To Market, To Market or What’s Kathy Griffin Got To Do With It?

Kathy Griffin HeadOkay, here’s the thing… I was riding my bike along the Hudson River when I thought to myself “What’s that on the road ahead?” Actually “What’s that on the road, a head?” It turned out to be Kathy Griffin’s cardboard head-on-a-stick – a promotional giveaway for her book entitled Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin. Score! Hardly a tread mark on it. Say what you will about the standup/reality star with her potty-mouth and all that deity-dissing, the girl’s got spunk. And brains. And ingenuity. (I’m thinking of calling my next book, Official Newbery Award Winner: A Novel by John J. Bonk.) No doubt about it, KG is a never-say-die, self-promoting machine. We all could learn a thing or two from her in that department. And forgive the blatant suck-up to Random House, but she must have some brilliant and infinitely patient marketing folks behind her, too. Kudos all around.

Anyway, this got me thinking about a few of my own unique marketing attempts for my books, aside from promoting them relentlessly on my Bravo TV show. (Oh, wait – that was Griffin.) Let’s see, there was my website, fliers, a few interviews… Oh, yeah. I printed out homemade bookmarks with pix of my book covers and review blurbs, laminated them and distributed them to local bookshops. I also handed out bookmarks on Halloween to unsuspecting trick-or-treaters who came to my door, along with the obligatory sugary treats. But only to the target-age ghouls and goblins – those bookmarks are time consuming.

What else? I had my wax figure done at Madame Tussauds, holding a copy of – (Ugh, scratch that. Griffin again!) Okay, this one’s legit. A writer friend suggested I sell my books at a local block party with a placard reading “A signed book makes the perfect gift,” which I thought was a great idea considering the upcoming holidays. But since everyone else was selling junk from their closets (tchotchkes, old muumuus, Hits From the ‘70s), my customers were stuck in haggling mode and tried to drive me down on price. I didn’t cave, though, and still sold some books. “A” for effort, but in retrospect, it did feel a little D-list.

Which brings me back to you, Kathy Griffin. With two Emmys, two more noms, a Grammy nom and a $2 million book deal, I’m sure even YOU have to admit that your D-list persona is wearing thinner than your cardboard head-on-a-stick. You’re a winner, Miss Kathy! “Life on the D-List?” If you insist. Better than the DUI-List that a lot of celebrities are on these days. You’re definitely making headway.

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