“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well. . . .” – The Little Prince
Hey, the Little Prince (the wise little fellow from the book by Saint-Exupéry) could be describing the World Wide Web.
In that vein, here are some good marketing ideas for your book:
1. Create a Quiz
Individuals and the media enjoy the short, light-hearted book-related quiz. Quizzes are interactive, and by being enjoyable, they present the right marketing image: buy this book and you’ll have a good time.
Love the Twilight books? Want to know which Twilight character you are in the Twilight series? Take the TWILIGHT QUIZ and find out if you’re one of the Cullen coven. Test your personality to see if you’re dazzling Edward Cullen, or romantic Bella Swan.
The questions follow: What is your worst flaw? If you could cast your vote on Bella’s mortality, what would you choose? Complete this sentence, “True love is . . .” (Thank god, it’s multiple choice!)
And so on. A good quiz can engage readers/potential readers in a simple but engaging and thoughtful way. Of course, a quiz is also easily done with many types of nonfiction books.
2. Create a Reader’s Guide
I find plenty of samples of reader’s guides online by visiting author and publisher websites.
Here’s one from a chapter-book novel for young readers (8–12) for a book I worked on, Time of the Eagle, by Stephanie Lowden. This is the outline for the 12-page study guide for classroom teachers. It has discussion questions, activities, and further resources.
Reading and Comprehension
Introduction: A story of a journey
Class Activity: Create a “Story Map”
Discussing the Characters
Discussing the Story Events
Writing Project: What comes next?
Discussing the Themes
Social Studies: Ojibwa History & Culture
Class Activity: Plan a Journey (What 5 Things to Take?)
Study Project: Ojibwe Relationships to Animals
Class Activity: Word Scramble (Ojibwe months of the year)
Study Project: Map Study
Field Trip Opportunities
Classroom Visits by Individuals of Native Heritage
Classroom Visits by the Author
Other Recommended Reading
Two Traditional Stories, by Anne Dunn
Or, if you prefer a shorter approach: here’s a list of discussion questions, an online Reader’s Guide, for a novel of historical fiction. (A discussion guide is different from a quiz in that it’s meant to stimulate group interaction rather than a personal response.)
Reader’s Guide questions for Captain Mary, Buccaneer
Historical fiction from Beagle Bay Book, an indie press.
(The discussion questions follow the plot summary.)
It’s simple to put these kind of discussion questions on your website or in a blog post or two. Later, if you wish to create a handout, or refine the questions after actual use, you’ve got a base to work from.
3. Create a List of Fun Facts
From the website of The Secret Life of Lobsters, by Trevor Corson: Did you know that lobsters . . .
- Live in neighborhoods — and love to remodel their homes?
- Fight constantly — and play a deadly game of chicken called “claw lock”?
- Grow by ripping off their own skeletons — including the lining of their stomachs?
- Employ 20,000 eyes for detecting light — but still have terrible vision?
- Flirt with each other — by urinating in each other’s faces?
- Dance during courtship — and make love in the missionary position?
- Hatch babies called “Superlobsters” — because they can fly underwater?
- Were once despised by humans as junk food?
Did I know . . . lobsters love to remodel? I honestly had no idea. But these Fun Facts definitely made me feel I’d enjoy reading Corson’s book.
How ’bout you and your book? Think of which of these interactive ideas might apply to your project. Brainstorm. Write up a draft. Try it out on several friends. Pick the best stuff (and keep it short). Put a version online, and encourage visitors to your blog or site to explore the quiz, guide, or fun facts.
(If you’ve already done one or seen one you like, send me a link in a comment.)
Write with a light heart. Go for the spirit of play and discovery that makes reading fun. Think of the enjoyment a good book quiz, discussion guide, or list of fun facts can offer your readers.
I suspect the Little Prince would approve.