BOOK PROMOTION… ON ICE!
by Alina Adams
My five Figure Skating Mystery novels were originally released as paperback originals by Berkley Prime Crime between 2003 and 2007. (The first one, “Murder on Ice,” was actually based on the 2002 Olympic Pairs judging scandal, only this time the judge accused of fixing the vote ended up a little… dead.)
A few years later, I got my rights back and re-released each title as an enhanced e-book, featuring video by The Ice Theatre of NY as part of the story. (Why merely read about skating, when you can actually watch it, too! http://pgpclassicsoaps.blogspot.com/2012/10/ask-not-what-you-can-do-for-nook-hd.html)
Then, in 2014, just in time for the Sochi Games, I bundled all of the books into “The Figure Skating Mystery Series (5 Books in 1) (http://www.amazon.com/Figure-Skating-Mystery-Series-Books-ebook/dp/B00HUZ41FI/ref=zg_bs_159911011_16).”
Now all that was left was to promote it.
I knew that the upcoming Winter Olympic gave me an optimal, once every four years news window (yes, the National, European and World Championships happen every year – but people only care during the Olympics), and I did pitch myself as a figure skating expert to several print publications as well as radio outlets (even if they all managed to make mistakes in their profiles, but, hey, I turned that to my promotional advantage, too http://pgpclassicsoaps.blogspot.com/2014/02/test-your-skating-knowledge-and-win.html! Seriously, I have no shame.)
I also did some out of the box thinking. To promote “The Figure Skating Mystery Series (5 Books in 1),” I partnered with Dick Button, 2-time Olympic Men’s Gold Medallist, and the voice of figure skating on ABC-TV for several decades. (I had worked as a Figure Skating researcher alongside Dick in the mid-1990s. Before I had children and thus was free to jet all around the world.)
To promote his own book, “Push Dick’s Button” (http://www.amazon.com/Push-Dicks-Button-Conversation-Century-ebook/dp/B00HG1QLYU/ref=zg_bs_159911011_1), Dick did live Twitter commentary of the Men’s and Ladies’ Short and Long Programs from Sochi. I produced the coverage for him. And, during the commercial breaks, I promoted my skating book series alongside his.
There is nothing that Dick Button doesn’t know about figure skating. (He remembered that Peggy Fleming’s 1968 Olympic dress was chartreuse, because the Games were being held in Grenoble, where the Chartreuse Mountains are. Also the liqueurs. The man is 84 years old! He’s amazing! You’ll never hear a negative word about him from me!) And Dick Button has a great many fans all over the world, some of who joined Twitter specifically to read his no-holds-barred commentary. And it was to these dedicated skating fans that I was able to introduce my book series. If that’s not niche marketing, then I don’t know what is!
So how did my out of the box promotion ultimately work out?
Well, I sold three times as many books during the month of February on Amazon and B&N than I had in January. And I made Amazon’s Ice Skating & Figure Skating Best-Sellers list for most of that time. The highest I ever got, though, was #3. The #1 spot was perennially occupied by… Dick Button.
Of course, I got even more good marketing news when the result of the Ladies’ event was contested and debated after a Russian dark horse upset the pre-competition favorite for the gold medal. Just like I wrote about in “Murder on Ice”….twelve years ago.
I posted an excerpt from the book at my own blog (http://pgpclassicsoaps.blogspot.com/2014/02/when-it-comes-to-figure-skating.html) with my (pretty reality based) guess about what was going on backstage after the results were handed down, and how the media plays a part in all sports “controversies.”
Looking for a sneak peek? Listen in on this conversation between my heroine, Bex Levy, a researcher for the 24/7 Sports Network, and Francis and Diana Howarth, Olympic Champion announcers more than happy to fan the flames of discontent….
Bex changed tacks, addressing Francis and Diana. “So let me get this straight. Just so I can put it down in the research notes for Sunday. You two claim that Erin lost last night because the panel was stacked against her.”
“Well, actually the panel wasn’t stacked against her. It was five to four, pro-West. She should have won, if only the Russians hadn’t gotten to the Italian judge and made her change her vote,” Diana patiently explained.
“So you’re saying that if the Italian judge voted with the West like she was supposed to, Erin Simpson would have won, no matter how she skated?”
“Erin Simpson skated beautifully last night. No mistakes. No falls.”
“But you’re saying that it doesn’t matter. That how the two women skated is irrelevant. You make it sound like all victory is dependent on the panel. That it’s preordained.”
“The results were certainly preordained last night. The Soviet bloc wanted Xenia to win, and win she did, even with that mediocre performance.”
“But, doesn’t that mean that all the times Erin beat Xenia at the Grand Prix this season, she only won because the panel was stacked in her favor?”
Diana and Francis looked at each other.
“Hmm,” Francis said, “I never thought of it that way.”
“And does that mean that when you two won your Olympic gold medal, it was only because the panel was stacked in your favor?”
“What an interesting point you’ve made, Bex,” Diana said.
And stood up to leave.
With Francis by her side, she was barely to the door, when Mark, the lucky cameramen assigned to shoot the ladies’ practice for the exhibition, burst into the room, breathing heavily. He’d run all the way from the arena to the hotel, lugging his heavy camera on his back, and now he could barely get the words out between his gasps.
“Did you hear?” he demanded. “Silvana Potenza! She’s dead! Murdered!”
Alina Adams is the NYT best-selling author of soap opera tie-ins, figure skating mysteries and romance novels. Visit her website at http://www.AlinaAdams.com