Publicity Stunts

No author aims for obscurity. After all, an author or book that is hidden from the public view won’t sell.


On the other hand, some authors are really good at grabbing attention and the public eye. Take, for example, Jaimal Yogis, author of The Fear Project.

Jaimal recently swam 2.4 miles in the chilly San Francisco Bay, the entire length of the Bay Bridge between Yerba Buena Island and the Embarcadero, to his book signing. Yep, you heard that right. After swimming, Jaimal climbed out of the water and signed books at the Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building.

I don’t know how many people showed up to his book signing, but I am sure more people came then would have if he had not pulled this publicity stunt. After all, the stunt caught the attention of the media, which is what every author wants.

Consider what you can do for publicity next time you are arranging a book signing. Don’t just show up and sign. Think of something that ties into your book to attract attention. Swimming 2.4 miles in the ocean may not be your thing, but maybe you could ride in on a motorcycle, or host a demonstration, or bring costumed characters with you.

Your publicity stunt may not be as big as Jaimal Yogis’, but don’t let that stop you. Get creative and come up with some type of attention grabber for your next book signing event!

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Smart Book Publicity Stunts

Authors and publishers vying for attention in an ever more crowded book-selling environment are resorting to some interesting tactics to promote their books.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in California and author of The Purpose Driven Life has penned a new book, The Hope You Need. This book is scheduled to be released November 17, 2009 by Zondervan. To gain pre-release attention for his new book,  Pastor Warren announced via Twitter to his 43,342 followers that they could design the cover for his new book.simple-design-wins-rick-warren-s-book-cover-contest

The open design contest for the book cover was hosted on Zondervan offered a prize of $5,000 for the winning book design. Over 3,500 book cover designs were submitted. That’s a lot of publicity for and acquired vested interest in a new book.  The winning design chosen for the book cover is clean, simple, and straightforward.

Thomas Horn, author of Apollyon Rising 2012: The Lost Symbol Found and the Final Mystery of the Great Seal Revealed, recently announced a contest with a $10,000 prize and a mysterious artifact. Horn’s book will be released by Anomalos Publishing later this year. Horn partnered with to raise his contest prize money.

Horn claims that Dan Brown did not reveal the true “Lost Symbol” with his new book. He will reveal the true “Lost Symbol” with the contest for his book. Contestants will have to solve a series of eleven clues over eleven weeks beginning on November 9, 2009 to find the “Lost Symbol.” The rules for the contest are listed at

Running a large-prize contest for eleven weeks prior to the release of his book is sure to hook many readers into purchasing Horn’s book. Each contestant will be intrigued and want to learn more about the “Lost Symbol” at the end of the contest; ensuring readers for the book.

Recently, Don Miller, a best-selling Thomas Nelson author hid manuscripts of his soon-to-be released book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, in tour stops and other cities across the country. Each day, Thomas Nelson sent out messages via Twitter and Facebook with information on the location of 2 of the 60 “bootleg” copies of the book. Each person who found a copy of the manuscript was given Don Miller’s cell phone number to call and talk with him.

Did you notice the common link in each of these publicity stunts? The author and publishers focused on using social media and the Internet to spread the word and hook readers into participating in their contest.

Consider a publicity stunt for the release of your next book. You will attract readers even before your book hits the streets.

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