Hold a celebratory contest. This could be a celebration of just about anything from a new book deal, to a pub date to even the completion of revisions. Put together a package of things to give away, like trinkets themed to your book,, manuscript critiques, bookmarks, baked goods (make sure you label them with the ingredients…no reason for the peanut-allergic to die for your success!) or free copies of your books. You could even ask your friends to contribute items for giveaway, since this would be a way for them to benefit from cross promotion. You could ask readers to submit a photo of themselves and your book (which would require access to your book) or you could simply have them submit a name and email address. You could even get creative and ask them to tweet an answer to a question or prompt and choose the tweet you like best as a winner. To enter, require that participants tweet your contest, follow you on Twitter, follow your blog, friend you on Facebook, or all of the above and more. This way, you’re celebrating and creating enthusiasm and buzz while also expanding your network.
Another variation on a contest is to hold a scavenger hunt right within your book. Come up with a list of trivia from your book, and using Twitter, your own blog, or others’ blogs if they let you, offer something great to the reader who can answer all the trivia questions first! Of course, you’ll want to ensure that people tweet, write a Facebook post or blog post about the contest in order to submit their answers. Just have them provide a link to their tweet or post with their answers.
If you’re celebrating a publication date, visit all the bookstores in your area and offer to sign their stock of your book. The bookstore manager will love it, since he’s more likely to sell the books and he can call attention to them with signs or stickers that say, “Signed copy!” and you’ll love it for exactly the same reason! You could even let the bookstores know that you’ll be signing in advance so that they can advertise that.
Start a blog tour. You can either put yourself on tour, or host others at your own blog. Either way, you’ll raise awareness of your brand and your work.
Write a short story. Then, to celebrate a new pub date, book deal, or what-have-you, give it away to the next 1,000 (or whatever number you like) people who follow you on Twitter, like your Facebook fan page or follow your blog. You can do this with first chapters too, if your publisher allows that.
If you have a character who is already known and loved (because you’re writing a series) and if this character has a specific key possession, piece of clothing, baking recipe, etc., you could buy or make something identical to that and then auction it off for money and then give that money away to a charity that has a huge marketing base they can tell about your good deed.
Hold a virtual scavenger hunt blog tour and give away something big to the winner. This takes some work, but it will also cross-promote your friends. Here’s how to do it:
Make a blog list of all your author and publishing friends who blog and are willing to participate.
On each day of the scavenger hunt, pose a trivia question (maybe about you, your characters, your genre, etc.) and then have all the other participating bloggers post a clue of some sort. These clues could be hints, or each blogger could post a single letter in the answer to the question you posed. Scavenger hunters will need to collect the letters and unscramble them to arrive at the answer and then submit the answer to you via email. You could even further promote it by requiring participants make themselves eligible to enter their answer, by submitting a link to a tweet or post about the hunt. This is a fun idea that BookEnds used to do around the holidays and it’s useful because it ensures that each participant’s blog is seen and that each participating blogger’s audience now becomes yours!
Lauren Ruth started her publishing career as an intern at Simon & Schuster's Touchstone/Fireside imprint while earning her B.A. in English language and literature from Pace University. Shortly thereafter, she completed her second internship at BookEnds, where she fell in love with the literary agency side of the publishing industry. In February 2011, she joined BookEnds as a full-time literary assistant, and very soon after began to build her own client list. She will soon have her master's degree in book publishing. In fiction, Lauren is looking for: romance—all genres; literary fiction; commercial fiction, especially up-market; middle-grade—all subgenres; young adult—all subgenres; mystery, with a strong focus on cozies; and women's fiction, particularly literary. On the nonfiction side, she's looking for memoir, parenting and family, relationships, food and lifestyle, business, popular science, popular culture, and popular psychology.
Lauren blogs at www.slushpiletales.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter at @_LaurenRuth_.
You can contact Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org