5 Publicity Tips I Learned from Watching the Super Bowl

Sunday, February 12, 2012
Lately, I have been doing publicity for a new book and I have been comparing publicity to the Super Bowl.

Asking people to care about your book is like being in the stands at the Super Bowl and right after a tremendous touchdown play, when the crowd is the loudest, you call out, "Read All About It! Get the latest info on my new book right here! Read All About It!"

Impossible. Right?

But that's about the way of it.

What we all want is to be one of those million-dollar TV ads that will be talked about for days. Or, you want to grab the PA system and make a long announcement over the loud speakers, with the instant replay screen showing your book. All out of my league. But let's carry the Super Bowl analogy further and find 5 tips for book publicity.

1. Wise timing. Time your publicity efforts to times when people are likely to notice what you are doing. Before the game, after the game, half-time--these are times when people are not engrossed in the game itself (or in the game of life) and might pay attention. For book publicity, look for quiet times in your community, when you can make a splash. Try the Summer Reading program at the public library, or a neighbor's book club. These "quiet" places are ideal because you'll capture people's undivided attention.

2. Do a fly-over. (Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brentdanley/2686554055/, modified.)

Notice those planes that fly around the stadium carrying a big banner? What you want is something that makes people look up from their game of life and take notice.

Think about publicity that will allow you to make people look up. A party, a whacky ad, a hilarious book trailer. Make your audience look up from their busy lives.

3. Go with the situation. What entertains people at the Super Bowl. Well, yes, the game and the pageantry. But what else? The Beach Ball. What can you do that will take very little effort, but can be seen from across the stadium? What is the situation you find yourself in and is there something fun and simple to do? A big beach ball with your book info on it, would have been great at the Super Bowl. Maybe, you can do a Facebook quiz that is equally fun and simple.

4. Build your Network. If you are standing at the SuperBowl, and you choose a quiet moment to lean over and tell someone about your book, great. You reached one person. But if you Tweet and ask your friends to tell just one person about your book, how many do you reach? Depends on your Network, or how many people are following you. Start immediately to build that network!

5. Giveaways. There are giveaways and then, there are giveaways. If you stand outside the stadium with a box of books and tell people that if they stop and talk to you, you'll take down their name, then call two people and give them a free book--well, not many takers, right? Giveaways can be effective, though. GoodReads runs a Giveaway program for new titles that can draw as many as 1348 entries. And Amazon is now experimenting with giveaways through their KOLL (Kindle Owner's Lending Library) program and for books enrolled in their Amazon Prime promotion. See what one author has done here and here.

Don't get lost in the noise and hubbub of the Super Bowl. There are better ways to shout out online and offline, "Read all about it."


Darcy Pattison blogs about how-to-write at Fiction Notes.


Sandra Beckwith said...

Great tips -- thanks for sharing!

Sandra Beckwith

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