Pub Rants

A Rather Unique Promotional Idea

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STATUS: Like a dork, I’m totally dancing around the office while Chutney barks with happiness. It’s the end of the work day on Friday after all.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? FLASH DANCE by Irene Cara

Doreen Orion is a local author that I met thanks to Bella Stander. The three of us and John Elder Robison all went out to dinner before her book released.

Her memoir QUEEN OF THE ROAD: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own hit shelves back in June.

Anyone crazy enough to test their marriage by living in a tin box 24/7 for a whole year just might have some interesting promotional ideas.

And sure enough, she does. So check out this idea from Doreen and in her own words.

If you go to my homepage, you’ll see a red box on my book for a sweepstakes. To enter (for great prizes), people have to watch 3 of my video trailers and answer questions based on them. I purposely tried to make the questions funny and in the tone of the book, since the objective, of course, is to generate interest in QUEEN OF THE ROAD (hopefully, the trailers themselves do that, as well).

My fabulous web designer, Steve Bennett at came up with the sweepstakes idea and also designed it. He works with someone who submits to sweepstakes sites. The sweepstakes sites then post the link to my homepage. From there, people can enter. (I did it this way, rather than a direct link to my sweeps so people also get a feel for what the book is like from the home page.) Steve says the prizes need to be substantial, like in the few hundred dollar range. However, an author doesn’t even necessarily need to pay for the prizes on her own, but can get corporate donors. (Celestial Seasonings picked my book as their June/July book club pick, and they’ve been wonderful, so it was easy for me to ask them, but I bet authors can make connections with their own local companies). You’ll notice that when the entry is completed, there is a blurb about the book which includes some of the great reviews it’s gotten (my idea – why waste the space?).

The day after my sweeps launched (August 22nd), my web traffic quintupled. My Amazon ranking went way down. The book is currently in 6th printing after only 3 months out. (THAT’s not just due to the sweeps, as I’ve been doing a lot of radio, and had great book reviews. Just thought I’d throw that in.)

Let me know if you have any questions about this. I truly believe this is a unique way to get thousands of people to view author videos who are already net savvy. And, it seems to be working for me.

Happy Friday!

10 Responses

  1. Moth said:

    Hello Agent Kristin,

    I don’t know if you have seen this yet but I was wondering if, since it was for a good cause and it has to do with writing/publishing (and so many aspiring authors frequent your site), if you would put the link up to Moonrat’s raffle for her friend with cancer.

    Here’s what Editorial Ass said:

    “Recently, a friend of mine was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma. She is only 28 and is fighting back hard, but her valor is frustrated by the fact that she has no insurance. Medicaid will be kicking in for her in about a month, but in the meantime there are some hurdles that nothing will help her get over but money.

    Of course, there are lots of benefits and pots for me to throw money in. Alas… I work in publishing and have no money. I was bemoaning this to my darling Ello, and she thought of this fantastic idea: I should raffle off my editorial services. So that’s what we’re going to try here.

    Raffle for editorial services!!

    Prizes available:

    -One winner: A full manuscript evaluation (up to 120,000 words)*
    -One winner: A partial manuscript evaluation (up to 50 page)*
    -One winner: A query letter and revised query letter critique*
    -Five winners: A choice from select titles in Moonrat’s library, which will be mailed with a love letter from Moonrat, who enjoys writing love letters
    I’ve started this new, temporary blog to host a raffle for my friend. You can buy tickets, check the log, and see how much progress has been made on each of the raffled lots here.”

    This is the link to the raffle site if you wanted to take a look:


  2. Rock and Roll Mama said:

    Very cool! What a great idea. I love the idea of a sweepstakes to drive traffic… I’ve been seeing this book everywhere, and definitely want to read it.
    And dinner with Mr. Robison and Ms. Stander at the same time would be so much fun…I had the pleasure of spending some time with them at Backspace, and found them to be amazing, and both so knowledgeable about publishing.

    Another new promotional thing that caught my eye this week is Karen Dionne’s (also of Backspace fame!) online launch party.

    It’s very well done, and has video blurbs from the likes of Lee Child…can’t go wrong there. Thanks for all you do!

  3. Marian said:

    There are so many ways to promote books these days that it’s good to read about specifics on what the promotion achieved. It’s especially important for the event or contest to generate book sales – blog hits or website hits aren’t enough if the sales don’t go up. Thanks for posting this!

  4. Kimberly J. Smith said:

    Along the lines of Moth’s comment… and this blog posting, sort of, would love to hear your thoughts, Kristin, on the Harper Collins “Beat the Slush” concept that is Authonomy. it’s an interesting way to weed through all the submissions, but from an agent point of view, if someone has had success on that site, how does it affect your opinion of salability?

    As always, love PubRants!