Once your book is published, traditionally or via self-publishing, you have to promote it. It makes perfect sense to plan readings and book signings at bookstores and libraries, since that’s where you’re likely to find an appreciative crowd of readers and book lovers. But less traditional venues for author appearances can offer a built-in audience of people already interested in your book’s topic.

By the way, this idea applies to you even if you aren’t ready for your book tour because you’re still in the process of writing your book proposal. Why? Because your book proposal includes a section that details your best promotional ideas for getting your book in buyers’ hands – including ideas for “non-traditional” places to promote your book. (And if you’re still writing your book, keep a file of any and all promotional ideas that come to you during the process – you’ll be glad you did!)

Take a cue from author Dyan deNapoli (also known as “The Penguin Lady”), who will promote her new book, The Great Penguin Rescue (Simon & Schuster, Free Press, 2010 http://books.simonandschuster.com/Great-Penguin-Rescue/Dyan-deNapoli/9781439154861), in a variety of venues, including the New England Aquarium in Boston. Home to three species of these engaging birds, the Aquarium provides a perfect backdrop for an author reading from her book about rescuing African penguins from an oil spill off the coast of South Africa in 2000. Part of the Aquarium’s Lowell Lecture Series, the event takes place on November 16, essentially bringing Dyan back to where her story began. She was working at the Aquarium as a senior penguin aquarist at the time of the spill, and was one of 100 experts called in from around the globe to direct the rescue efforts.

The Great Penguin RescueDyan is also promoting the book at an ocean literacy summit in Durham, New Hampshire, and making an appearance at Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut, in an event co-sponsored by the Mystic Aquarium.

For a complete look at Dyan’s book launch and promotion details, visit http://www.thepenguinlady.com/new_site/events.html. I just want to share how thrilled I was to see that Dyan’s book was given a comprehensive review in The New York Review of Books (October 28, 2010 issue). Read it here: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/oct/28/save-penguin-if-you-can/?page=1. Congratulations, Dyan!

So, whether you’re in the process of writing a book proposal or ready to launch your book, it pays to think creatively about where you’ll promote that book. Authors and book publicists, what are some of the more unusual venues where you’ve promoted your books?