by Trish Milburn
I've been in this writing business long enough and gone to enough writer conferences to have seen the typical kinds of book promotion a zillion times. I've picked up countless bookmarks, pens and magnetic calendars from authors who hope these items will increase their book sales and name recognition. Now that I have a release date for my first book, I'm beginning to think of ways to hawk my own work without having to take out a second mortgage or lose my sanity. But I want something new, creative, unique. That got me to thinking about what book promotion efforts I've seen before that impressed me, and I wondered if these types of things interested readers as well. Here's a sampling.
1. It seems that more and more authors have book trailers now, but the problem is that so many of them are utterly forgettable or look cheap and cheesy. Here are some, however, that I thought were well done. Each author has done a great job of making them memorable, in a good way.
Jessica Brody's The Fidelity Files
Jody Wallace's A Spell for Susannah
Anne Mallory's What Isabella Desires
Diana Holquist's Sexiest Man Alive
2. Everybody loves to win contests. Just look at all the happy winners of items from the Banditas. We, as readers and writers in the romance genre, are used to giveaways of books, ARCs and the like, but if you really want to make a splash, why not give away something big? Kelley St. John has given away vacations to the beach in the past, and her current contest is a $500 Spa Giveaway Package. I like Kelley's giveaway ideas so much that I'm mulling trying to do something along the same lines but connected to the setting in my book somehow.
3. Book signings are a staple form of promotion, but I've heard lots of authors say they're a waste of time. And from the reader's point of view, they might not have time to go to the book signing or they might feel pressured to buy a book they might not otherwise want, particularly if it's a multi-author book signing. If an author goes the book signing route, however, why not think outside the bookstore box? Janice Lynn once held a very successful book signing at her local Curves.
4. Readers love to get that little something extra, kind of like the extra material that is included on most DVDs now. If you can give them that something extra while also getting another benefit for yourself, all the better. Esri Rose took this approach while trying to build her mailing list ahead of her first book's debut in May. She sent out an e-mail to everyone she new, offering to write a short story set in her book's universe when her e-mail list reached 50 subscribers. Click here to see how she promoted it.
So now I want to hear from you, readers and writers alike. (By the way, why do we make that distinction? We writers are big readers too.) As readers, do promotional efforts by authors make any difference in what books you buy? If so, what influences you? Have you seen any spectacular or interesting book promo efforts? What wild and crazy book promo effort would definitely attract your attention and make you lean toward at least looking up an author's book?
And because readers like to win things (grin), I'll be giving away a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble and a mystery book from my overflowing bookshelves to one lucky commenter.