Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Links, Plans, and Marketing Shazams

Quit laughing. I know “Shazams” was lame. You’re looking at reason #473 for why I’ll never be a poet. And no, you don’t want to hear about the other 472 to reasons other than to note that I’m iambic pentameter will one day recover and those dirty limericks were not my fault…I was under the influence. Besides shazams serves a purpose that will be revealed later on in this post, but first:

A sharp reader of the Columbus Dispatch (I just realized I never asked for permission to reveal his name) spotted this article on our favorite topic here: publisher paid book placement a.k.a. co-op advertising/marketing. (This is not the marketing shazam, if you were wondering.)

Your mission: read the article, go hit a couple of B&Ns, Borders, or Books-a-Millions (if you can) and come back here to discuss what you found. We’ll do list comparisons of the tables/a-frames that are not the bestsellers racks (because of course the bestsellers racks would be the same).

The New York Daily News has discovered the truth about book clubs (link stolen from Booksquare)! Women get together and end up talking about sex and relationships? The books are treated as second class citizens? Nooo! Say it ain’t so. And then tell me where I can find one of these clubs. Is the wine free?

Someday I’ll have to remember to actually write about my feelings on Oprah and book clubs (these feelings are range from positive to negative). Someone please remind me, but not today, because today I have a plan. I need to:

  • Clean my house

  • Do laundry

  • Go to the bank

  • Pay bills

  • Organize all that lovely information y’all submitted for the website post and pull it all together (so if you have anything else to submit, do so now).

  • Organize the author good behavior in bookstore post and post that as well.

  • Try to remember all the cool marketing techniques I’ve been exposed to over the years, which reminds me…

A very nice reader asked me to list all the marketing techniques I found interesting, and of course once I’m put on the spot I remember nothing. Nothing! I mean, sure there was Stephen King’s cell phone messages for The Cell, but while intriguing not too many authors have the power to get that done (unless you have a brother who works for a cell company), and it will only reach a limited number of people. Then I remembered David Wellington’s Monster Island, about smart zombies (Smart zombies, people! That scares me more than I can say. At least before I could outrun them), and how he released it chapter by chapter for free on the internet before its release (Cory Doctorow did the same). I hear that it is already out-performing Thunder Mountain’s expectations and it just got excerpted in Fangoria (or so a customer tells me). And I mustn’t forget Joseph Nassise who recorded his whole book to allow his readers to listen chapter by chapter for free via podcast.

Gee, I guess I didn’t go completely blank so much as cover territory we’ve been over.

But then, THEN, I got an ARC from Kimberly Raye for her new book Dead End Dating and it came with a little coffin shaped mint tin. She sent out “Death Mints” (with which we immediately started using the Wrigley tagline “Kills bad breath dead”) to go with her book about a dating service for the undead. Very cute. All my non-romance reading counterparts will remember her because they are all enjoying the mints as well and she’ll probably be guaranteed a face-out if nothing else.

I only represent the bookseller half of the equation, and a very small portion of that (so other booksellers please chime in with your own interactions with fun marketing techniques), whereas y’all are the readers (and writers). What magical marketing (shazams, if you will) have you experienced here on the net and out there in the real world? What has caught your eye and made you go “Hmmm, maybe I’ll check that out”?

What works for one book won’t necessarily work for another (a children’s marketing campaign won’t have the same impact on an adult audience), but you can learn from another person’s techniques and maybe it will get you thinking outside of the box. So c’mon people, what have you seen? Heard of?

What worked on you?

Meanwhile I’ll dig around for links on this marketing madness…probably when I should be cleaning my house.


aubrey said...

The one that got me was for the "new" Godfather novel -- The Godfather Returns. There was a t-shirt wrapped up in the shape of the head of a horse. This would really only work if you were familiar with the original Godfather, either the novel or the movie. I thought it was hilarious.

aubrey @ episodesoldier.com

PS -- haven't commented before but THANK YOU for the plug to Episode Soldier

aubrey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather Waters said...

Sherrilyn Kenyon always has a heroine reading a real Kinley MacGregor title(her historical romance psuedo) in her books. I think that's a great ad for those who read Kenyon but haven't tried the historicals.

But the one I remember the most was for a movie, not a book, and that was Blair Witch. All the stuff on Discovery channel and the internet made people believe the movie was real, the legend real, which in turn made the viewing all the more tense and enjoyable.

lady t said...

I have a few goodies from the Series Of Unfortunate Events books(they always send out a cool event kit before the new title is released)such as buttons,a logo stamp,a pocket mirror and travel clock(which ties into the next to last book's theme)and mini pop-up binoculars.

The weirdest book promo I've seen was a bottle of "pills"(breath mints)advertising a Valley of the Dolls sequel. It looked like a real prescription drug bottle,except for the label,of course!

Rosina Lippi said...

What an interesting question. I'm looking forward to (hopefully) a lot of detailed answers about the marketing strategies.

As far as paid placement is concerned, I can cut to the chase -- I know that my publisher paid to get Tied to the Tracks front table placement, for a specific amount of time in specific chains. A bookstore that shall remain nameless failed to put TTTT up front but I have not notified anybody. I'm not sure why.

FlowerWhisperer said...

Clean their house

Do laundry

Go to the bank

Pay bills


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