The Speaking Secret—Book Buzz, Part 8

It wasn’t until much later in the day, well after I posted yesterday’s recommendation of this week’s CFBA selection, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide 2008, that I remembered I had promis implied I would pass along the Great Secret of speaking to create book buzz.

First, I probably (definitely?) overstated its effectiveness. Plus, it only reaches a certain segment of the population, and therefore is limited in its role. In fact, many writers will flat out dismiss the idea as completely unhelpful.

However, for fantasy writers—and you DO remember I’m a fantasy writer, yes?—I think this speaking secret can serve to ignite book buzz.

It’s not gonna sound dramatic, mind you, or earth shattering. It’s not even a “how” secret, but a “where.”

(Are ya ready? Did I pique your interest, even a little? Build a morsel of suspense?)

Herald’s trumpet, please:


Yep, colleges. For YA fantasy or for adult fantasy alike.

Apart from the fact that university-age people came into reading on the broom of Harry Potter, if you target Christian liberal arts colleges or universities or even Bible colleges, you will probably be speaking to an audience gathered from all over the United States or even the world. Should your story be the kind that engages readers, these readers will return to their states of origin on the holidays, with your book in tow. Now, with no extra effort on your part, you can have copies scattered abroad.

Of course, this isn’t automatic. You’ll have to put that suggestion before your audience. Maybe even make it a challenge. And granted, you’ll have to break through to some very busy people, but again, this can be a challenge—like the “I dare you, eat just one potato chip” kind of marketing.

I’d even like to try a guarantee (one of the publishers put such a guarantee in their book): “If you don’t like it, mail it back and I’ll refund your money, BUT, if you do like it, tell ten other people.” Something like that.

As I was thinking about this idea, I was even wondering if college bookstores might not be willing to host book signings. I mean, they get great business just before the new semester, but what about during the months in between? Wouldn’t a book signing be an event college students would enjoy, especially if there was free food on the way out. “Come in, listen to the reading, pick up a ticket for a slice of pizza or a doughnut and coffee that you can claim on your way out.”

The point is, be creative. Think of untapped places to speak. Think of ways to draw people in. Think of people who can draw other people in. And don’t forget about the fun. 😀

Published in: on January 18, 2008 at 11:44 am  Comments (3)  
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  1. A college book store! Wonderful idea! I wouldn’t have thought of that. Many college students read a lot of SF&F, and college bookstores may be open to moving out in a similar way as their commercial brethren with respect to book signings. It is, after all, a competitive market out there.
    Good idea!


  2. Michael, I hope even one author considers this as an option. I don’t know for certain it would be popular, but I wish I could find out. 🙂 Someday, perhaps. If God wills it.



  3. I would also suggest getting several authors together to do a panel discussion at the College book store. Talk on a topic that would draw a wide audience like how Christians can get published. Field questions on any topic asked. Promote the event at least a month in advance with fliers, an article or two in the college newspaper, advance radio interviews if there is a station at the campus and whatever else you can think of to promote the event. Hold drawings to give away books, artwork, etc. at the event. Let people know where you’ll be eating afterward and let them join you.

    Every time I’ve been involved with an event like this the house was packed, standing room only kind of events. At some, people even had to be turned away.


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