When John Shors, a longtime PR agency veteran, was preparing for the publishing of his novel, Beneath a Marble Sky, he decided to put his own promotional talents to work for himself.
With a creative idea and a shoestring budget, he managed to garner a big-league level of publicity for himself and his work.
Shors set out to create a grassroots demand for his novel. "I understood that book clubs were incredibly important to the success of a book," he says. "So I definitely wanted to connect with book clubs in a very profound way." He published a letter on the back page of his paperback printing, inviting book clubs to ask him to speak at their meetings - and including his personal e-mail address. It was, to his knowledge, the first time that has ever been done.
Once the book was published, Shors was "inundated with requests." He began holding Q&As with book clubs across the globe, mostly via speakerphone. The upswell of interest led to both word-of-mouth promotion and coverage in the mainstream media.
Over the past six months, Shors has talked to almost 500 book clubs "from Hawaii to Ottawa to Zambia," he says. His quirky promotion landed him on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, NPR, Newsweek, and trade and local media outlets. He credits the campaign with "a significant impact" on the sales of his book, which is already in its sixth printing.
Shors continues to do several phone calls with book clubs each day and is shooting for 1,000 conversations by August. Beneath a Marble Sky is currently being made into a movie.
PR team: John Shors (Lafayette, CO)
Campaign: Promoting the paperback launch of the novel Beneath a Marble Sky
Duration: June 2006-ongoing