The latest nontraditional venue for author events isn't a museum, a coffee shop or even an office boardroom—it's a place where parents go to buy diapers, baby bottles and pacifiers. When Teri Crane's Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day (S&S/Fireside) goes on sale June 6, the author will kick off her tour at a Babies R Us and continue to visit at least 16 branches of the baby emporium around the country this summer.
Crane is no stranger to BRU; the Potty Pro, as she's called, has been teaching potty training "boot camps" for four years in the Great Lakes region, where she lives, visiting libraries, schools, child care centers and Babies R Us stores. Her method hinges on the "potty party"—an incentive for kids to become potty trained almost immediately. Now that Crane has published a book, she's using Babies R Us—instead of bookstores—to promote her work (although she will visit her local Borders, in Westlake, Ohio). Fireside publicity manager Jessica C. Napp believes BRU's solid brand name, ability to accommodate high traffic and volume, loyal customer base and online sales powered by Amazon.com should help Crane's book reach "a large [number] of desperate parents."
Kathy Ferrante, promotional marketing manager of Babies R Us, said potty training is "a hot topic" with the store's customers and that the first seminars Crane held in the chain's Ohio stores drew between 30 to 60 shoppers. At the time, Crane's potty training lessons were part of the lineup in the store's "Expectant and New Parent Seminars," which BRU stores host weekly.
While BRU has a strong track record hosting seminars, they're less experienced with book signings, and Crane is the first author to tour stores with a child-care book. However, said Ferrante, BRU would consider doing more book tours in the future, "if the right opportunity presents itself." BRU will promote the events with posters in stores, locally distributed flyers and press releases to local media. Meanwhile, Crane will appear on Good Morning America when the book pubs, which will undoubtedly draw parents to her BRU signings.
BRU isn't the only nontraditional corporation assisting Crane on her book tour. The French doll company Corolle, which makes potty-training dolls that Crane endorses, is underwriting a portion of the tour and has helped Crane land book signings at high-end toy shops—including FAO Schwarz in New York and Tree Top Kids in Washington, D.C.—that carry Corolle dolls and will sell the book.