How Authors Can Piggyback
off the Holidays for Free Publicity

By Joan Stewart
The Publicity Hound

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It's simple, it's quick, and yes! 
It's absolutely FREE.

Tie your book, product or service to a holiday and you can exponentially increase your chances for free publicity from print and broadcast outlets.

That’s what Willie Ripple learned when she self-published the “What Do I Do?” series of books that give children and their parents all kinds of ideas for fun parties for Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Christmas, as well as for slumber parties.

Ripple, of Littleton, Colorado, had great success with her publicity campaign which started three years ago when her book “Halloween School Parties” was featured at a Denver Halloween store that also doubled as a Haunted House. 

“The Rocky Mountain News does publicity for the Haunted House and they saw the book and ended up doing a three-page spread on it,” she said. “They came out and took five rolls of film and did a big blow-out on the front cover of the Spotlight section.”

She also sent articles to local publications, including Colorado Parent. That led to an invitation by “WB2,” a morning TV show in Denver to appear in two four-minute segments on separate days. On one segment, Ripple demonstrated Halloween foods. On another, she offered ideas for Halloween party games. See Special Report #13: How to Recycle Your Publicity--for Serious Publicity Hounds Only.

“I read Brian Jud’s Book ‘On the Air’ and saw his video and did as he suggested—gave a lot of tips to the audience,” she said. “As I was leaving the stage, I heard somebody in the studio say ‘She was really good.’ ’’

So good, in fact, that the producers invited her back to do more segments for her Christmas and Valentine’s Day books. She promoted her slumber party book the following summer.

Willie offers these publicity tips for authors:

For television, be sure you offer interesting visuals. Her Halloween food segment, for example, featured an entire table of Halloween foods and punch. See How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow. 

Your TV segment might be short, so offer lots of how-to information.

Send the media tip sheets and articles written about your topic. Willie sent excerpts from her book to Colorado Parent magazine, which then passed her name along to producers of a local TV show. See Special Report #16: How to Write Tip Sheets That Catch the Media's Attention.

Don’t be afraid to bring others with you onto the show if it helps explain your topic. She invited four children to appear with her to demonstrate how to play various Halloween games. 

Authors should read Brian Jud’s books “On the Air” and “Perpetual Promotion” which explain how to contact producers and create media appearances and then look and sound your best on TV.

Besides the more routine holidays, don’t forget topic-specific and industry-specific holidays such as Take Our Daughters to Work Day, National Tourism Week, Children’s Dental Care Week and thousands of others.

Authors can use the “holiday” theme for an entire series of books, particularly if they create a catchy theme like Ripple did when she came up with the “What Do I Do?” series. Holiday-related books can include cookbooks, a history of the holidays, how-to books, books with religious themes, books about clothing and costumes, and books on relationships that tie into holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mothers Day.

If you have a book that doesn’t lend itself well to an entire series, consider catching the media’s attention by pitching story ideas about the book that tie into specific holidays. 

Mary Marcdante, for example, author of the new book “My Mother, My Friend: The Ten Most Important Things To Talk About With Your Mother,” pitched story angles that tied into Mother’s Day when her book was published.

If you have written a biography, ask yourself if you can tie the book to an historical anniversary. If you can add significant historical perspective or anecdotes, the media might consider you as a valuable source. So let the media know which topics you can speak on as an expert. 

Finally, remember that many major magazines assign stories six months ahead of the publication date. Give yourself plenty of time to pitch. See How to Write a Pitch Letter More Powerful Than a News Release. 

Need more help with publicity for your books?

See Special Report #40: 42 Publicity Tips for Authors and Small Publishers.

See Special Report #45: How to Generate National Publicity from Your Own Day, Week or Month of the Year. 

See Chase's Calendar of Events, which lists more than 12,000 historical anniversaries, holidays, birthdays and events that can be attended, such as fairs and festivals. 

John Kremer’s book Celebrate Today lists more than 3,000 anniversaries and holidays as well as special days, weeks or months of the year, and historical event listings.

Need more help with book publicity? 

If you like all those ideas but would rather hire a publicist to help you implement them, see How to Hire the Perfect Publicist, an 85-page ebook that walks you step-by-step through the entire process. Includes 307 tips on where to look, questions to ask during the interview, the advantages and disadvantages of the four types of billing methods, how to help your publicist help you, and a handy chart that will help you rank your final candidates. Read this ebook before you waste thousands of dollars on the Publicist from Hell who will take your money and ruin your reputation. Downloadable, so you can be reading it in minutes. 

Or book Joan Stewart to present "Savvy Media Relations for Authors and Small Publishers: How to Get FREE Print Space and Air Time" for your next book convention. Email Joan at or call 262-284-7451 for availability. 

Direct your comments or questions about this article,
including requests for reprint rights, to:

Joan Stewart
The Publicity Hound
3930 Highway O
Saukville, WI 53080-1330
Phone: 262-284-7451