Publishers are in a difficult situation these days. Many authors are self-publishing. Books are available digitally, to be read on a Kindle (or similar device). Websites like lulu and Scribd make it possible to avoid publishing altogether. Advertising is expensive. How to promote a book?
I was pleased to see Delacorte Press launch a simple and elegant promotion. This promo involves passionate fans, builds loyalty and costs very little.
Here is the original post from Diana Gabaldon’s website:
My publisher asked me to post this message:
If you’re here, you’re an Outlander fan. The seventh book in the series, An Echo in the Bone, is coming out 9/22/09 (really!!).
Help us spread the word about this amazing series with FREE copies of Outlander. We all know it’s a book that you tell everyone they have to read, so let’s get more people reading it!
And it’s Outlander as you’ve never seen it before—with a cover just for the uninitiated.
Special Outlander cover
Here’s how it works: We’ll randomly select 100 winners from those who fill out an entry form on or before 7/31/09.
Each winner will be sent a carton with 24 copies of Outlander.
Your mission is to give them away for free: to your friends, family, colleagues, the people you see at the gym, the bus stop, the supermarket. You get it. Hand them one. You know you’ll be giving them an amazing novel, and people love to get free books.
So, the publisher will send 2,400 books out to 100 highly engaged fans – and those fans will have the pleasure of sharing a book that they love with 24 people who are unfamiliar with the series. Making your customers feel like heroes is a great way to engage and build loyalty.
This campaign will be highly successful, I predict. Props to Delacorte for keeping it simple.