Get Creative About Getting Attention!

The "IPPY" Awards, launched in 1996, are designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving but often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. Established as the first awards program open exclusively to independents, more than 1,500 "IPPYs" have been awarded to authors and publishers around the world. The recently completed 2006 Awards recognized Ten Outstanding Books of the Year in categories such as Most Inspirational to Youth and Most Likely To Save the Planet, and a winner and two finalists in 60 categories covering fiction and non-fiction. New this year, special Regional Awards in eight U.S. and two Canadian regions were awarded, for Best Fiction and Best Non-Fiction Book in each region.


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The IPPY Effect IV - Turn Over Every Marketing Rock

A series of articles about book awards and how they can help you promote and sell more books.

They’re turning over every marketing rock. Current and past IPPY Award recipients find that by exploring a wide range of book promotion ideas that can inspire every author, they’re boosting book sales.

When will other people or organizations want to promote your book almost as much as you do? When promoting your book furthers their interests and goals, too. Two of this year’s winners who’ve marshaled the efforts of others have found some eager allies:

- Betty Barsha Hedenberg, who self-published her late son Jonathan Schwartz’s 2006 IPPY-winning poetry collection, From the Dark Side, is contacting the symphonies and other music organizations that Jonathan, also a Julliard-educated French horn virtuoso, played with in order to coordinate pitching articles to the press.

- Emmy award-winning investigative journalist Kristina Borjesson, who won the 2005 Current Events IPPY Award for Into the Buzzsaw, and then did it again in 2006 for Feet the Fire, is networking with supportive librarians who are spreading the word about her books. “I never realized how powerful a group they are,” says Borjesson. “They’re the natural allies of journalists; they’re the guardians of the free-flow of information.” And now those guardian librarians are becoming her promotional guardian angels.

Authors have always given away promotional freebies, from copies of their books to buttons, bookmarks, t-shirts and the like.

- Gerard Jones has taken this to an extreme. He’s produced an unabridged MP3 audio version of his 2005 IPPY-winning 1960s coming-of-age memoir, Ginny Good, complete with musical soundtrack that feature hits from the ‘40s through the ‘70s. Jones reads the book himself. Never one to follow a traditional route, Jones isn’t selling the audio, he’s giving it away. Click here to find out more.

Authors are always reminded to talk up their books wherever they go, and sometimes they may not realize how powerful that practice can be.

- Betty Auchard, whose witty and poignant memoir of widowhood, Dancing in My Nightgown, was a 2005 IPPY Finalist, was on a plane and certainly never thought she was in a promotional situation. But, one casual mention of her book to flight attendant changed all that. Word of Betty’s book spread throughout the plane. If she’d had 100 books under her seat and in the overhead compartment she could’ve had an impromptu book signing.

There was so much interest that she thinks that many of the passengers who came over to talk to her ordered her book from when they reached their destinations.

Numerous authors and publishers have gotten coverage about their award-winning status in their local newspapers -– communities love to hear about and celebrate their cultural heroes. Believe it or not, that’s you.

- The North Bay Nugget in North Bay, Ontario, featured their columnist, local author Patty Fedeli, who won this year’s Humor award. “I’m flattered as all get out,” said Fedeli in the article. She was apparently embarrassed by the attention – claiming it was her husband that entered her book in the first place. “The Award has given me more credibility in my home town than I actually merit,” she quipped.

- “Marriage of words and images results in national book award,” reads the headline in the Honolulu Star Bulletin article about Where Are My Slippers? From Banana Patch Press, a 2006 Children’s Picture Book Finalist.

When contacting the press, don’t stop with local and national media, let the whole world know about your book. And, yes, editors, reporters, and readers in far flung places will care.

- Amy Racina, avid hiker and author of Angels in the Wilderness (Elite Books), her true-life adventure story about falling 60 feet into a ravine and shattering both legs, used the Jenkins Group Targeted Media Publicity Program to reach the worldwide media. Her near-fatal accident occurred in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, but none other than the London Times contacted her, intrigued by her tale of chance rescue and physical and spiritual recovery.

Here’s your big kick in the butt: There are no limits to your imagination – at least there shouldn’t be, because, after all, you’re a writer – so there are no limits to the promotional ideas you can come up with. Too bad there are limits to carry-on luggage, or the next time you get on a plane, you could bring 100 books on board.

See previous “IPPY Effect” articles:

The IPPY Effect
The IPPY Effect II
The IPPY Effect III

Nina L. Diamond is a journalist, essayist, and the author of Voices of Truth: Conversations with Scientists, Thinkers & Healers. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Omni, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and The Miami Herald.

Ms. Diamond was a writer and performer on Pandemonium, the National Public Radio (NPR) satirical humor program, for its entire run in Miami and select markets nationwide from 1984-1998. As an editor, she works frequently with other authors and journalists on both fiction and non-fiction.