163 creative book marketing ideas for 2023 that could make you famous or get you canceled

You’ve got a book that’s just itching to be seen by avid readers across the globe. While traditional marketing ideas have their merits, sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box. In this article, we’ve compiled a massive list of unconventional book promotion ideas that have the potential to turn heads, go viral, and let’s face it— might even have some risk involved. Are you ready to grab some attention and think on the edge? Here it is:

Crazy Bold Book Marketing Ideas That Could Go Viral or Get You Cancelled

In the world of book marketing, sometimes the craziest ideas are the ones that get the most attention. Here are some wild and outlandish marketing strategies that could send your book viral… or get you cancelled. Proceed with caution!

1. The Mystery Author

Create an air of mystery around your identity as the author. Use a pseudonym and refuse to give any interviews or reveal any personal information. The speculation around who you really are could create buzz and intrigue around your book.

2. The Scavenger Hunt

Create a real-life or virtual scavenger hunt that readers must solve to reveal details about your book. This could involve riddles, puzzles, or hidden messages in your book cover or promotional materials.

3. The Controversial Topic

Write about a controversial topic that sparks debate. This could get people talking about your book, but be prepared for potential backlash if you don’t handle the topic sensitively and respectfully.

4. The Publicity Stunt

Organize a publicity stunt related to your book’s theme. This could be anything from a flash mob to a public demonstration. Just be sure it’s legal and safe.

5. The Celebrity Endorsement

Try to get a controversial or high-profile celebrity to endorse your book. This could generate a lot of attention, but it could also alienate some readers.

6. The Provocative Cover

Design a book cover that’s provocative or controversial. This could make your book stand out and get people talking, but it could also turn some readers off.

7. The Social Experiment

Conduct a social experiment related to your book’s theme and document the results. This could be a fascinating way to engage readers, but make sure it’s ethical and respectful to all involved.

8. The Viral Challenge

Create a viral challenge related to your book and encourage readers to participate. This could spread quickly on social media, but be careful not to encourage dangerous or harmful behavior.

9. The Unexpected Collaboration

Collaborate with someone unexpected, like an artist, musician, or even a chef, to create a unique promotional piece for your book. This could generate buzz, but make sure the collaboration makes sense and adds value to your book.

10. The Bold Statement

Make a bold statement or prediction related to your book’s theme. This could get people talking, but be prepared to back up your statement with facts and evidence.

11. The Skywriting Reveal

Hire a skywriting plane to reveal the title of your book or a key plot twist. This would certainly grab attention, especially if you manage to do it over a major city or event. Just make sure you’re not spoiling your own book!

12. The Underwater Book Signing

If your book has any themes related to the sea or underwater life, why not host an underwater book signing? You’d need scuba gear and waterproof books, but it would certainly make a splash!

13. The Zero Gravity Reading

If you’ve written a sci-fi novel, consider reading the first chapter in zero gravity. Companies like Zero-G can provide a weightless flight experience. It’s a bit out there, but it would certainly be memorable!

14. The Tattooed Title

Get the title of your book tattooed on your body and reveal it in a live video. This is a pretty extreme commitment to your book, but it would definitely get people talking.

15. The Book Hunt

Hide copies of your book in various locations around the world and post clues to their whereabouts on social media. This could turn into a global scavenger hunt and generate a lot of buzz.

16. The Celebrity Impersonator

Hire a celebrity impersonator to endorse your book or appear at your book launch. This could cause a stir, especially if people initially believe the real celebrity is involved.

17. The Extreme Book Reading

Read your book in an extreme location, like the top of a mountain or in the middle of a desert, and livestream the experience. This would certainly make for a unique book reading!

18. The Book-Themed Flash Mob

Organize a flash mob where everyone acts out a scene from your book in a public place. This could be a fun and interactive way to bring your book to life.

19. The Book Cover Fashion Show

Design a range of clothing based on your book cover and host a fashion show. This could be a unique way to showcase your book and engage with your audience.

20. The Book Title Cryptic Puzzle

Release your book title as a cryptic puzzle or riddle and offer a prize to the first person who solves it. This could generate a lot of engagement and anticipation for your book.

Remember, these ideas are meant to be bold and daring, but they should also be executed with respect for your audience and the potential impact on your reputation as an author. Always consider the potential consequences before implementing a risky marketing strategy.

20 more Creative Book Marketing Ideas for Authors

  1. Host a flash mob book signing in a popular park or crowded city center. Organize a group of participants to freeze in place while holding a copy of your book. Watch as a curious crowd gathers around to see what’s happening.
  2. Create a book-themed scavenger hunt, hiding copies of your book throughout your city. Post hints on your social media channels and reward those who find them with exclusive swag or a shoutout online.
  3. Hire talented graffiti artists to paint murals inspired by your book on appropriate public spaces, capturing the attention of passerby and creating a photo-ready backdrop.
  4. Collaborate with a food truck and create a signature dish or drink that embodies your book’s theme. Offer this dish at local festivals and events to eager foodies.
  5. Themed pop-up shop – Set up a temporary shop in your city that focuses on the themes and elements of your book, complete with merchandise, photo opportunities, and special appearances.
  6. Extreme readings – Record yourself reading an excerpt from your book while performing an adrenaline-pumping activity (e.g., skydiving, zip-lining, etc.).
  7. Launch day flash sale – Offer a massive, time-sensitive discount on your book during the first few hours of launch day, creating a sense of urgency for buyers.
  8. Collaborate with local businesses to offer discounts or create limited-time products based on your book.
  9. Host a mini-concert series inspired by your book’s themes with up-and-coming artists or bands in popular local venues.
  10. Conduct a “book-bound marathon,” during which you read aloud from your book while running a set distance, either alone or with a group of readers following along.
  11. Create an escape room experience inspired by your book, with clues, riddles, and set designs specifically tailored to tell your story.
  12. Offer to write personalized short stories for your fans based on a brief description they provide.
  13. Publish a series of cryptic, book-related messages in your local classified ads section, sending readers on a wild goose chase.
  14. Sidewalk chalk art – Hire a talented artist to recreate scenes from your book using sidewalk chalk in heavily foot-trafficked areas.
  15. Collaborate with a local theater group to create a live performance based on your book.
  16. Create a book-inspired fashion line, with unique clothing and accessories that represent your book’s themes and characters.
  17. Host a public book burning, with a twist – Build a massive stack of books to “burn,” but once the crowd gathers in horror, reveal that the books are actually flame-resistant, and the stunt is meant to raise awareness about censorship and the importance of free speech.
  18. Stage a publicity stunt featuring an elaborately staged scene from your book, complete with actors and props, in a busy public transportation hub.
  19. Conduct interviews with local journalists while wearing a T-shirt promoting your book.
  20. Coordinate a “book storm,” where a group of readers crowds around a local bookstore, all purchasing your book simultaneously and causing a frenzy.

While these ideas may be unconventional and come with some risk, they will undoubtedly help your book grab attention in new and innovative ways. Remember, bold marketing decisions have the potential to pay off in big ways, even if they sometimes tip-toe into controversial territory. So don’t be afraid to get creative, and let your book shine!

100 more Crazy Bold Book Marketing Ideas

These are just spit-ball ideas that might help you get creative, but keep in mind, most of these are “out of the box” thinking examples, which means most authors don’t waste time doing them, because they don’t really work. You don’t really need creative book marketing examples. You don’t want to do crazy things for visibility. You want your book to show up in front of the right reader when they are actively pursuing books like yours – that’s it and that’s all! Scroll all the way down for a free guide that will make it easy.

1. Design amusing images to post on social media that promote your book.

2. Host a virtual launch party with influencers to spread the word.

3. Create a funny book trailer that you can post online and share with your followers.

4. Put together a Twitter/Facebook/Instagram combo to spread your message.

5. Consider launching a podcast co-hosted by authors in your genre.

6. Ask your local bookstore or library to promote your book.

7. Have an upcoming event? Use livestreaming or Google Hangouts to help promote your book.

8. Offer discounts to readers and ask them to spread the word.

9. Sponsor a giveaway on an online platform such as Goodreads.

10. Turn your book launch into a full-day event, including celebrity interviews and book signings.

11. Sponsor a book-reading contest online and award prizes.

12. Connect with a celebrity, and ask them to promote your book on their social media.

13. Design an online educational course about your book’s content.

14. Record an audio reading of your book and post it online.

15. Create a book-inspired app, offering exclusive content.

16. Work with a professional book cover designer to design an unforgettable cover.

17. Look for blog tour opportunities, submitting guest posts to book blogs.

18. Ask friends and family to share reviews online.

19. Reach out to top reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads.

20. Use your mailing list to send out a monthly newsletter with updates.

21. Send free copies of your book to influencers in your industry.

22. Hire a publicist to arrange a blog tour and other publicity stunts.

23. Pitch the media outlets regarding your book’s content for potential coverage.

24. Full take advantage of Reddit to reach readers in your niche.

25. Create individual book covers for different characters or themes in your book.

26. Sponsor a book review contest and reward the winners with a physical copy of your book.

27. Utilize Youtube, and create how-to videos and book trailers.

28. Create printable bookmarks to give away at events.

29. Go live on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with short readings, Q&A sessions, and more.

30. Add an element of philanthropy, and partner with a charity or donated a portion of your book’s proceeds.

31. Create a free email course with helpful writing and publishing tips.

32. Develop or collaborate with a popular prints-and-merchandise brand or artist whose style resonates with your story, and leverage their audience.

33. Utilize unpaid influencers in your niche who are likely to share your message with their followers.

34. Host a Twitter chat to discuss your book and related topics.

35. Make an effort to share inspirational quotes from your book on social media.

36. Participate in virtual book tours and post readings and talks.

37. Become a guest writer for well-known publications.

38. Reach out to bloggers that are passionate about your genre and offer advance copies of your book.

39. Create eye-catching graphics and content to show off to online publications and different digital platforms.

40. Turn interviews into manageable soundbites for use on podcasts and social media.

41. Develop a book club for readers that want to get to know your book more deeply.

42. Utilize expert round-ups and curate an expert Q&A on your topic.

43. Pay to advertise your book on relevant sites and platforms.

44. Engage in targeted social media campaigns to reach the right people.

45. Create a great pitch that will make your book irresistible for readers.

46. Pay attention to hashtags and trends on social media, and jump on board to amplify your message.

47. Create a BookBuzzr account and get your book listed on major bookseller sites.

48. Ask your friends, co-workers, and family to promote your book.

49. Organize a virtual reading and Q&A session, sharing it to your networks.

50. Send out targeted emails to book clubs and book reviewers.

51. Create a hashtag specifically for your book and ask your readers to use it.

52. Use book reading apps and platforms such as Wattpad and tap into their readers.

53. Ask your local bookstores and libraries to host book launches and signings.

54. Arrange a reading in an unusual place like the subway or at an amusement park.

55. Utilize podcast branding opportunities to spread the word.

56. Record interviews with yourself and other authors talking about the book.

57. Make personalized bookplates and include them in physical editions of your book.

58. Ask your readers to share their reviews and opinions publicly on their social networks.

59. Utilize your website and add content marketing pieces that align with the book themes.

60. Leverage cross-promotion with other authors and books to gain visibility.

61. Utilize influencer endorsements to create buzz about the book.

62. Create a poll, an infographic, or an opinion map related to your book to promote it.

63. Get creative with humor and memes and use them to spread the message.

64. Arrange a virtual writing retreat to bring authors together and talk about the book.

65. Contribute to various audio, video streaming platforms, and other content outlets that are related to genres like yours.

66. Develop a series of blog posts related to the book, and share them with social media connections.

67. Hold an online raffle or sweepstakes-type competition that resonates with your audience.

68. Set up a microsite for the book and offer exclusive content, interviews, etc.

69. Publish teasers and excerpts on different platforms.

70. Share a review or a recap from a professional reader or influencer to generate chatter.

71. Ask a renowned author to read and review your book.

72. Utilize influencers to offer book reviews and comments.

73. Develop a series of book-related webinars, seminars, and other online events.

74. Reach out to popular online magazines, get them to feature your book.

75. Participate in local book festivals to network and spread the word.

76. Sponsor a book award and offer an exclusive prize for winners.

77. Participate in social media challenges that are related to your book’s themes.

78. Develop a book excerpt audio file, and share it on podcasts and other platforms.

79. Create or collaborate on a quiz that reflects the content of your book.

80. Take advantage of book marketplaces to get your book visible.

81. Utilize augmented reality technologies to put your book into the real world.

82. Utilize relevant and related hashtags to join conversations as they happen.

83. Turn your book into a game, or create a related game for extra exposure.

84. Leverage feature-rich platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, and Medium to reach new readers.

85. Connect with local libraries and universities to expand your reach greatly.

86. Add an educational kit to your next book launch.

87. Sponsor a scholarship or an award in your book’s name.

88. Utilize services such as Amazon Kindle Countdown and create boost for readers.

89. Organize and participate in a virtual book tour with other authors.

90. Get creative with book teaser videos, post it online, and share it with readers.

91. Create a list of challenges related to the book, and ask readers to complete them to win special goodies.

92. Partner with other brands and companies that share the same target audiences as you do.

93. Get creative with book giveaways

94. Arrange scavenger hunts, riddles, and other creative activities to promote the book.

95. Hire freelance writers and editors to create blog posts related to the book.

96. Utilize YouTube video ads to get your message out to a larger audience.

97. Throw a book-related virtual charity event and donate the proceeds to a cause.

98. Plan an interactive street campaign that encourages people to stop and talk about the book.

99. Carve a book-inspired message into the sand and post it online with the hashtag.

100. Leverage your pre-existing connections and network with various influencers from your industry.

20 more book marketing ideas for 2023

We’ll end with kind of a round-up of ideas, this final list is pretty basic, but it’s stuff that most authors do that still kind of works. It’s lame, and boring, but these are tactics that drive direct traffic to your book. The problem with any of them is the time and effort it costs you, and whether it’s worth that investment (probably not!)

  1. Virtual Book Tours: With the rise of digital platforms, consider organizing a virtual book tour where you can engage with readers from around the world.
  2. Podcast Interviews: Reach out to podcast hosts related to your book’s genre for interview opportunities.
  3. Social Media Challenges: Create a challenge related to your book’s theme and encourage your followers to participate.
  4. Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with influencers who cater to your target audience.
  5. Book Trailer: Create a captivating book trailer and share it on social media platforms.
  6. Guest Blogging: Write guest posts for blogs that have a similar audience to your book.
  7. Webinars and Online Workshops: Host webinars or online workshops related to your book’s topic.
  8. Email Marketing: Build an email list and provide subscribers with exclusive content.
  9. Book Giveaways: Host a book giveaway on social media platforms to generate buzz.
  10. Collaborate with Other Authors: Team up with other authors for joint promotions.
  11. Book Clubs: Reach out to book clubs and offer them a free copy of your book for discussion.
  12. Goodreads Promotions: Utilize Goodreads for giveaways and to engage with readers.
  13. Bookmarks: Design and distribute bookmarks with your book cover and details.
  14. Author Website: Create a professional author website with information about your book, upcoming events, and a blog.
  15. Virtual Reality (VR) Experience: If your budget allows, create a VR experience related to your book.
  16. Augmented Reality (AR) Book Cover: Design an AR book cover that comes to life when viewed through a smartphone.
  17. Book Subscription Boxes: Collaborate with book subscription box services to include your book.
  18. Local Community Events: Participate in local events and book fairs.
  19. Library Partnerships: Partner with libraries to offer readings or workshops.
  20. Merchandise: Create merchandise related to your book’s theme or characters.

Remember, the effectiveness of these strategies will depend on your specific book and target audience. Always consider your audience’s preferences when planning your book marketing strategies.

3 book marketing secrets (the only thing you need to know)

If your book isn’t selling, even when you push it in front of people, it means they don’t want it – or they don’t want it enough for the price you’re charging. That’s not a big deal. Maybe they’re the wrong audience. If you push it in front of the right readers who enjoy your genre and they don’t buy it… that’s a real problem. Almost always, when self-published authors can’t sell books it’s because:
1. they don’t have enough reviews. To fix this, you probably need free ARC copies and enough of an email list to send ARCs to interested readers.

2. their cover is unattractive or doesn’t communicate the genre. Covers are the hugest piece of your publishing strategy, and most indie authors get it wrong because nobody is around to tell them they’re making rookie mistakes. Educate yourself on the real purpose of book cover design before you invest in an artist to create whatever you’ve got in your imagination. Book covers are marketing advertisements. It’s not a place to be creative, it’s a place to be ruthless – use the cover that sells the story.

3. visibility. If you’ve got reviews and a good cover, then you just need to drive traffic. You can do it with organic traffic (blogging, SEO, getting featured on review blogs) or active (advertisements, buying access to someone else’s audience in the form of ads or email blasts, also facebook and amazon ads).

Profit-share with influencers doesn’t work for tons of reasons but I won’t go into it here… the point is those 3 things above, those are gold. Those are worth more than the 160 “creative book ideas” that came before it. Those are bad ideas. Unfortunately, many authors will be taking notes and doing those things anyway because they didn’t read down this far.

If you’re still here and paying attention, great! You might be wondering, well, how I can DO these three things? It’s not that hard and it doesn’t have to cost a lot, unfortunately it can take a lot of expertise. We’ve been building solutions for authors for decades, but you should start with a free guide to book marketing (book marketing is dead).

or if you’re really ready to roll your sleeves up and get into it, we have a free 21 day course on building an author platform. If you like it and want some quick help and feedback, there’s an upgrade option. But I promise our free stuff is way better than what anybody else is providing.

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