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Use the big guys for inspiration

The cover and title (Inferno) of Dan Brown’s new book were revealed this morning on NBC‘s “Today Show” through a Twitter contest.

Show watchers were encouraged to tweet their guess for Brown’s next book title using the #DanBrownToday hashtag. As tweets came in, each tweeter’s profile pic became part of a mosaic depicting the cover (see above). Very cool. Lucky Dan Brown.

This morning’s show also promoted “Kathie Lee & Hoda” co-host Hoda Kotb’s new book,  Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives, which was released today. Nice platform for a book launch, eh?

We can do more than dream — we can act!

Most of us  don’t get the kind of massive publisher support that Brown and Kotb get because we aren’t mega-sellers already and we’re not major network talk show hosts. We can only dream of this kind of book launch support. But . . . we can learn from the big guys, too, implementing similar tactics in our own way, in our own real worlds.

Random House can partner with “Today” because Brown has such a huge fan base, but hey, you have a fan base, too, right? You’ve probably been smart enough to be using Twitter long enough to have followers — even if it’s 214 of them, not 2.14 million (shocking reveal: @AuthorDanBrown has just 1,148 Twitter followers and seven tweets).

If you haven’t joined Twitter yet, it’s never too late to start. A contest will help you get followers.

You might not have access to the whizbang HyperActivate technology that “Today” used to slowly reveal Brown’s book’s cover, but you can host a Twitter contest. Give away copies of your book to people who follow you and re-tweet a specific message or use a designated hashtag. Learn more about how to do it in “How to host a book contest.”

Leverage your platform just like Hoda did

Kotb’s platform is “Today;” what’s yours? You can tap into your resources, connections, and fan base to launch your book, too. You might have more leverage than you think. Here are four things just about any author can do today to take advantage of your connections and your connections’ connections:

  1. Approach your contacts in the local media. If you don’t know anybody at the local newspapers or radio and TV stations, ask your friends if they have connections who might help you open doors.
  2. Contact bloggers you know who reach your book’s target audience. Ask them to host a stop on your virtual book tour.
  3. Use crowdsourcing. Ask your Twitter followers and Facebook friends to introduce you to appropriate reporters and bloggers in their networks.
  4. Ask everyone who interviews you for referrals. It’s as easy as saying, “I really enjoyed talking to you about this. Do you have any colleagues you think might be interested in hearing about this topic, too?”

You have access to the same resources as the “big guys.” You might not be able to use them in the same way, and you might not get the same results, but you will still get results. Watch what the high-profile authors do and apply some of their tactics to your own campaign. You won’t be sorry.

What famous author’s activities have inspired any element of your book publicity and promotion campaign?

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