Thinking Outside the Box Unique Ideas for Promoting Your Book(s) By Ron Corbin

People who don’t know me that well seem a little surprised when they discover I have a PhD. Most likely because they don’t see me as the “typical” erudite that a Doctorate of Philosophy usually invokes … whatever that may be.
 
However, for friends who know me “up close and personal,” they aren’t surprised at all that I don’t portray the image of a college professor. Probably because, since there is already too much drama and seriousness in the world, I like to tease, joke, make puns, and use humor in daily activities. Thus, it is likely that some of the suggestions below for promoting my book may seem a little bit unusual, quirky, or out of the norm.
 
Poker Chips — Being from Las Vegas, rather than just having the personalized business cards and book marks promoting my book like most authors, I had customized poker chips made up. One side of the chip displayed the cover of my book, and the flip side had a photo of an LAPD helicopter.
                        
 
These chips can be used as part of the “buy-in” to your weekly “Guy’s Night Poker Game.” Sometimes, one of the poker players will cash-in these poker chips to buy one of your books.
 
The chips can also be used as a challenge coin to exchange with your military and public safety friends who collect these kind of mementos.
 
Doctor and Dentist Office — Having the same family doctor and dentist for years, these professionals know about some of my family business, including my endeavors in writing and publishing a book. As a Christmas gift to them, I gave them one of my books. I then asked them that, if they are willing, I’d appreciate them allowing me to place one of my books in their office waiting rooms…with a sticker or handwritten note saying, “Please Don’t Remove – Leave in Office.”
 
I think that this is a perfect way for exposure to great numbers of people; patients who might start reading a chapter or two and, if interested, will copy the book title for future self-purchase. As a bonus of doing this, I even found that one of my doctors is an author herself, and we were able to exchange books.
 
Contests — I have held contests at writer’s conferences, with the winning prize being one of my books. Use your imagination and make twists to the old version of “guessing how many jelly beans in a jar” game.
 
One contest was where I took one of my wife’s sewing projects. She had made a basket from material-hand-wrapped cotton corded clothesline. I had conference attendees guess how many feet of clothesline was involved in the basket construction.
Another contest was to guess what this object was used for. Hints included:
·       They are made of plastic and come in pairs.
·       They come in four basic colors (i.e., red, green, blue, yellow).
·       They are from the 1950s.
·       They use one AA battery to make a small light and illuminate the plastic’s color.
Do you know what they are? Take a guess. (Answer at the bottom of this article.)
 
Cruise Ship Libraries — My wife and I like to take cruises. Generally, every cruise ship has a game room and/or library. I take one of my books on each cruise trip and leave it in with the other books in the ship’s library. Even if the ship’s staff monitor this and remove my book as being unauthorized, I feel confident that it won’t simply be thrown away, and maybe taken to the crew quarters for their use. In any case, I figure that this is a way to expose it to hundreds, if not thousands, of passengers.
 
So, these have been some of the ways I have promoted my book. They may seem quirky, but then again, I told you that I had a PhD. I like to say that it’s “thinking outside the box.” Honestly, though, I don’t know how successful these unique ideas are. But you may want to try them.
 
Oh, and the answer to those green plastic light thingies is … they are lights that attach to the bottom of roller shoe skates. When the roller rink lights are turned down, and a waltz or couple’s skate is called, guys and gals would turn on their shoe skate lights. If a boy had a girlfriend, then they each would swap one light from their pair, so they had a different color on each foot, but were seen matching as a “couple.”
 
Ron Corbin
Ron Corbin is a decorated Vietnam veteran, having served two tours as a combat helicopter pilot. After a crash in 1976 with LAPD’s Air Support Division, he was forced to seek other careers, including school teacher and principal, counter-terrorism and security trainer, body guard, corporate security director, and manager of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept’s (Metro) Police Training Academy. His specialty is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), and he attended training in this domain at The National Crime Prevention Institute, at the University of Louisville. On behalf of Metro, he has served the community by providing expert advice and hundreds of security surveys or vulnerability assessments for commercial and residential customers; including such notables as the Fremont Street Experience architectural team, Ch-3 and Ch-10 television studios, Las Vegas and Clark County Housing Authorities, Desert Springs Hospital, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ron’s CPTED credentials and experience has led to him being interviewed as a subject matter expert in articles published nationally in “Reader’s Digest,” “Sunset Magazine,” “PetroMart Business,” Las Vegas Life”, “The SIREN (Municipal Motorcycle Officers of California)”, “Vegas Life”, “Las Vegas NOW”, “Around Your Home”, the “Crime Reporter” (Ventura, CA PD),  and “PORAC-LE News” magazines. He was the Editor of Training Publications for LVMPD. He has been a contributing author and columnist to “Avista” magazine. He currently writes a safety column for the “PSWA Newsletter.” He is also a 10-time award-winning writer for short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. BEYOND RECOGNITION, Ron’s award winning book (Public Safety Writer’s Assn- 1st Place, 2013) was written as a means of closure and dealing with survivor’s guilt, a form of PTSD. It’s his memoir of a tragic helicopter crash he had as an LAPD pilot; one which killed his student pilot trainee, and put Ron in a burn ward for 70% burns. It’s a story of how he overcame his physical, mental, and emotional pain, and provides a recommendation for others who suffer from tragedy.
Ron Corbin, PhD
Retired LAPD/LVMPD

Vietnam Veteran (1966-67, 69 – Army Helicopter Pilot)
Member of the Public Safety Writers Association
Member of the Wednesday Warrior Writers 

Author of “Beyond Recognition”

First Place Award Winner
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4 thoughts on “Thinking Outside the Box Unique Ideas for Promoting Your Book(s) By Ron Corbin

  1. Thanks for sharing ideas! Poker chips are so clever. Like your cruise ship library, I leave mine in the Jamaican resort library and know firsthand that led to some sales 🙂 You inspire me to try more outside the box.

  2. radine says:

    Most interesting, and, as Nancy says, opens us more to thinking outside the box.

  3. judyalter says:

    Thanks for some good ideas. I’m going on a Great Lakes cruise in a few months. It ends in Chicago,and now I’ll take my Chicago historical novel, The Gilded Cage, to leave in the library. Will also check to be sure Palmer House has one in its library.

  4. M. E. Kemp says:

    Thanks for your service, Ron, and for your ideas on promotion. I promote my books (historical mysteries) by giving talks on the Salem Witch Trials – that way I didn’t waste any research on my book about the trials

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