Careful of Shiny Objects Without Substance

Woman holding shiny objects

I had an interesting experience this past week that I want to share with you. It will be helpful as you consider all the things you can do to market your book.

I received a rather large package in the mail, which surprised me as I wasn’t expecting anything. “Maybe a late Christmas present,” I thought, which would be nice.

The mailing box itself was branded with the company name and logo, and the box inside was branded with the book title. I opened it and was wowed right away. It came from an author who had come up with a new and unique way of getting someone’s attention, no doubt about it. When you lifted the lid, which opened like a cigar box, meaning one edge stayed attached to the box itself, there was a video screen on the cover and up popped a video which began playing immediately. (I can only imagine what it costs to produce and mail this thing.)

It was the author of the book contained in the box with a message directed right at the viewer. The video started with a hook in the form of a question.

I am purposely not including the author or the title of the book here because promoting it here is not the reason for this post’s topic, and while it was impressive, it was confusing and didn’t influence me to take any action – except perhaps writing this. I think knowing why would be valuable for you as you consider doing any new marketing and publicity techniques.

Here are the pros and cons to this method of getting attention for one’s book:


The video of the author speaking directly into the camera ran for 2 minutes and 45 seconds and was very well done. Not only the video presentation, but the way the author presented herself.

A lot of thought went into the presentation – way beyond anything I have seen before as far as grabbing someone’s attention for a book, and I have seen a lot in the years I have been doing this.

It got my attention. No doubt about it.


Remember the fundamental “must dos’ when presenting anything? Don’t let the glitz and glitter get in the way of what works.

No pitch letter: There was a card that said I mattered, although it wasn’t customized. She sent this to anyone who was on her list without anything specific to anyone.

In the video itself there was a call to action asking if I would share the book’s message with others. “That’s why I need your help. Would you be willing to share my book’s message?”

Vague: There wasn’t a specific pitch to me. I didn’t know what she wanted me to do. Did she want to be a guest on the Something You Should Know podcast that I produce? Or did she want to talk about my representing her as her publicist? Was she asking me to share on social media or in my weekly Savvy Sunday News? I didn’t know.

Ask: Whatever you are doing regarding book marketing and publicity, you still have to ask. Whatever it is you want, you still have to ask for it. Do you want an interview? Do you want me to promote it on social media? Are you asking for representation? What do you want?

Next: You still need to write a great book. No amount of glitz will hide it if the book isn’t well done. The one I received looks nice in terms of formatting and design, but the meat of it is mediocre. And by mediocre, I simply mean the topic has been covered to death. The uniqueness – other than the look of the package–simply wasn’t there.

Careful: You still need to make sure you’re sending to the right media.

I had planned this week to talk more about organizing and planning your book publicity and marketing for the year, but when this arrived I had to make a decision. I decided this was a big opportunity to share with you that if you’re wowed by the fancy glitter stuff, that’s fine. It could work for you, but . . .

Bottom line:

No matter what happens in the future regarding technology or shiny new objects, you still need to do the fundamentals, which include:

  • Writing a great book.
  • Stating how you’re unique.
  • Including a cover letter – or something that lets the media person you’re speaking to them.
  • Asking for what you want.

To your success!


P.S. Being glamorous is wonderful. Paying attention to the fundamentals, critical.


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