Authors Need to Think Outside the Box

Mike Glauser Pedaling to End Poverty

Photo: Mike Glauser. Pedaling to End Poverty

Sometimes an author has to think outside the box when it comes to marketing and publicity. In a noisy, crowded world, what is something you can do to not only stand out but drive interest to your book and your work?

It’s easy to scroll online and think, “Gee, maybe my only choice is to do what I see others doing,” whether that’s getting on BookTok, creating a YouTube channel, or starting a podcast. All these things can be very effective at expanding your reach and influence, but the real question is, “What do you want to do? What do you want to create? And where do you want to spend your time?” because you will have to spend a lot of time doing any one of these things consistently.

I hinted at this last week, but 10 years ago I had the amazing opportunity to promote a book called Main Street Entrepreneur during which the author, Mike Glauser, along with a crew of four biked 4000 miles along the TransAmerica Trail from Florence, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia. Along the way, he interviewed 100 entrepreneurs about their businesses for a documentary film. Here is a sample of that experience in the form of a book trailer. We also created many videos that showed the experience of the actual ride. I’ve shared this one before, but it’s worth sharing again.

Forward 10 years to today and we are doing it again! Mike and his team took off from Florence, Oregon on Monday, June 3, and will arrive in Yorktown, Virginia on July 20th. The media rush is on!

We have a social media team posting, and my role is to set up interviews and get media attention for Mike, his message, and this coast-to-coast bike ride. So far, we have had tons of interest from local media to national journalists and producers who find this kind of story compelling. NPR just did an interview with Mike yesterday, and two more reporters are talking to him today. It takes some planning and logistics given the fact that he is riding his bike! Then when we get the media hits, it allows us to amplify the message on social media, which we are doing every single day. Phew!

Who does this?

Someone who thinks outside the box. Someone who loves to ride. Someone who loves to talk with the media and is willing to set up an event to make it happen.

All this to simply say that there are unique ways to do book promotion. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. In fact, all you need to do is to come up with one strategy that works for you and then go all in. It takes planning, of course, but you know how to do that.

Start by asking yourself some simple questions, such as:

What do I love to do? What would be fun? How can I bring many of my strengths to the table?

Now, if you don’t like shooting video, then creating content on BookTok isn’t the best option for you. Do you love to write? Not every author does, by the way, so I like to ask. If you love to write then maybe a blog is the best way for you to go. Put your wonderful energy into creating one and finding ways to expand your reach.

There is plenty you can do online, but there is a lot that can be done offline too. In fact, here are some ideas that can get you out and about in your community promoting your book and your message:

Book signings. Yes, I am well aware of the variety of opinions around book signings, much of it negative. However, they aren’t always about trying to get tons of people in a store to meet you. Sometimes the pay off is in how they promote you to their email list of customers. It’s also a great way to help the staff get to know you and promote your book when a customer comes in asking about your particular subject. It can also be a great way to do an on-the-ground book launch by having friends and co-workers show up and buy your book. It’s a celebration of you! After all, you wrote and published a book. This is a big deal!

Speaking engagements. Offer to speak at school, universities, conferences, and community groups. These can act like marketing opportunities until you develop a talk that will actually get you paid. Then you can set up some paid gigs. If you already have experience speaking, then start with paid gigs.

Local business partners. You can partner with local businesses to display your book or host an event for you. What kind of business does it make sense for you to work with on something like this? I have a good friend who bikes all around the world (not Mike, believe it or not, it’s someone else.), and he has bike shops sponsor him. They do this by creating events in their stores and inviting their own customers from their email list, and they even pay for my friend to speak. This helps him to monetize his trips.

Festivals and fairs. Participate in local arts and culture festivals, book fairs, and community events. You can set up a booth or participate in panels and readings. It allows you to meet others who are interested in books, and you just never know who you are going to meet next! It may be the very person who can help you take things to the next level.

These are only a few of the possibilities. Remember to think outside the box. What can you do that would be fun, different, and get others interested in you? Good luck!

To your success!


P.S. And if you ever want to talk about it, you know where to find me. Hit reply or click here.






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