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Unique Book Promotion Ideas

James DeSena

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My question: Any suggestions for unique book promotion techniques specific to speakers?

-- Leslie Charles

The "No Cranky" buttons, stickers, and post it notes, all of which have the web site address, are a big hit -- especially the buttons. We started them at $2.50 each and eventually worked down to a $1 price point -- but nice that people pay a buck to advertise the book. We have T-shirts too, but they haven't been a big seller -- but still -- a nice gift to journalists and clients.

-- Rick Segel

The best advice I could give you is to get some of the old tapes from the NSA Writers PEG meetings at the different conferences. They are a world of information. I also bought a workbook with tapes from a company in Denver called Marketability. It's very good. You will also want to buy John Kremer's book 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. He also has an e-zine, which is also very helpful.

-- Arnold Sanow

My keys for promotion are:

  1. Try to pre-sell the book for every speech.
  2. Make it part of the materials fee.
  3. List it on Amazon.com
  4. Give it to other speakers at a deep discount so they can sell it
  5. Send/give it to CEOs and other decision makers. Suggest that everyone in their company gets it.

-- Larry James

Have an attractive four-color bookmark designed by a graphic artist and print thousands of them. You can give them to everyone who comes in the store. List a few endorsements on it as well as a brief paragraph of what the book is about. Leave your contact information off. Put the price and the ISBN on. Bookstores often have their own bookmarks and are reluctant to have you give yours out if they think their customer is going to you direct. (I use a red rubber stamp to imprint my website address on the reverse side of the bookmarks I give out in the store, but not on the bookmarks I "leave" at the bookstore.)

I often will sign a bookmark for someone who lingers at my table but does not buy my book. Remember your mission: "Spread good will!" Many people will come back to the store and buy your book after you have left. Send the bookstore several hundred bookmarks and suggest that they include them in the bags of people who buy books before your book signing.

-- Jim Donovan

One thing that doubled my BOR sales was to stop my talk and actually do a live commercial. Instead of trying to pitch my books during my presentation (makes the audience feel imposed upon) I flat stop and say, "And now for a commercial interruption . . " I then say, "And now back to our program" People laugh and overall, I sell more books.

Another was to place a book on each table when possible. It gives people a chance to look at the book without the pressure of being in from of the book table. I place a sticker that says "Review copy, please do not remove" on them. (That alone has doubled my sales at talks where there is conference seating.)

-- Julie Ferguson

I use a book promo device that I haven't seen done by anyone else and that is cheap. It capitalizes on people's love of a free gift.

I put a preview of my books, e or print, onto a floppy disc, slap on an illustrated label (I design and print them myself using Avery diskette labels) and give them away. They are grabbed up like hot cakes.

The preview of each book contains:

  • The print flyer first with the short blurb about the book and a short author's bio;
  • The book's cover headed by an invitation to read the preview;
  • Publication data page with the copyright statement;
  • Table of contents;
  • First couple of chapters;
  • Ordering info.

Works like a charm for print and e-books and booklets.

-- Jonathan Dune

I recommend my friend Seth Godin's technique of creating the buzz online with the release of a few free chapters to a specified Web site and a specified opt-in email list. This way you can create an audience for your book. Some writers even release the idea before they actually write the manuscript. This is quite risky but can be also a great way to promote a new work. (I have used this technique successfully myself)

His AD copy (in Fast Company #54 p. 18) shows an email address that promotes the book Survival Is Not Enough. The reader can get a free chapter by sending an opt-in email to freechapter@zoometry.com

Check out Seth's sites and his ideas at:

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