Book Promoting: Should We Authors Be Outrageous, Provocative & Original to Become Bestselling?

Whether you're a reader, an author or a publishing insider, I invite you to join in the interesting discussion now brewing about what constitutes good book promotion.

Last weekend, I did what I thought was a fun, humorous, zany, admittedly provocative sandwich-board publicity stunt at BookExpo America, the largest book publishing event in North America.

I first wrote about my unusual promoting here and here and you can read some comments from people here, too.

To summarize, my intentions were:

  • To drum up interest among potential readers in my first book SUGAR SHOCK!;
  • To intrigue people in my upcoming, as-yet-unpublished second book, The Weight-Loss Habits of Highly Successful Losers (working title);
  • To acquaint people like you (my target audience) with my work so they can learn how to break free of their bad habits or what I call "babits™" so that they can lose weight, get energy, boost their libido, become happier, etc.;
  • To garner media attention;
  • To make contacts within and outside the publishing industry, which could lead to a variety of exciting partnerships; and, of course;
  • To build my platform even bigger.

DSC00094 My gimmick at BEA was this: On two days (of the three-day event), I walked around selected places at the Javits Center in New York City wearing a sandwich board that jokingly asked, "Are You `The One?'" (I did so with permission and for a fee.)

The sign also was displayed all weekend long  at my booth.

My sandwich board — which was humorously designed by renowned graphic artist and author Hillary Carlip to look like a single's personal ad — poked fun of the fact that I'm a single woman and an author available to both the right man and publisher.(Incidentally, Hillary — who has done work for Jennifer Anniston — also designed my Gab With the Gurus radio show blog and my new site to promote my upcoming book, The Weight-Loss Habits of Highly Successful Losers.)

BetterHabits_small_for_blog_insert My sign also provocatively stated, "Will put out on first date!!" (Yes, I was embarrassed by this remark, but, of course, I was just joking. What I meant is that I would "put out" information about my next book, The Weight-Loss Habits of Highly Successful Losers; tell you about my first book SUGAR SHOCK! (you can sneak a peek here); and share how I help people break their bad habits or babits™.

Wow! I thought I was just cleverly showing that, in these uncertain economic times and crowded market, authors who want to make a splash need to be what I call "author-preneurs." In other words, to boost our platforms and build interest in our books, we should show initiative, originality and a sense of humor.

At BEA last weekend and afterward, as I sorted through business cards and email addresses of of people I'd met, I thought I'd at least partially succeeded in my goals. My off-the-wall marketing gimmick made lots of people laugh and chuckle. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to meet hundreds of people in the book industry — booksellers, librarians, editors, authors, publishers, etc. — as well as members of the media.

But since BEA, I've taken some flack and had a change to think more about my unusual marketing approach. In particular, my gutsy, guerialla-book promoting, sandwich-board-wearing efforts were criticized first here and then again here by Lynn Price, editorial director of Behler Publications, who writes the Behler Blog.

After Lynn's less-than-flattering remarks about my publicity stunt, I took time to reply — first to her initial post, "Authorpreneurs my stinky foot," and then to her second one, "It's All About the Show." (Incidentally, since then, Lynnn and I also have shared polite, private emails. She's also getting a copy of my book SUGAR SHOCK! in the mail since she was questioning the quality of my writing.)

Now that I've been blasted (or so it feels and) compared to tactless authors, who wear toilet bowls on their heads (ouch!), I'm wondering: Was I wrong to be so provocative, adventurous and and flagrantly innovative  at BEA?

Did I goof bigtime or was I right to walk around wearing an innovative sandwich board, which asked, "Are You `The One?'"

Did my publicity stunt turn off you, my dear readers? Or, if it backfired, who exactly was annoyed by it?

While I hoped my marketing efforts would get attention, I hadn't planned on being getting so much criticism. But of course, I should be prepared for that — obviously, that goes with the territory. If you put yourself out there, you have to be prepared for the consequences. 

Outrageous pr stunts 047004392X But, hey, I'm now willing to learn from the experience. Clearly, I have a lot more to learn about successful book promoting.

While I've attended numerous, great conferences featuring such people as Mark Victor Hansen, Alex Mandossian, Michael Drew and Warren Whitlock, I guess I need more foolproof, innovative marketing ideas.

Obviously, I should continue to pay close attention to such whizzes as Peter Shankman, author of Can We Do That: Outrageous PR Stunts That Work and Why Your Company Needs Them: as well as Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, John Kremer, Shel Israel, Robert Scoble, Arielle Ford and David Meerman Scott.

So, since I always strive to improve, please tell me what you think.

Did you think my sandwich board gimmick at BEA was creative and funny or misguided and stupid? Feel free to be honest.

And what do you think are the best, most clever ways to get the word out about my next book, The Weight-Loss Habits of Highly Successful Losers? (FYI, I already use my blogs, Twitter, Facebook, my radio show and my massive email list.)

What do you think I should do to spread the word about my  next book?

Please don't just tell me to write a good book. I'm hard at work on that. Besides, that's not nearly enough in this economic climate. As mentioned earlier, we authors need to become author-preneurs.

For those of you here who are familiar with SUGAR SHOCK! and this blog, I invite you to become a pivotal VIP Super Friend of my upcoming book. Please visit my new blog,, to learn more about how to spread the word.

And if you're here, because you're struggling with sugar or other unhealthy habits, I invite you to join my four-week Break Free program, which begins tomorrow night.

One thought on “Book Promoting: Should We Authors Be Outrageous, Provocative & Original to Become Bestselling?

  1. I think that anything can work as long as it gets people talking about your book in a good way and the buzz created leads to people actually making a purchase.

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