For Authors: What kind of promotion works best for you? What was the most unusual book promotion you ever did?

For Readers: What kind of book promotion interests you enough to make you look for a book or purchase a book?

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I promoted my book by giving away five copies over a five week period in a random drawing. That seems to have gotten a lot of attention, and now I have a (small) fan base. Next year, I plan to run in a race which will be held in the town where my book is set, so I hope that will help get it some attention as well.
Good reviews! As many as possible! In big papers.

Not having had the luxury of heavy promotion by my publishers, I have to rely on the quality of my books.
As a reader and a reviewer the kind of book promotion that interests me is enough information not only about the book but also the author. Attending local bookshops also helps and making sure that where you are going to be is widely known.
Getting reviews in big papers can be impossible for someone published by a small independent press--like I am. I mainly get reviews from online reviewers and readers who post on DorothyL. I gave away four books to DorothyL-ers. I requested reviews from all the online reviewers I've used in the past and sent them books. I'm also doing a virtual book tour in October.

My book launch was highly successful, held in Crescent City where part of Kindred Spirits takes place. Two luncheons were held in a Victoria Bed and Breakfast (Ana Wulf House), tickets were $25 apiece and everyone received a book and had it autographed by me and Junie Mattice--the Tolowa woman who inspired two characters in the book and was the primary resource for the information about the Tolowa people, their history and legends. We both gave talks which everyone seemed to enjoy. The following night we both went to the library and spoke--and some of the same people attended.

I gave a full set of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series to the Crescent City Library.
I gave a contest on a cozy list where I gave the book away to people who promised to donate to their library after reading. It was in connection with a discussion on the book. That was fun. Don't know how helpful, but fun.
I don't know if it's unusual but I received a lot of positive responses to it. I created invitation size note cards of all my book covers. I did a watermark of them for the cover and on the back added a short blurb and my website. Then I bought invitation size envelopes and bundled them up in little groups with craft taffa? I'm sure I spelled that wrong but it looks like straw rope.

Post cards are good too because they're also useful.

Debbie
Because I also write kids' mysteries like Gang O Kids, I link writing workshops, on location, with the same name as my book. I have 'sleuth' dossiers at the front of my book, and I encourage students to create their own local 'sleuth' character modelled on the questions/data which are linked to my characters' illustrations. Currently Templeton Primary , an Australian school , has the 'Easy Over' Lost School Turtle mystery which is being translated into Chinese and swapped with the International School in Nanjing, China, who are also writing their mystery story modelled on my book.Highvale Primary has fictional sleuths called Hi and Vale who solve a mystery in the school grounds around the real wildlife sanctuary. They have also modelled their local mystery on my Gang O Kids. O stands for orienteering. Multiple copies are bought in connection with writing workshops because by linking sport, observation skills and non violent mysteries,Educators have an ongoing interest in the series. Gigs on my website (www.hazeledwards.com) indicate where workshops are held, as well as teacher notes and curriculum links so this is another form of PR, longterm. If a book is set on a course, then there are continuing orders and this is valuable for a small publisher like Omotivo who are really an orienteering sports supplier. Turning one book into a series, means the same amount of pr for multiple titles, once fans are established.I also encourage students to review Gang O Kids and am putting those up on my site. Offering discussion notes is a way of value adding to your book and publicising it long term by word of mouth.
I have a special discount at book signings -- if they buy 3 of my 4 books in the Appalachian Adventures series, they get a 10% discount and a "church fan" with my latest cover. Of course, that works best in hot weather.
I never throw out a bookmark. They hang around my house for years, long after all other little pieces of paper are gone, and sometimes long after the books have been passed to the next readers. Bookmarks keep the author's name in front of the reader, even when used in a totally unrelated book.

Some interesting comments here. I live in England and my crime novels featuring DI Horton are set on the South Coast of England (Portsmouth). One of my most unusual book promotions/launches was a marathon book signing event all day on the Isle of Wight Ferry as it travelled back and forth from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. It's about six miles across the water and my local independent bookshop set up a mobile bookshop on board and I signed copies and chatted to the passengers. I have done this twice and it is a great way of selling books and finding new readers. Wightlink Ferries were delighted to help as it was good PR for them too and it generated a lot of media coverage. My crime novels are all set around the sea so it was highly appropriate. Other than that I print a bookmark showing jacket covers of my current five books with a link to my blog and e mail address, and give these away wherever I can and do all the other things mentioned here, book signings, reviews, viral marketing and I get on the radio as much as possible.
I'm smack-dab in the middle of an online book launch party for my debut thriller, FREEZING POINT. Entertainment includes video welcomes from thriller authors David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, James Rollins, and Douglas Preston, a reading by a professional voice actress who's also a New York Times author, stand-up comedy from J.A. Konrath, a cameo appearance by Lee Child, and more. There are door prizes: a boxed set of the BBC's "Planet Earth" series on DVD, bottles of genuine iceberg water, and Penguin Gear from my publisher (the book's set in Antarctica - penguins/Penguin - get it?). And because a book launch party wouldn't be complete without, well, books, two independent booksellers are making signed copies available.

So far, it's going really well - the party website has had over 1,600 visitors in a little over 24 hours from 16 countries and 210 people have signed the guest book. Good thing I don't have to feed them all!
Karen,
I took a look at your online book launch party website. What a great idea! Now I have a question. How'd you get the other authors to participate?
- Beth

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