Promote Your Local History Book with Slideshows for the Elderly By Fiona Young-Brown

Looking for a new way to help market your local history book?

Signings are all very well, but have you considered doing a slide show for local retirement homes and assisted living facilities?

Last winter, after racking my brains as to how I could reach new audiences, I decided to call around to a few residential homes to see what sort of interest I might get. After all, with the cold weather I knew the elderly residents would be stuck indoors and in need of some entertainment. What better than a visiting speaker to talk about the old days?

The activities directors at several homes were very keen and arranged dates for me to visit.

The presentations were a great success on many counts:

1. The residents appreciated someone taking the time to come and talk to them, and enjoyed reminiscing about places around town, how they have changed, and so on.

2. It was an excellent way for me to brush up on my presentation and public speaking skills.

3. I was able to pick up some additional information about locations featured in the book from the residents’ stories.

4. Book sales! I took some books with me, and although I didn’t do a hard sell, some residents and staff bought books as gifts for family members.

Some homes offered a small stipend for my time while others did not. I honestly did not mind either way as I was doing this more to publicize my book.

If you decide to visit local homes to promote your book, there are a few technical things to remember. Be sure to find out what sort of equipment they have. I had put together a PowerPoint presentation of some of the photos used in my book. One home had a way for me to hook my laptop up to their large screen television, while for another I burned the photos onto a DVD and used that to show the pictures on their TV.

I highly recommend slideshows as a way to help promote your local history book. The personal rewards to all involved make it worth an hour or two one cold afternoon. Later this year, I have a book of local historical scandals coming out and several homes have already asked me to come and do presentations in the fall