Tell Us About Your Crazy Book Marketing Ideas

Each month this column will feature another wild, crazy, untried book marketing technique that catches our attention - please, no explosives or poisonous snakes -- and we will chronicle it here. Go crazy!

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Crazy Book Marketing Idea of the Month

How #@%$ Far Will the Indie Author or Publisher Go? This Month: Ruby Lee, the Bee of many marketing possibilitees
Bumble Bee Publishing came to “bee” when over 40 mainstream publishers “swatted down” the proposal for Dawn Matheson’s first book, Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee: A Bee’s Bit Of Wisdom.

Ruby Lee earned several honors including two Benjamin Franklin Awards, a gold medallion at the International Gallery Awards, and was named "Most Outstanding Children's Book" at the Mom's Choice Awards.

The early rejection was a blessing in disguise, because Matheson is a natural-born promoter, and building on the book’s early success, the Ruby Lee franchise grew to include coloring and activity books, games, animated stories, eBooks, audio stories and songs, and a plush toy made by famous toy maker Mary Meyer Toys.

A quick look at the book’s vibrant artwork and upbeat message makes it easy to imagine Bumble Bee’s appeal. Learning about Matheson’s marketing techniques reinforces this notion. Who ever heard of promoting a book by giving away flower seed packets? Under a heading, “A Lesson In Gardening Becomes a Lesson In Life,” the book cover, description and purchase information appears on a packet of flower seeds that were widely distributed. (Actually, I have heard of it before, and have grown many a basil plant courtesy of Martha Stewart! It’s a promotion that keeps on promoting…)

Mimicking the frenetic momentum of their busy little main character, a second book, Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee: A Bee of Possibility, was released on October 1, 2006.Ruby Lee’s new moniker “Be the Bee” will also be introduced and will be used on new Ruby Lee merchandise to include shirts, caps, and other items.

For example, a new Coloring and Creativity book, featuring the Bee Buds, is scheduled for release in late 2006. They’ve even produced a Ruby Lee the Bumble Bee theme song!

Among the nicest of Bumble Bee Publishing’s marketing tools are the readily available PDF press kits they call “Inspire Guides.” The Ruby Lee kit is a 22-page, heavily illustrated document that includes:

  • Contact Information
  • Title Information Fact Sheets
  • Reviews and Endorsements
  • Synopsis Section (Mock/Sample Book Reviews)
  • Current News Releases
  • Author and Illustrator Bios
  • Awards and Honors
  • Bee-Hind The Scenes: The Inside Story of Ruby Lee
  • Ruby Lee News and Current Events
  • Ruby Lee Milestones
  • The Ruby Lee Website
  • Special Event Support
  • The document is colorful, lively, and very complete, making it easy for reviewers and reporters to get the whole story and have all pertinent information close at hand. Making it easy for journalists is a very good thing – and some free stuff doesn’t hurt either – I’ve already planted the Forget-Me-Not seeds in my garden!