Think Outside the Book

Cheryl Kaye Tardif, author of Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention is my guest blogger today. She says:

I am a “Shameless Promoter”. In fact, I enjoy promoting my novels and helping others learn to do so, and I speak at writers’ conferences on this topic. I am even known as “Shameless Promoter” amongst my peers and many in the book industry, and it’s a name I wear proudly. As an author, promoting my books is my #1 responsibility after writing them. I partner with my publishers and distributors, and that’s the way authors need to see this-as a partnership. Now, enough of me. 

Most authors, when faced with the daunting task of promoting their books, think of the most obvious ways–book signings and via their website. I’ve discovered that it’s crucial to the basic survival of an author to “think outside the book!” We’ve all heard the phrase “think outside the box.” This simply means: “Be creative!” Don’t get stuck in a small rut of small activities that lead to small results. 

Dreaming big has led me to much success. And it can for you too! 

My motto for years has been “Dare to Dream…and Dream Big!” And I tell people, “If that doesn’t work, Dream BIGGER!” I’ve been a published novelist since 2003, and all of my novels have gone on to be bestsellers on Amazon in the US and Canada . They’ve also attracted a lot of film success. Why? Because I thought “outside of the book”. 

In 2006, I partnered with a screenwriter and we wrote the screenplay for my critically acclaimed novel Whale Song. This led to writing a movie treatment. I had never thought I’d be writing either, but as soon as I pursued this, opportunity knocked. A film producer in Canada wanted to see the screenplay. While he eventually turned it down, this experience taught me that I must see further than a book on a store shelf. Frankly, that used to be my dream-seeing my books in bookstores. I’ve now come to realize that the real dream is to see those books MOVE off those shelves and into the hands of avid readers. 

So how do you reach the multitudes and market your books to them? 

Think outside…okay, you should have it by now. Instead of thinking “bookstores” as your main market, think “consumers”. You want to reach your readers, those wonderful people who will become fans of your work and email you every time they read one of your books. So go where the readers are! 

You’ll find booklovers on MySpace, Facebook, Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, AuthorsDen, AuthorNation, NothingBinding,TextNovel, Chapters Online Community and hundreds of other websites. 

What do you do once you’re a member of these sites? Network, make friends and shamelessly promote your work without being pushy. Being genuine is far better, and if you’re like me you’ll enjoy making new friends. For more information on how authors can use online social networks, please check out my 5-part article on exactly that: 

How Can Authors Use Online Social Networks? 

How else can you “think outside the box”? 

Have you contacted your local book clubs? What about nonprofit organizations? Maybe you could partner with them and help them raise funds by donating a portion of your proceeds. Could you benefit from a corporate sponsor? What about trade shows, special events and library talks? And have you held a virtual book tour (VBT). I have a step-by-step plan on how to organize one at: Authors Tour the World with Virtual Book Tours

Have you checked out your local hospital gift shops, specialty gift shops?

You can learn more about me an my novels (Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention) by visiting my website and official blog:

9 Responses to “Think Outside the Book”

  1. Cheryl Kaye Tardif Says:

    Thank you so much, Pat, for allowing me to be a guest on your blog. I really enjoyed writing this piece!


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Cheryl, thank you for letting me post it! You have gathered a lot of great material to help authors promote themselves, and I’m pleased you agreed to share it.

  2. eBookGuru Says:

    I work with a lot of eBook authors. Along with the Social Networks – video and audio can also be a great promotional tool. Creaitng a book trailer, or a podcasted version of one of your works can help to build a fan base.

    I could actually go on and on about this particular topic, but I don’t want to spam your comment section.


  3. Anne Krist Says:

    Cheryl this was great to read. When I wrote my first e-book six years ago (as Dee S. Knight) I didn’t know what a loop was. Once I found them, I had no idea how to use them to best advantage. Consequently, I spent a great deal of time “looping” instead of writing. I’m still not very good at promotion, but I am trying to think outside the box more. Thanks for inspiring me to keep on.

    Pat, thanks for having Cheryl as a guest!

  4. Cheryl Kaye Tardif Says:

    eBook Guru,
    I agree–video and audio are huge assets to marketing. People like visuals, and they love the drama or information gained through audio as well.

    I know what you mean about being able to go on and on. 🙂 I talk about book marketing at writers’ conferences in Canada and the US, and no matter how long my session is there is never enough time to say everything I want to. lol

    Book marketing strategies must evolve with the times and technologies available. There are some great things in store for booklovers in 2009 and beyond! And that is exciting!


  5. Cheryl Kaye Tardif Says:

    Anne, thank you for your comments, although I have to say, I have never heard the term “looping” used in book marketing. At least not in Canada or the US. Where are you from? And can you explain what this is? Unless of course you mean “networking”…? You’ve got me stumped! 😉 lol

    Regardless, I am always happy to inspire someone to keep on track. “Dare to dream…and Dream BIG!”


  6. ~Sia~ Says:

    Thank you Pat for having Cheryl and Cheryl for taking the time.

    I’ve always been one to think outside the box–I used to get into so much trouble with it too, lolol! I’m great in business for finding ‘creative solutions’–another word for thinking outside the box. Ideas are easy, follow-through is less so. But I like your style, Cheryl, for promotion. So many feel that their books just need to be on the shelf and someone will magically pick them up and start an avalanche of interest all the way to the NYT Best sellers list. Well, they ARE dreaming big, just not quite in the way you were suggesting.

    “As an author, promoting my books is my #1 responsibility after writing them. ” Absolutely.

    Thank you for sharing with us your experience and information you’ve learned. You’re the type of writer I admire.

    ~Sia McKye~

  7. Cheryl Kaye Tardif Says:

    Thank you so much, Sia. 🙂

    And yes, those with creative minds can get into trouble every now and then. 😉 Just look at what’s been going on with my Craig Ferguson Campaign!

    As for books on a bookstore shelf–it’s a nice dream. It IS rewarding to walk into a store and see them sitting there. But I want them to move off those shelves and out the door in the hands of an eager reader. So bookstores are only one part of my mission.

    Many thanks for your comments! Dream BIG!

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif

  8. Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif is “Finding Bliss” on her iPhone 3G « Bertram’s Blog Says:

    […] I was a guest blogger on Book Marketing Floozy and I talked about how authors have to “think outside the book”. Sometimes a book can be marketed even before it has been published, and once in a while even […]

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