Pub Rants

Jana’s Best Promo Tool

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STATUS: It’s already 6 p.m. and I’m ready to head home. I did lots of phone conferences today. All good stuff but when you take several hours to do that, it doesn’t let you tackle the piles of paperwork (and if you ask me why our ‘paper-free’ office has piles of paper, I might have to strangle you).

What’s playing on the iPod right now? CLEANING WINDOWS by Van Morrison

So here’s a different tactic. We’ve been talking about public appearance stuff for the last two days and this one puts a different spin on the whole promotion thing.

Jana DeLeon is the author of RUMBLE ON THE BAYOU that came out last year. She says that her best promo tool was a “before release” item.

She sent Dorchester (her publisher) these alligator bottle opener necklaces. Now this makes sense when you see her cover.

The sales force loved them, got excited, asked for more, and then took them on all their sales calls to the buyers.

Their enthusiasm translated to higher book orders for the initial sell-in and Jana ended up with a higher initial print run then what tends to be normal for a debut.

I’d say that’s putting an alligator to good work—and she didn’t even have to speak in public!

Now her next novel is called UNLUCKY. I’m thinking broken compact mirrors aren’t the way to go…

21 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:


    I love “Cleaning Windows” By Van the Man.

    And great tie in with the alligators, when did she know her cover to think about getting a tie-in.

    terri p

  2. Jana DeLeon said:

    terri – I had my cover six months or so before release, but since I am branding myself as a “Louisiana” author, I selected the alligator as my mascot. The necklaces are in Mardi Gras colors and I had a rubber stamp made with my website. My wonderful mom stamped all those little necklaces and everyone is amazed that I didn’t pay a fortune to have something custom printed.

    Now, the hard part is topping that one with something for UNLUCKY. 🙂

  3. The Bims said:

    Well, maybe broken mirrors won’t work, but you could try something opposite, like lucky things – faux fur rabbits feet, 4-leaf clover things, scracth off lotto tickets (I think they have games with “lucky” in the title)… if all else fails, and you really want to stick with “unlucky” – there are always live black cats. Nothing gets attention like opening a fedex with a furry little animal inside. 😉

  4. Anonymous said:

    “So here’s a different tact.”

    I know it’s tactless of me to say so, but the word you’re looking for is “tack.”

  5. Liz Wolfe said:

    I have one of Jana’s alligator bottle openers. I got it from her at the RT convention where Jana and I talked for several minutes before we realized we’d known each other from an online forum for years. Jana, if you decide to go with the live black cat thing, I have one I’ll give you.

  6. Kimber An said:

    I vote for the compact mirror with your website stamped on the back. I think you can get a good deal on them at Oriental Trading Company.

    I also have to say you’ve scored on the book cover again! Geez, you’re lucky! (ironically enough) Isn’t there a rule about each author getting at least one awful book cover?

  7. B.E. Sanderson said:

    I think something with a little four-leaf clover would be awesome for Unlucky. Or a little stuffed animal black cat. =o)

    Awesome idea for a promo. So many of those things, in every industry, fall flat.

  8. Jana DeLeon said:

    Fantastic ideas – all of you! It’s been fun reading everyone’s thoughts. I think I’ll pass on the black cat idea, although stuffed ones……..hmmmmmmm.

    (note to self – google oriental trading company)

  9. bran fan said:

    So….how does one go about giving these things to the sales force? Do you send a big package to the publisher and include a note “for the sales people?” Do you track down their names and mail to each one individually? Do you visit your publisher and give them in person? And when the sales force gets these promo items, how do they link them up with your book? I mean, they have so many debut authors, they don’t know you from Adam, so when they get this cool bottle opener, do they instantly say, “Oh, this is a wonderful gift from that wonderful new author we have, and it ties into her book so well.” Or do they just look at each other and go “WTF?” until they read the enclosed letter telling them what it’s all about?

    …I am soooo clueless. But I am trying to learn. Can you help?

  10. Jana DeLeon said:

    bran – you send promo stuff to your editor. She/He takes it to sales and says how cool it is…sales agrees…asks for some…and takes them out to buyers. At least that’s how it happened for me. I do everything through my editor, but other writers and other houses may work differently.

  11. bran fan said:

    Oh, I get it. That helps.

    I’m guessing that not just any knicknack will do. It must be something clever and the cool factor must be very high.

    How many of the bottle openers did you prepare for give-aways?

    Thanks for the info. Everyone here is so great with helping us newbies learn.

  12. Vicki said:

    I like the compact idea as well. You could make it appear to that it’s broken.

    I also like the black cat (not the live one). Pictured like you see them at halloween.

  13. Jana DeLeon said:

    bran – I am not quite sure on the count, but I think it was somewhere around 500.

    vicki – too funny. I already researched personalized compacts and I’m going to find stickers that look like a crack! I’ve had the compacts flagged in a dealer book for almost two years now just waiting for the right book to get them for. Too fun.