| |

What to do when a celebrity writes your book

Jamie Lee Curtis has written nearly two dozen children’s books. Gwyneth Paltrow is hogging the cookbook shelves. And everyone from Tori Spelling to Alicia Silverstone is dishing parenting advice.

With the news that newscaster and talk show host Hoda Kotb released another children’s book yesterday, philanthropist Melinda Gates is about to publish a book about empowering women, actress Ellie Kemper recently published an essay collection, and Martina McBride and Chrissy Teigen have new cookbooks, it’s no wonder that authors who lack fame and fortune are a bit discouraged.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em

How can an “ordinary” author compete with the publishing platforms of the rich and famous?

By taking the advice of this old expression: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

Instead of getting discouraged, frustrated, or disappointed when you discover that a celebrity has written a book like yours, step into the spotlight the celeb is shining on your topic or genre.

Use their celebrity to your advantage

Here are a four ways to be opportunistic when you and a celebrity have a book in common:

1. Flag a trend.

Let’s say you make a living as a fashion stylist. As you’re cracking open your first carton of The Fashion Gurl’s Guide to Finding and Defining Your On Fleek Style (“SQUEE!”), you look up to see yet another gorgeous Hollywood glamour girl plugging her new “you can be stylin’ like me” book on “Entertainment Tonight.”

Instead of complaining about it on Facebook, see the trend — two new books on finding your own fashion style.

Write and distribute a tip sheet-type press release offering advice for finding your own unique fashion style. Refer to the celebrity’s book as an indication that this is a popular topic. Note that the tips are from your book, which is written by someone who provides style advice for a living.

2. Pitch yourself to the local media as the hometown version of the famous person.

Contact local reporters to provide the hometown angle. Summarize the national media attention the celebrity is receiving and explain that you’ve written a book on that subject, too. Highlight that you’re local.

Identify article or segment topics the celebrity is discussing and offer to provide similar, helpful information in an interview. Stress how your local ties will make your information more relevant to their audience.

3. Comment on online articles and interviews about the celebrity’s book.

It’s quite likely that the big morning programs will interview the celebrity at some point soon after the book’s publication date. When the interview is posted on the show’s Facebook page, comment on the video in a way that shows you are knowledgeable and informed about the topic. Include a link to your book at your preferred online retailer.

Use this approach for articles that run on online news sites that allow comments, too.

Always comment in a way that’s relevant and adds to the discussion — no “I wrote about this, too, here’s where you can buy my book” messages. Demonstrate your knowledge and your book’s value through your comments.

4. Give the celebrity’s book a little love.

Interview the celebrity (or the celebrity’s ghostwriter) on your blog (get contact information at my affiliate link for a celeb database).

Review the celebrity’s book on your blog or Medium.com.

Announce the celeb’s book in a blog post that outlines how your views compare and contrast.

Rather than worry about the celebrity taking attention away from your book, find a way to take advantage of the interest the celebrity is generating for your topic. It might be easier (and more productive) than you think.

Has a celebrity written your book? Tell us about it.

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in February 2013. It has been updated and expanded.)

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

Similar Posts


  1. I love these tips, Sandra. Yet another twist on this topic is to promote not only your book but your expertise. “As a fashion expert for Millennials, I can give two thumbs up to Rebecca’s book on blah-blah-blah. Research I conducted for my own book (insert title) confirms what she wrote: “That Millennials can look like a million on a cheapskate’s budget.”

    1. Thanks, Nancy! I agree with you on that. One of the best things about local publicity is that you can use it to get even more exposure, too.


  2. Sandra, thanks. You’ve given me some new and clever ideas to consider. Networking, and then some! I especially like: “Announce the celeb’s book in a blog post that outlines how your views compare and contrast.”

    1. When you think about it, Sheila, it’s good news when a celebrity writes a book like yours. It brings more attention to the topic. Good luck!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *