An all-expense paid trip! A book character named after you! These were the prizes WestBow Press gave to the reader who most successfully promoted the newest installment of their Women of Faith fiction series. Details and publicity suggestions to help readers promote Alaska Twilight, a suspense novel by Colleen Coble, were made available at the author’s web site (www.colleencoble.com).
Creative? In book publishing, yes—but in the television business, it is a well-known strategy. Coble´s publicist adapted another medium´s campaign. Instead of a TV appearance, she offered volunteer publicists a novelty: the opportunity to appear as a character in a Christian novel.
Creative publicity strategies are approaches that differ from or add a new twist to popular or traditional promotional campaigns. You can come up with new ways to publicize your books too. You do not have to inherit a bent for creativity. If you think you are not the creative type, perhaps the following steps can help.
Would you like a cup of tea?
Some say creativity is completely spontaneous, with no rules or guidelines. Others say it is a matter of focus. I say creativity is like the process of brewing tea.
White, Green, Oolong or Black?
What tea do you prefer to drink? Why? There are lists that rank the oxidation of tea leaves from zero to maximum. Your criteria for choosing tea might be different, but the key is: do you know what you like about that tea? Do you know your book? Have you explored the pages to catch topics or themes that may be used as marketing tools? Little details lead to big ideas. What angles can you explore in your product?
Good tea undergoes steeping. Creativity requires a period of incubation. Let the quest for ideas brew in your mind. You do not have to think about your creative issue 24/7. In fact, performing unrelated tasks can help. As you shop, go for a walk, or do other things, be on the lookout for ideas to inform your product marketing. Jot down your thoughts.
Expect periods of mental blankness. Do not be frustrated. In due time, there will be a creative flash or a gradual insight.
Bear this in mind, the mesh of deadlines, budget, marketing goals and cultural norms has a way of reshaping and reforming creativity to make your ruminations more pragmatic and successful. Welcome them!
Lemon, sugar, milk, honey, herbs, fruit jams or tapioca? There are no set rules on what you can add to enhance the flavor of your tea.
Incentive programs bring in customers. It helps to see what others are doing – radio programs, supermarket handouts, video stores, dry cleaners, or pizza shops. Look at other cultures and industries. Go into the Web. Creativity begets creativity, and the Web has plenty of examples that you can tailor to your publicity plans.
How about tea and ginger or cinnamon? Perhaps you can pair up your book with another item; a Bible and a devotional in one package might sell better than just the devotional alone.
It is delightful to behold a tea tray with a variety of finger foods: scones, sweets or petite sandwiches. In book publicity, you do not need just one big idea. You can have several creative campaigns. For example, if possible offer a selection of authors on a particular subject. A book on prayer by one author might appeal to one reader, but not to another. Each book might require its own creative tweak.
Not everyone drinks tea. You will have critics of your creative publicity strategies. That is the nature of doing something different, not necessarily new. Do not expect success immediately. Not all concepts will work. The C in creativity stands for courage.
This article was published in the Interlit Magazine on September 2006. Interlit is an international quarterly print magazine distributed globally to publishers and printing corporations. Interlit was published by Cook Communications Ministries International based in Colorado Springs, Colorado USA