, like the one pictured above. During some interviews I’ve actually picked up the drums and shown them to participants to explain their design, origins, and methods for playing them. They weren’t merely props.

It has not been an ideal season for using swag for launch parties. But in some instances, swag could work well with a Zoom chat, I’ve made them a welcome feature of my interviews.

Author: Lisa Braxton

Lisa Braxton is an Emmy-nominated former television journalist, an essayist, short story writer, and novelist. Her debut novel, The Talking Drum, is forthcoming from Inanna Publications in spring 2020. She is a fellow of the Kimbilio Fiction Writers Program and a book reviewer for 2040 Review. Her stories and essays have appeared in literary magazines and journals. She received Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest magazine’s 84th and 86th annual writing contests in the inspirational essay category. Her website: