Friday, September 24, 2010

Unusual Holiday Book Marketing Ideas by J. Aday Kennedy

What is there more kindly than the feeling between host and guest? -Aeschylus

I am happy to host J. Aday Kennedy today. She’s here with some great book marketing ideas, but first I’d like to tell you a little more about her.

J. Aday Kennedy, the differently-abled writer, is a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic making her dreams come true a story at a time. As a speaker, Aday entertains, instructs, motivates and inspires audiences of all ages. By focusing on what she CAN do instead of CAN’T, she sets and pursues her goals diligently. She surrounds herself with family, friends and positivity in Texas, the friendly state. Her picture books are humorous, reluctant reader friendly and character building. To learn more about her and her writing, visit her website at

Holiday Book Marketing

Have you noticed there are times of the year you have difficulty selling books? A calendar can help solve that problem. How? There is a holiday for the strangest celebrations. These holidays can be used to market your book.

The best time to utilize the calendar is before you have written a single word. Take your character and start giving it likes, and dislikes based on holiday celebrations. Here are a few examples.

In January it is difficult to promote and sell books, because Christmas put a strain on your prospect’s finances. Rubber Duckie Day is Jan 13, so give your character a rubber duck collection. That is an odd detail in a character’s makeup, especially an adult, but it gives them an interesting personality quirk and you have reason to promote your book in January.

Not only do you have reason to promote, but you have opened the door to an unusual setting for a book signing; a store that specializes in bath products or a large store with a section devoted to bathrooms. One of the benefits of selling books at a “non-bookstore” is that your book is not competing with other books. Your book has no direct competition.

Another tie to your character’s collection is that January is Bath Safety month and Bubble Bath Day is the 8th. Create a drawing/contest to collect names for a prospect mailing list. Fill a bag or basket with bath items (The dollar store can provide some inexpensive items.) The larger the prize, the longer you can draw out the contest. Contact radio stations, newspapers, and other media. The radio station will publicize the contest on air and provide you with free advertising for the length of your contest.

Does your main character design clothes for animals as a hobby or career? National Dress Up Your Pet Day is January 14. Schedule a book signing at a dog groomer, veterinarian’s office, pet store, animal shelter or pet supply store. Offer a discount to patrons that bring photos or take a photo at your signing with their dressed pet. For every certain number of animals that get adopted, offer a gift. (Have a sign up and draw names.)

***You can tie your book to holidays that do not seem to have a direct link. Find reasons to promote your book in every month.

February is Library Lovers Month. Offer to hold a book signing or reading session for free at a library. Provide a discount to every library card holder old or new. Donate a portion of each book sold to the library. You can make bookmarks encouraging children to read. Design a contest/scavenger hunt. All the answers can be found in the various resources the library offers.

*** When you offer a prize make sure it promotes your book, you or your services. Baseball caps, T shirts, pens, buttons, etc… You have created good will and a walking and talking advertisement.

March is National Middle School Month. How can you celebrate and promote your work? Schedule an author school visit at a middle school and create a time capsule for the class and make fun questionnaires for them to fill out. Then select the date with the teacher to open the capsule. (The last day of school [if done near the beginning of the year] date of middle school graduation, junior high graduation or high school graduation or a different date that looms in the future.) Donate a copy of your book to the classroom/school you visit. Go to Vista Print and make a promotional item (T shirt, coffee mug, baseball cap, sticky note pad) with a picture of the main character of your book with a slogan about middle school. You could have a contest for the entire middle school. The class with the best theme room wins a pizza party from your main character or a party with your main character’s favorite food.

At the party you can attend with chances for more prizes to be won. You’ve achieved a few things. Excitement about you and your book; incredible photo opportunity [all of those classrooms decorated with your book as the subject]; and a newsworthy event for the local media.

April is the month to celebrate April Fools Day. Visit a local joke shop. You can look online, as well. Collect a bunch of practical jokes and make a basket or joke bag. Run a trivia quiz contest. All of the answers can be found on your website or links to your online publications. Structure the questions and answers to promote you, your services or products. “The Joke Bag/Basket” is the prize.

No matter what time of year it is, there is a holiday to be celebrated. Put on your marketing hat. The more creative you are the more it will put an indelible mark in people’s minds. Each time you are mentioned in the news your reputation will grow and hearty anticipation for your next event will proliferate. Search for holidays on the web and plan a year of marketing your books and services.

Thank you for all the wonderful ideas Aday. My protagonist, Barbie Anderson, loves bubble baths, so I’m definitely marking January 8th on my calendar. I’d also like to mention that Chase’s Calendar of Events is a good source for finding unusual holidays that may not appear on the average calendar.

In Aday’s book, Klutzy Kantor, everyday Kantor Pegasus practices solving riddles. A tricky leprechaun attempts to outsmart him by giving him a next to impossible riddle to solve. To end his clumsy ways he must solve it. Children learn the benefit of practice and to focus on their strengths. Klutzy Kantor (ISBN-10: 978-1616330511 ISBN-13: 978-1616330514) is a 24 page picture book published in April 2010, by Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. You can buy the book from Amazon here.

Aday has also contributed five essays to four Chicken Soup for the Soul books: December 2007, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Celebrating Nurses, "Optimistic Light;” March 2008, Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms, "The Evolution;" March 2008, Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul: "The Man of My Dreams;" March 2008, Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul: "Some Children are Special;" and April 2010, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad, "A Real Dad."

Please feel free to leave comments and questions for Aday.

Tomorrow Gary Murning is featuring author, Katie Hines. I hope you have the opportunity to visit.

Thank you all for stopping by today. Have a wonderful weekend. I hope to see you on Monday.

, book marketing, holiday book marketing ideas, Chase’s Calendar of Events, J. Aday Kennedy, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Klutzy Kantor,


Natasha said...

Jane, thank you for hosting Aday.

And Aday, I am really impressed by the effort you put into marketing your books. Fantastic idea they are.

And I am definitely picking up your book for my kids- sounds like something they would like (and I would like for them to like)

Joanne said...

Thanks Jane and Aday for a wonderful way to think about marketing. It's amazing how a little extra thought and research can make a book stand out. Lots of great opportunities in that calendar, most definitely!

Magdalena Ball said...

That's an excellent suggestion, Aday, limited only by whatever formal calendar you can get hold of. I imagine that there are plenty of celebration 'days' around the world - one for each day probably and enough for at least 365 innovative promotional ideas a year (I don't know who comes up with these days -- National Talk Like a Pirate day has definitely taken hold of my household). Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if booking a signing at a bookstor in January may work. People are returning or trading in book gifts from Christmas they don't want. And people have gift card as presents they want to spend.

Stephen Tremp

Nancy Famolari said...

Excellent suggestions for book marketing. I will definitely try some. Book marketing is really tough. I guess even the pros think so!

Janet Ann Collins said...

What helpful ideas! It's so nice when authors help others succeed.

Arlee Bird said...

Great guest post! And some really great ideas.

Creative marketing is the result of a bit of research, creative thinking, and making connections.

Your calendar idea is one excellent approach. Everyday is new day, but it also has a connection with something. If the marketer keeps a broad mental spectrum those connections become easier to make. Even if a book only has ten words there are at least ten connections that can be make for starters.

Is there a national "the" day? How about "Article Appreciation Day"?

Tossing It Out

Martha said...

I love the suggestions. Such creative marketing. I'm definetly going to incoporate some of them into my marketing strategies.

Darcia Helle said...

Thanks for sharing this, Jane and Aday. I love the calendar promotion idea! I need to put that to use.

Aday, you are always an inspiration.

Helen Ginger said...

Fabulous ideas. Any writer could get a calendar with obscure and not-so-obscure holidays and find ways to promote. Great post.

Debra Eckerling said...

I love this post. Thanks for the fabulous ideas.

I regularly look at Chase's Calendar of Events when I am coming up with my Purple Pencil Adventures for Young Adult Writers!

Rubber Duckies rock and so do you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

J Aday keeps on top of this stuff! Thanks, now I have some new ideas.

Donna McDine said...


Your marketing tips and holiday suggestions are outstanding! Thanks for all the wonderful info!

Warm regards,

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm glad everyone is enjoying my calendar ideas. On my blog I review books, interview authors, and brainstorm marketing ideas for each book I review. If you write for children or nonfiction books for writers, I'm always looking for content.
FYI - I'm teaching a workshop at the Muse Online Writer's Conference If you're registered (registration's closed this year), sign up for my week long forum. If you are not registered, I'm toying with starting to have classes to teach writers& illustrators to create their own marketing calendar.
Aday Kennedy

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Rayna, I think her ideas are terrific, too. I hope your kids enjoy her book.

Joanne, I wish I could take some credit for Aday’s clever ideas, but I’d never thought about using such unusual ‘holidays’ for book promotions.

Magdalena, I bet you’re right – that there are at least 365 innovative promotional ideas every year. National Talk Like a Pirate Day is another one I haven’t heard of but like the idea of it.

Stephen, I did a book signing in January and actually did better than I did at one before Christmas. I found before Christmas people were stressed and focused on just running in to get whatever was on their list and running out again.

Nancy, I think the more books that are out there, the harder it is to get one noticed. That’s why I think Aday’s ideas are so helpful.

Janet, I agree with you 100 percent!

Lee, if there isn’t a national “the” day or article appreciation day, maybe you could start one!)

Martha, I thought they were excellent suggestions, too.

Darcia, I can see lots of possibilities in your books – there’s bound to be a Hair Stylist Appreciation day somewhere on the calendar.

Helen, it seems like such a logical idea to me…now.

Debra, I agree that Rubber Duckies rock!

Diane, I think Aday’s ideas have inspired us all today.

Donna, you said it perfectly - her tips and suggestions are outstanding!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Aday, it's been a pleasure hosting you today. Thanks so much for sharing your terrific ideas.

Mason Canyon said...

Jane, thank you for hosting Aday and introducing me to another great 'new to me' author.

Aday, I love the various promotion ideas. Your book sounds wonderful too. Wishing you much success.

Thoughts in Progress

Unknown said...

Fantastic Aday! I think my favorites are bubble bath day, and dress up your pet day. In fact, since one of my books coming out soon has a squirrel with cool clothes on, I just might do a reading at an animal shelter and take photos of dressed pets with my squirrel puppet.

Thanks, ladies.

I've read "Kluty Kantor"-it's great!!

Karen Cioffi said...

Aday, you have terrific marketing strategies. Breaking them down into seasons and reasons related to the calendar. Thanks for sharing them.

Dallas said...

What a timely post and great marketing ideas! Thanks Jane and J.Aday!

Heidiwriter said...

Super ideas, Aday! This is wonderful. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Aday, what fabulous ideas! Thank you so much for sharing them. I'm headed to pull out my calendar for my own books :)

Christina Rodriguez said...

Glad I found this - These are some really great ideas! Love the rubber ducky idea to handle that really difficult marketing time in January.

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world