Sunday, December 4, 2011

How to Creatively Promote while on Vacation and During the Holidays

How Just a Little Initiative Can Make Things Happen

Case Study #1: While on a Caribbean cruise two weeks ago, we stopped at Belize, which just happens to be the site of my latest book “The Montezuma Secret.” When we went ashore, we stopped at an art gallery where a TV camera crew was filming award-winning paintings for that evening’s newscast. My boyfriend went up to the reporter and said “She wrote a book about Belize.” The reporter’s interest perked up and he came over and talked to me where I explained about how “The Montezuma Secret” had been set in Belize, was available on and and how it had received Five Star Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. His interest perked up further. He congratulated me on giving him a new angle for the story and agreed to interview me. We went outside, where there was a lovely backdrop of the river and sailboats behind me and he asked me about how I decided to set the book in Belize. I explained that it was a beautiful exotic place that I always wanted to visit and how I wished I had more time to stay in the country other than the short cruise ship stop. I also explained that “The Montezuma Secret” was about a search for Montezuma’s lost gold which has never been found, although rumors abounded that the gold might have been moved to neighboring Guatemala. I added that I fictionalized moving the gold to Belize because I had wanted to set a story there. The interview was set to air that night on local TV. Moral of the story: You never know when a good promotional opportunity will come along so keep your eyes open, be gutsy and be prepared!

Case Study #2: I live in a small quaint village in Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee, which celebrates every holiday with verve and panache—thousands of tiny lights, hay rides, craft fairs, horse-drawn sleigh rides at Christmas, you name it, they’ve thought of it. All of these events are very well attended, drawing thousands of people from Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs as well as neighboring Illinois. While visiting the downtown area this past October, I happened to notice a poster on one of the charming little shops promoting someone’s book for the upcoming annual “Hay Days” celebration. I went inside and talked to the clerk, who told me it was her book and said the owner had graciously agreed to let her promote it inside her shop during “Hay Days.” I asked her how I could participate in future events. She told me to contact the village and noted that everyone had been very helpful to local vendors, artists, and authors. I contacted the village via their website, but heard nothing back. (There were several different websites, one for the shops and business, one for the village itself and I wasn’t sure which one was the correct venue.) After two attempts and still hearing nothing back, I contacted the mayor directly. He was kind enough to give me a return phone call and advised me to contact the manager of all the local businesses, which I did. The manager told me to contact one of the shop owners to act as a sponsor for a future event: “Dickens of a Christmas,” “Valentine’s Day,” etc. I am in the process of doing that and hope to be a participant in the next Valentine’s Day event as a great tie-in for a local romance author. Moral of the story: If at first you don’t’ succeed, try, try again!
What’s your favorite promotional story?
Next week: How to Make a Cheap, Quick and Easy Book Trailer