Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Bookseller

Apparently most authors dread the marketing process.

Not me. As an advertising guy, I'm thinking it will be a fun challenge for me to sell my own product for a change, as opposed to other people's.

So how do you promote a book? Obviously, good reviews are the best tool. So I'm getting copies sent out to all the trade mags and ad blogs, and begging them to say nice things.

In terms of above-the-line advertising, the book world seems unsophisticated. Media appears to consist almost solely of adverts on the underground (because people read books there?) and creative is normally limited to just a picture of the book, with perhaps a short quote alongside it (e.g. "An utter delight" - Stephen Fry).

No doubt because of budgetary constraints, you very rarely see an advert for a book on TV. And when you do, they are piss-poor. This is an ad for a new book by James Patterson. It's from New Zealand. There's actually an even worse one for the same book on British telly at the moment, where two women talk in a horribly stilted manner about how hooked they are on Patterson. But, mercifully perhaps, I couldn't find it.

Why do they always say "The new bestseller from XYZ" do they know it's a bestseller if it has only just been published?

Anyway, here is my media and strategic thinking. Very happy to get feedback on it:

I reckon that most buyers of my book will be students, young creatives, and experienced creatives who are still interested in reading stuff about advertising. And the best way to reach this target? I think it's the ad blogs.

Now, I'm already asking the ad blogs to mention that my book is coming out. Hopefully they will. But I'm thinking that if I can provide them with a fun piece of content around it - a witty ad, let's say - they'll be more likely to feature the book, and it will get more attention.

I don't think it makes much difference whether the ad is a piece of film, a poster, an ambient idea or a stunt. The key thing is that it's good enough that the ad bloggers will want to cover it.

So... that's my plan. Unless a succession of commenters tell me it's rubbish.


Rachel said...

I find the problem with getting a review book is reading it in your timelines, so it helps with your campaign. So I'd definitely include something else with it, soif they don't have time to read the book, they can at least comment on the marketing!

Anonymous said...

I always loved this online book promotion from Miranda July:

BozzaNova said...

When your book release, hope I can find it in bookstores in Bangkok, Thailand.
( I'm not familiar with online ordering :P )

I always read your blog since I studied in the UK. Even emailed you once, asking for a book-crit. I'm more than happy to see you write your blog again. Please do it regularly.

Scamp said...

Thanks for posting that, wordage, it's fantastic. That's where the bar is, I guess.

Phil said...

Book advertising seems to suffer from the same problem which music advertising has traditionally suffered from. Ads (even on the telly) are limited to a kind of "album great, out now" message with an image of the cover art or some footage of the artist.

I think this is partially because creatives have rarely been involved in the process - the ads have traditionally gone straight down the path of marketing dept > designer > media agency.

Given that book publishers are clearly just about to get theirs from the internet in the same way that music did 5-10 years ago, now would be a great time for the publishing industry to start innovating.

wordage - I remember that campaign well. It was excellent and a welcome exception to the rule.

Ben Kay said...

I too have researched this topic.

I think you're doing the right thing but the bar for motion picture promos is very low:

I think that you could do something much better than that lot.

Sell! Sell! said...

Sounds like a good idea. I would suggest that a bottle of quality scotch is also a compelling way to get it featured.

Kevin Amter said...

Well, well, welcome back.

I found marketing "Minds For Rent," sans publishing house, to be an interesting challenge as well.

One major asset was building a site that had an integrated and secure check out system. I would encourage you to explore Amazon as well. "Minds For Rent" is on Kindle too.

Let me know if you'd like us to build you one and congrats on finishing the book.


Unknown said...

hello scamp, great job on the book! about the promotion: you target audience is young creatives, right? what do they most desire? a job in advertising! why don't you start a promotion where young creatives have to do something with the book or the content and the winning ones will get a bbh placement/job :)

maybe let them publish (on their blogs or their social media network) a vision of what their future is going to be like after reading your book and 'making it as an advertising creative'.

just maybe :D good luck with it all! looking forward for more posts here in tokyo.

john p woods said...

"Media appears to consist almost solely of adverts on the underground…" 50+ million live outside the m25.
Gonna get your city utd clashes dvd?

Scamp said...

A John W. comment! Really feels like I'm back now.

john p woods said...

I aim to please…a bit like Scholesy!
Hope you are in fine fettle. Good luck with the book btw.

Lorelei said...

On your question about how they can say its a bestseller - it's usually as it's been out in hardback already... and this would be a paperback publication a year later. Or, if it's been published before in the US or where ever first.
So, they're (usually) not just making it up!

Definitely worth making a film though.

Ben from down-under said...

I think this is an awesome book. As a creative that got it wrong for the first 5 years until someone kindly pointed me to the right school, then started all over again (junior salary, same rent, massive credit card bills etc etc) – I'll be reading this with relish.

It's one thing to have great ideas, another entirely to avoid the pitfalls of a bad creative partner, bad cd and no insight on how to overcome it!

Well done mate :o)

Anonymous said...

Set up a blog for the book, then generate discussion around the content.
Readers can then tweet the content, and so can you.
It'll also help you with moving on the content when the book has been around for a little while into other areas that may give you more content to write another book:)


Anonymous said...

Already pre-ordered it Scamp. Your blog was advertising enough for me.

Rupert James said...

The book trailer is the new advertising for fiction...

...though it must all be about utility in the world of non-fiction, surely, no?

Young Wal, I think therefore, is closest so far in his recommendation of the magical prize of an all elusive placement.

Is there a brief? What's the exact proposition?

Anonymous said...

Lorelei, for fuck's sake... he was clearly talking about the times when it hasn't already been a bestseller.

The answer is this: Bookselling is prescriptive. If his long line of books before were a bestseller, this will be. And if you look into it, the amount of sales you need to be a bestseller, somewhere, are really quite low. Scamp--have a big push in the faroe islands... and be a bestseller!!!!

I kind fo think, unless you have the supermarket aisles, read on the beach, sort of book... how can anyone expect to sell anything these days? There's this invention called the internet!!!!!
Sorry scamp! But thanks a trillion for all the years of good free info on your blog! LOVEYA!!!!!