Friday, February 17, 2006

TV Commercials for Books?

I planned to write this whole long article on Book TV (or on bloggers who get book deals), but the cold (which I'm optimistically calling it) has made me a bit brain dead. So instead I give you this little tidbit which I hope to build off of later:

I had a customer come in yesterday and buy James Patterson's newest book, The 5th Horseman, because she saw the TV commercial.

Yep, you heard me.

Said that at first she thought it was a movie trailer (and boy, did that movie look interesting), but as soon as she saw it was a book--a new Patterson book--she had to come in and get it.

Now, I saw the TV commercial for Mary, Mary, and I too thought it was a preview for a movie (or a slightly schizio movie of the week). I did not, however, have any customers tell me they bought the book because of the commercial. This makes my lady customer yesterday veeeerrrry interesting.

I don't know what channel she was watching (I think that the Mary, Mary commercial was on TNT or TBS, not sure), if Patterson shelled out to go prime time or what, but I'm intrigued by the concept and want to hear your thoughts.

More coherence, linkage, etc after the fever goes away. Anyone who can find links to the Mary, Mary or The 5th Horseman commercials (and post them here) gets my undying gratitude and possibly a card if you email me your address. Both make the Lolita Files music video look like a five year old produced them.


alexandra said...

Marketing, marketing, marketing, and then, we buy the book and are disappointed. I have more door stops littering my house than Barnes and Noble does.

I stick strictly to word of mouth.

lady t said...

Couldn't the find any links to either commericial but I do remember seeing the Mary,Mary one a while ago and it looked better than alot of book Tv ads.

Patterson certainly knows how to market his books-I've only read one of the Alex Cross titles(thought it was ok but enjoy watching the movie versions of more) and I think he's better at thrillers rather than the Nicholas Sparks type of stuff he puts out every so often.

Diana Peterfreund said...

I've only seen the "Give me a little time, and I'll tell you a GREAT story" Nora Roberts spot on late night lifetime (And thought it was pretty bad) and the one for a Laurel K Hamilton that showed a woman's silhouette drawn,a dn then a gunshot and then red paint (blood?) dripping down the screen, which I thought was REALLY bad.

Eileen said...

The new big thing for advertisers is product placement- ie ET eatting Reeses Pieces. Perhaps we get actors to hold up our books in unnatural positions and say loudly in the midst of their show how much they enjoy it.
CSI Girl: Gee after a hard day of digging up bodies I love to unwind with a good book....

What do you think? Subtle?

Never That Easy said...

eileen, I always try to see book titles if a character is reading in a scene. I remember a Friends episode where the character was reading the same book I was (a Studs Terkel book on race that was required reading for one of my courses): I was thinking "Ok, if I'm sitting in a coffee house with my friends, I don't think I'm going to be reading something this boring/intense." But if a character is reading, I always try to catch a glimpse of the title - sometimes ignoring the "action" of the scene in order to do so: Is that not normal?

Michele said...

Can't help with the links. Sorry.
Never saw the TV Commercials.
But do I think its a good idea?
Well, its fun! Or can be.
Case in point, Christine Feehan.
Some of her Circle Seven productions for her books are just thrilling!
Mind Game et al. Not so much the sisters series.
Sometimes, those tidbits of dialog have helped with pronounciation of character names -I've usually read the books. I've gone back to read them,getting all excited again after viewing.
Sometimes I've wished that they COULD be made into movies. They're done that well.
As for having an opinion if they were helpful in selling the book initially...good question.
To go onto the TV market, they would have to be a bit more savvy looking than the ones your previous commenters saw. They sounded rather lame. With that in mind, my opinion would be "No. No sale".
If they were like Feehan's, with dialog, choreography and music, there might be a better shot at increased sales.
Marketing of movies or books,like anything, is all in the presentation.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Never that easy, half hte time, they are reading something completely random. In that Meg Ryan/Hugh Jackman time travel movie, one character is OBVIOUSLY reading a Christine Feehan book, but then later describes a plot from some bizarre other novel!

Lisa Hunter said...

There's a program in Canada called BookShorts, which makes short films of books by Canadian authors. It's competitive, but the books chosen get their "short films" on television and shown at Book Expo. The website is

I applied for the program for my upcoming book. Wish me luck.

jason evans said...

I'd like to see more exciting, 30-second trailers for books. Why shouldn't they be just as adrenalin inducing or (insert noun of choice) inducing as film? Books need more octane if we're going to cut through all the distractions dancing in front of today's public.

laurenalicehXc said...

I think trailers for books is an amazing marketing tool! :) most writers are visual we see our books like we watch a movie, and most readers (from exstentsive imagery) see that vision, so i think its super cool that authors are promoting their work on TV.

o here's a link to James Pattersons new book The Gift.
Its awesome!