Sunday, October 31, 2004

Ads don't sell books*; but FREE SAMPLERS just might

Halloween Special: In BUZZ, BALLS & HYPE today, MJ Rose discusses the success of Atria's promotion for Jodi Picoult, distributing thousands of copies of a free "sampler" that included excerpts from her forthcoming book + backlist titles as well. It's a great idea (can't say whether Atria did it first, but who cares) and one we'll be seeing more of in the future--of that, I'm certain.

MJR's notion about including a CD sampler of backlist titles in new hardcovers, gratis, is interesting too--there are obvious cost and packaging issues to that one (e.g., do you shrinkwrap the book to protect the CD? but isn't shrink-wrapping the most despised form of prophylactic known to book lovers, who want a check to, umm, sample the goods before they pay for their fun?), but details be damned. It's an idea that, for the right author at the right time, is worth serious consideration.

IF YOU KNOW OF ANYBODY WHO'S ALREADY DOING THIS, PLEASE REPORT BACK. Thanks.

*P.S. The phrase "Ads don't sell books" does not necessarily reflect the views of management... Actually, it does--but that's what we (even editors) like to call A Whole Nuther Story.

P.P.S. A reminder to published writers [see FRIDAY'S POSTING] -- the more data I have, the more useful my "report" will be. ALL INFO CONFIDENTIAL, that's a promise. And please pass this link along to others.

26 comments:

Ami said...

I haven't heard of other authors handing out hard copy excerpts of upcoming novels, but I have seen the world of computer gamers embrace this marketing technique wholeheartedly. (My eleven-year-old son is a gamer)

Magazines like "Computer Gaming World" and "PC Gamer" include CDs in every issue. The CDs are samplers of the hotest new games coming out on the market, and give the gamer just enough enticement to get them to want more.
The packaging is slick and convenient...a sturdy, detachable sleeve holds the CD and the entire mag. is usually shrink wrapped.

Too bad "Book" magazine folded, their readership would have been a great target market for a "literary sampler" CD.

Ta!
http://www.amimckay.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Book Magazine is gone but PAGES is thriving. I agree -- that is a readership that could be targetted, including a sample of some kind that could be bundled with PAGES.

AndyHat said...

On the subject of CD samplers, you might want to take a look at Baen Books. They've included CD's in several of their hardcovers. Of course, they go much further than mere samplers and include the full text of a bunch of Baen's backlist.

Anne Denoon said...

Re: Book Samplers. My publisher, the respected Canadian small press The Porcupine's Quill, prints and distributes paper booklets as advance publicity for its titles. These are about 15 pages long, reproduce the front and back covers of the book in black and white and contain an excerpt and author photo/info. (http://www.sentex.net/~pql/flip.html)

Anonymous said...

In STONE AND ANVIL, a hardcover Star Trek novel published by Pocket Books, a cd was included with unencrypted e-book versions of all of the previous novels in the New Frontier Star Trek series.

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