8 Famous Book Publicity Stunts – Some Good … Some Not So Good

Book publicity stunts are risky. Typically, they either go well and are succeed in garnering public and media attention, or they go badly, sometimes very badly. There’s usually not much in-between, at least for the inventive stunts. Here are eight memorable ones.

  • Jennifer Belle, author of The Seven-Year Bitch, hired a bunch of actresses to laugh publically while reading her book on the NYC subway system. The stunt idea itself got her national coverage.
  • When Thomas Harris’s Hannibal came out, London bookshops served up broad beans and chianti to fans and the publishers passed out bacon sandwiches to commuters as a classy homage to the man-eaters in the book itself.
  • When Private Vegas, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro was first released, 1,000 lucky Patterson fans were selected to get access to the book. They were able to download it and had only 24 hours to read the book before it “self destructed” and erased itself from their reading devices.
  • Mark Twain engineered a ban of Huckleberry Finn by straight-laced librarians, which worked wonders for sales when the scandal factor kicked in.
  • Author and poet Gabriele d’Annunzio was a serial faker for publicity. He faked his own death wrote and married and divorced legendary thespian Eleonora Duse for publicity, among other stunts.
  • An Indonesian businessman dropped 100 million rupiah from a plane over the capital, or about $10,700 as part of his book marketing efforts.
  • The logo for German publisher Eichborn is a fly. At the Frankfurt Book Fair, Eichborn tied a tiny banner giving their booth location to hundreds of flies and released them in the hall.
  • While not a book marketing stunt, this horrible idea involved a book. A man somehow figured a book could stop a bullet and convinced his girlfriend to shoot at a book clasped to his chest for the sake of YouTube views. Not unsurprisingly, the stunt went horrendously awry, the book didn’t stop the bullet, and he died.