Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Can You Market Your Book Like Olivia’s Bat Mitzvah?


If you’ve been to one confirmation, wedding, graduation, or Bar Mitzvah, you feel like you’ve been to them all. They follow a very predictable pattern, from the Save-The-Date email to the thank you card -- and the ceremony and party in between. Anyone who holds the event is in the hole for a bit of money --- and most attendees don’t even serve their plate cost. But few would say they would have it any other way.


Everyone likes to feel special with a day in their honor where friends and family gather to shine a spotlight on you. And attendees like to stuff their faces on someone else's dime, play dress up, and mingle with people they haven’t seen in a while. 


For my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah last spring, it was like one that I had never been a part of.


Gone were the fancy shmancy aspects. It was a humble celebration where family and friends came out of their covid shelters to interact face-to-face. We were not allowed to have any more than 50 people present at any one moment, so it became a more intimate affair.


Our temple has a history of over 100 years and it is not known that an outdoor Bat Mitzvah had ever been held there until Olivia’s. It was great.


The sun shined to burn off the spring chill of April. The outside tented area was transformed, by extension to be a temple, just as holy as the normal house of worship inside the building. Faith is in your heart and the temple is wherever spiritual-minded people gather Shalom!


After the service, in which Olivia did a wonderful chanting of the Torah and gave a fine explanation of her Bat Mitzvah project (to raise money for period products for the less fortunate), she sang a song (It’s Gonna Be A Great Day) while simultaneously signing it in American Sign Language. As if learning Hebrew for this and taking Spanish in school wasn't challenging enough, she has been learning sign language. It was very cool to see her in action, so animated and passionate. 


Her party was not pomp and circumstance. No celebrity performances or a band. No magicians, paid floor dancers, or hired models roaming around. There wasn’t a candy store’s worth of desserts brought in. There wasn’t even traditional food served or lots of variety offered. We had Perseco, but no alcohol. It was a boxed lunch, some snack foods, and a dessert bag of cookies and fruit. Instead of the attention on shiny loud, or gluttonous things, the focus was simply on people. People talking to one another. Joking, too. It was more of a picnic, where everyone knows your name. 


These affairs, especially in the Northeast, have gotten out of hand for many years. Covid changed all of that, at least for that moment. Instead of feeling obligated to one-up a friend or family member, the theme was to scale down and just keep this real. 


No one went away hungry and no one was bored. After two hours (half the length of a normal party), a new shift of 40 or so friends came to celebrate. It was so much fun. 


The book marketing lesson here?


You don’t always have to spend a ton of money to get what you want. Nor do you merely have to do what has always been done or typically done by others. You can rewrite the rules. 


In this case, we were forced to go a different route. State law and temple rules at the time --and people’s current comfort levels in a pandemic—dictated limits as to what shall take place to honor my daughter’s ascent to womanhood. I didn’t have to do a whole big thing. 


At the celebration, I spoke for six or seven minutes about Olivia. Mixed with a father’s praise was also the sharing of funny stories, and some good-fun ribbing of her. No one is perfect -- and admitting it makes one seem real. Eulogies come too late for the living, so it was an honor to speak of her in front of everyone who means so much to me.


She didn’t want us to do a typical video montage of photos of her, from birth to 13, set to music. You know the kind, the ones that go on for too long and make you check your watch. But what she didn’t know is that my wife and I made a shoot video, with the help of filming from my son, Ben. 


The video was a spoof of her favorite pastime-Tik-Tok.


Oh my God, she is non-stop voguing for a camera that is not always on. She just imagines a Tik-Tok dance routine whenever we are waiting online or standing around somewhere. She could be waiting for the microwave to finish reheating her pasta dish, and she’ll be Tik-Toking away. 


My wife and I made this video as a tribute to her Tik-Tok insanity:

Perhaps there’s another book marketing lesson there. If you’re willing to playfully make a fool of yourself, you will get some attention So, you wanna sell some books?


Go make a Tik Tok video!

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Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand. He has 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres.


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2022. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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