Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Promo Idea: Warning—Lying is Involved

by Kathleen Kaska 
(Your Fifth Saturday Blogger)
            How many of you remember that popular game show from the sixties, To Tell the Truth? Yes, I know I just admitted I’m no spring chicken, but that’s okay; some of those early game shows were a
hoot. On To Tell the Truth, three contestants tried to stump a panel of four by claiming to be the same person. The announcer made the introduction. For example:
            “Tonight we have author Kathleen Kaska. She has published seven books, and more than eighty travel and outdoor adventure articles. She writes the Sydney Lockhart Mystery Series, where each book is set in a different historic hotel; and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which includes trivia and biographical information. So far her subjects have been Agatha Christie, Alfred Hitchcock, and Sherlock Holmes. Her latest book is a true story about the ornithologist who saved the whooping crane from extinction. Go figure.”
             After the introduction, all three contestants (me being one) walk out on stage and make the same claim.
            Contestant number one: “I’m Kathleen Kaska.”
            Contestant number two: “I’m Kathleen Kaska.”
            Contestant number three: “No, I’m Kathleen Kaska.  
            Now the panel begins quizzing each contestant to see who’s telling the truth and who’s lying. Sometimes the liars can be very convincing. The two imposters have to bluff and lie their way through, but the real person has to tell the truth. Whoever gets the most wrong votes wins the most money. See how it works?
            Think of what fun this could be in promoting our books.
            At a book signing, we could bring along two imposters and stage our own show. Of course, all contestants would have to dress in disguise or maybe wear a bag over their heads, since author photos are posted on every social network available. Or, the contestants could pretend to be our protagonists; costumes in order again. The nice thing about this game is that even if we don’t sell any books, at least we have a shot at winning some cash.
            If anyone is willing to give this idea a try, let me know how it works. Although I’ve become somewhat adept at promoting myself, I don’t think I have the nerve to pull this one off.
            But, I could do a Wheel of Fortune promo event, where all the puzzle answers are my book titles. The only thing I’d need to work out is how to get the cash coming to me rather than the players.
            By the way, Robert Porter Allen, the subject of my whooping crane book, was actually on To Tell the Truth in 1962. He was not able to stump the panel and he didn’t win too much money, but at least he was able to promote his cause.
            I’d love to hear about any off-the-wall promo ideas, if you’re game.


Jean Henry Mead said...


I hope it never comes to this, but how about an author sitting over a tank of water. Whenever someone buys his or her book, the buyer gets to try to dunk the author? Summer sales, of course. :)

Kathleen Kaska said...

I did this once when I was a teacher. My students never had so much fun. Needless to say, there was a long line of dunkers.

Morgan Mandel said...

The only game I remember playing at booksignings is Where's the Bathroom.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

The only game I remember playing at booksignings is Where's the Bathroom.

Morgan Mandel

Kathleen Kaska said...

Oh, yeah. I know that game well.

PJ Nunn said...

I love it! It certainly has potential for hilarity, providing you could find folks who were game. It'd be fun to watch and I daresay happy people buy books!

Kathleen Kaska said...

The more comments I read, the braver I get. Watch out!

Carolyn J. Rose said...

The friends who help me with book events put money in the "how long before her smile muscles give out" pool as they sit at a table in the back, allegedly pouring wine for the guests but apparently pouring even more for themselves.

Kathleen Kaska said...

You're right, PJ, happy people do buy books. I'll remember that and consider Carolyn's story about the pouring of wine. So, for my next event, I might serve wine instead of cookies.

Anonymous said...

The Who am I promo game trick might work with my ARIA Trilogy as it is based on infectious amnesia and so all three have forgotten who they really are!

Alternatively I'm planning to sell ASK - the Amnesia Survival Kit which has a copy of the first book ARIA: Left Luggage, a handy device for keeping notes, and advice on battling amnesia.

Barry Knister said...

I especially like the idea of bringing two imposters to a bookstore event. Speaking for myself alone, I like it, because it means I would not end up alone.

Peg Herring said...

Sounds like a great idea for a panel at a mystery con!

Kathleen Kaska said...

Thanks for your comment, Barry. Maybe when my next mystery comes out, I'll do it.
I like the idea of trying this at a mystery conference. Anybody interested?

marja said...

If anyone does this, I just hope I'm there to watch. What fun!
Marja McGraw

Kathleen Kaska said...

Maybe we should film it and put it on YouTube.

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