Small Pond, Big Splash

Make a Splash!

On my recent mini book tour, I discovered how easy it is to create major buzz in a small geographical pocket.  Since Phoenix has 1 ½ million residents, I haven’t made much of a local splash for all my marketing efforts. Call me a city girl, but you can imagine how thrilled I was to create major splash in several small communities?

I chose a small Ohio town (the setting of my novel) and an Indiana Mennonite community because my characters are, yes, Mennonite. In twelve short days, I connected with hundreds of people who started a local buzz about my books. I did my part, and the rest just happened.

Imagine hundreds of rocks simultaneously tossed into water. The ripples intersect and make a major splash. The same disturbance would go unnoticed in the ocean, but is visible in a pond.

Helpful Tips for a Mini Book Tour

Establish a relationship with local influencers. They work hard on your behalf. Influencers booked my speaking engagement, organized book signings, and blogged and promoted my events. They placed newspaper notifications for me. See what I mean about easy?

Keep costs down. If you need to buy books, don’t over purchase (like I did) unless you wish to haul them around. I left unsold books with influencers. I did cover half of my expenses, and I’m sure I can do better next time.

Book at least one paid speaking event. My event had 200 + guests. I sold 40 books and gave free handouts with my contact information. It was a bonus when a newspaper reporter covered the event.

Take a guestbook to your events. I didn’t, but I will next time! A guestbook would provide a relaxing way to get name spellings, information, and jot notes for later—all while making pleasant conversation with readers. I frantically jotted notes that got shoved into my purse. Not very professional.

Attend local events, even if it’s not your event. When a book tour is the reason for your visit to a community, the topic naturally accompanies personal introductions.

Giveaways. Offering free bookmarks opens conversations with people who wouldn’t otherwise make eye contact. Book giveaways are both promo and ministry. Trust God with your offerings.

Get prayer support. I would have remained fearful and frazzled without my prayer support team. Thanks guys!

Take your vitamins. Even good stress is hard on the immune system, and I ended up going to Urgent Care two days upon my return. (Probably because I was an introvert on overload)

Benefits and Blessings

          Meeting local authors

          Opportunity to sign shelved books in local bookstores and gift shops.

–          Networking – (Got featured in summer reading group. They approached me!)

–          Media/newspaper coverage

          Unexpected opportunities – Books placed in church and school libraries

          Purchasing items for future promo.  Of course I bought a handcrafted Amish doll.

          Photographing opportunities for website, blog, and promo use

–          Research for blogging topics

          Gleaning new information about the book industry

–          Ministry – planting spiritual seeds and encouraging readers

–          Personal growth


Who are your influencers? Are you building relationships with them? Do you implement the small pond, big splash method for marketing your books?

14 Replies to “Small Pond, Big Splash”

    1. Your encouragement meant so much to me. You came during a lull and lifted my spirits. You were a God send, a direct answer to prayer. Thanks!

  1. Wonderful suggestions. I’ll be sure to refer back to this post when I promote my second book coming out in August. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Lisa. How exciting for you. August is right around the corner. Congratulations!

  2. As usual, your ideas are on target Dianne. I especially like the Guestbook idea. What a fabulous way to get contact info in a non-threatening way. I’ll add that to my to-do list. Thanks!

    1. Anita,
      Asking a reader to spell their name seemed to loosen their tongues. Then I got caught up in the conversation and struggled to remember the name. I’m also a visual learner and seeing it written would have made the job easier. On the other hand, it was probably good mental exercise, for me to juggle it all, helping me to ward off Alzheimers. But I tend to look for the easier ways to do a thing. Which is why I also make “to-do” lists. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  3. Terrific info, Dianne, but I have a question for you. Like your book, my WIP is set in places where I don’t live, so I’d need to establish similar relations with “local influencers” as you did. But I don’t know any in any of those locations! How did you make your connections?


    1. Good question. You can start with research sites. Send emails to people who can help you find an answer to research topics. Then start an internet friendship with them.(Facebook) They are usually excited to help. Local libraries or university librarians are helpful. Search the area for businesses that have blogs. In my area, the druggist had a blog. His wife got excited and started blogging about my books. Book clubs are a great place to look. Goodreads has groups under many topics. Get settled into one that suits your WIP, then just honestly pose the question, “Anybody in the such and such area who would like to be an influencer for me?” You’d be surprised how many people want to network. In fact,this type of blog..Watercooler… is exactly what I’m talking about. You pose the question, and sometimes somebody knows somebody in that area. Now is the time to nurture those relationships, before you are ready to launch your book. I’d be interested in others’ ideas of where to find influencers. This is a good question.

      1. Also the more extroverted your influencer is, the more help they’ll give. LOL, But your profile pic shows Science Fiction. I hope we’re not talking about some other world place. 🙂 However, even if a person doesn’t use setting as their pond, the same concept can be used. Any ideas, people?

  4. Ross, I know that the next ACFW conference will be held in Dallas Sept 20-23. That could be some great connections! I believe Lena Dooley lives in that area. She does a blog for writers and has contact info on her website. I’ll keep my ears open for you.

  5. Hi Dianne! I’m glad you jogged my memory. I had read this earlier and meant to comment. Naturally, (for me), I got sidetracked by something shiny. Okay– so I wanted to tell you thx for guest book idea. I love that one!
    As for where to find influencers, I write nonfiction, so I’m not usually looking for influencers in certain locales– however, if I were, I would most definitely contact the owners of bookstores and the librarians in that area. They always know who can get the word out!
    I love our wordserve blog!:)

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