Friday, January 16, 2009

Random House's Unusual Marketing Ploy - Do You Know of Others?

These days, rarely can an author write a book and expect to get away without marketing it. Publishers expect their authors to sell themselves and their products a/k/a books.

I understand that's the name of the game, so I do my part by making public appearances in the form of book signings, panels, and other doings. I travel just about everywhere on the Internet - on blogs, listservs, social networks, such as MySpace, Twitter, Book Place, GoodReads, and more. During the course of my travels, in person and in cyber space, I've met other authors also scrambling to make names for themselves.

Depending on the publisher, authors can expect a range from minimal to heavy marketing help. Some authors are awarded special placement for their novels on bookstore shelves and tables, color ads in magazines, book tours and more. Those are the exceptions. Most authors understand that the burden of advertising lies on themselves.

At a movie in the Classic Cinema's chain a few weeks ago, I was surprised to come across an unusual marketing ploy by Random House. As my husband and I handed over our tickets, we received Novel Sampler DVDs, featuring excerpts from five teen novels, purportedly the hottest of the season, some with video trailers, one even with a podcast. I surmised Random House was taking advantage of the popularity of the book and movie, Twilight, to reflect favorably on their offerings.

Have you seen any unusual marketing ploys by publishers? What about authors? What have you seen other authors do? And yourselves, do you use the tried and true methods, or have you done something unusual to sell your books? Please share.

17 comments:

  1. Wow- cool idea... but you'd have to have a good tie in.

    I haven't noticed anything new, but I keep my eye out.

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  2. Clever way to reach the teen audience! I've seen that done with rock bands before, but never authors.

    I still meet a lot of author who don't realize how much of the publicity they must do themselves...

    Author p.m. terrell does few book stores, but she sells a lot of books at libraries. I've found I sell just as many (and more) books at my community college seminars and speaking engagements as at bookstore signing, plus they are paying me to be there! We've just got to watch for other avenues to do physical promotions.

    I also like independent coffee shops and recommend appearing on wine-tasting night - drunk people will buy anything!

    L. Diane Wolfe
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
    www.spunkonastick.net
    www.thecircleoffriends.net

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  3. Clever way to reach the teen audience! I've seen that done with rock bands before, but never authors.

    I still meet a lot of author who don't realize how much of the publicity they must do themselves...

    Author p.m. terrell does few book stores, but she sells a lot of books at libraries. I've found I sell just as many (and more) books at my community college seminars and speaking engagements as at bookstore signing, plus they are paying me to be there! We've just got to watch for other avenues to do physical promotions.

    I also like independent coffee shops and recommend appearing on wine-tasting night - drunk people will buy anything!

    L. Diane Wolfe
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
    www.spunkonastick.net
    www.thecircleoffriends.net

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting. Before we wrote our book I had no idea how much marketing we ourselves would have to do. That has been a huge learning curve and a big time commitment. I'm not sure I've really learned how to market yet though, since we offered our book FREE to many people who know us and most of them didn't even take advantage of our offer. But maybe that's because we only have it available as an e-book.

    Sorry I don't have any amazing words of wisdom to offer about marketing!

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  6. Thanks for sharing this marketing technique. I'd love to know how effective it was, wouldn't you?

    I was prepared to market my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT because in 1992 Rabbi Karen L. Fox and I had to do the marketing when Perigee brought out our Jewish holiday book SEASONS FOR CELEBRATION. Of course, the internet has totally changed book marketing since then.

    I've got several free articles of mine accessible at http://www.QueensOfBookMarketing -- I hope the articles help anyone who checks them out.

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  7. I'm all for thinkin wayyyy outside the box for marketing concepts.

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  8. Interesting idea! And fairly inexpensive.

    Rhonda
    aka the Southern Half of Evelyn David

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  9. Very neat marketing ploy!
    I have a friend who writes in the "crafts" mystery subgenre who gets her books placed in crafts shops, crafts shows, etc.
    As for myself, well, I guess I need to devote some more time to thinking outside the box for my historical mysteries . . . maybe even outside the room!

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  10. Hatchette book Group have web publicists thAt have joined Book Blogs Ning. They offers book every month to us to giveaway on our blogs. They give us ARCs and they asks for hosts for early bird blog tours. Oh they also send audio books for us to try.

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  11. I haven't come across the Random House Novel Sampler DVD or anything like it. Seems interesting!

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  12. Haven't seen 'em but it's a darn good idea.

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  13. I've long wondered when publishers would make an effort to cross-sell books in theaters featuring their novels. The DVD is a decent low-cost way of trying to accomplish the same goal without the inventory issues of books.

    - Nate
    http://www.PlusSignProductions.org
    http://www.PlusSignProductions.org/2008/10/free-classes.html

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  14. Great idea. Thinking "outside the box" as they say is becoming more the norm these days. Now those who can afford to do something similar will until it's no longer new and popular.

    http://www.laughing-zebra-children-books.com
    http://goingbeyondreading.blogspot.com/
    http://zooprisepartyfiestazoorpresa.blogspot.com/
    follow me on twitter: http://twitter.com/JOYPublishing

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  15. I know that a lot of children's book writers/illustrators are coming up with trailers for their picture books, as well. They're usually pretty good and relatively easy to make (minimal animation since the art is already there). It reminds me that I need to ask my animating friends a huge favor....

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  16. I like the idea of free downloadables, like chapter reads for iPods or book plates and coloring pages. Also, authors promoting each other's products. Any add-ons that make the fan feel warm and fuzzy will pay off in future loyalty... and probably royalty, too.

    Another great post, Morgan. You get better all the time! Nice blog.

    Dani
    http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com

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  17. I have a sort of related question. This may not be the best of your blogs to cover it, but it's sort of on topic.
    Why do publishers sometimes restrict the marketing activities of authors, not permitting them to flog t shirts and things referring to the books? As I understand it a lot of authors are allowed to give things away but not sell them? Just curious.

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