We have a contest winner

Rick with one of his heroes, the great Al Kaline.
Rick with one of his heroes, the great Al Kaline.

So, as readers of this site know, I’m big into contests. I’m not entirely sure why, because I can’t imagine they actually generate readership or help boost book sales. I guess, well, I just sorta dig contests.

Back when I was a kid David, my brother, won a contest sponsored by our local radio station, WVIP. A boat was giving away, and a bunch of callers were presented with keys. On one Saturday morning, all the key holders tried starting the boat. Only one worked.

Wait. I should mention—we never got a boat. But David won a key, and a blue-and-white WVIP T-shirt.

I digress. I kicked off a contest a few weeks ago, asking for the best PR/marketing ideas for Showtime. Today, I selected a winner. His name is Rick Heitmeyer. He’s a big Tigers fan who blogs here. He seems to know whereof he speaks. Here’s what he submitted …

First, as you’re writing your latest book, share some of it briefly with your Twitter friends. You could consider putting a chapter or something (unedited, rough) up on a google document site for a day or two and send out the link via Twitter. This gets people reading the stuff and whetting the appetite. You could probably still do this for Showtime. A lot of times books are previewed or rolled out in newspapers. You wouldn’t need the newspaper, you could do this yourself.

Next, I’m sure people pre–order your books. Would there be a way that if someone pre–orders your book, you could have them let you know and you could call and talk to him/her for five or ten minutes. I would think this would be cool if the author of a book I had ordered called me out of the blue. Maybe even some of the people you randomly call who ask good questions and such could get a signed copy of one of your other books (or even the one you’re promoting).

Finally, if you do a book tour and get to some of your fans’ states or cities, you could call them and invite them to a lunch or something (coffee at Starbucks and sit through a writing session with you).

Jeff, I know these might be a little out there, but this would help to build the “Jeff Brand” as an interactive author. I think you’ve already started that by being so open on Twitter. As a comparison, I have always thought it would be cool if musicians (we’ll use Kid Rock since I’m a Michigan person) would release some of their rough, demo material to their fan clubs for like a 24-hour period. Maybe it would just be streamed and not something that could be downloaded, but it would build up to the release of an album. If Kid Rock did that, I think it’s just different enough that it would further build his brand … 

Smart stuff, man. Smart. Congrats.

Have a great day!