After just having blogged on Saturday about the way publishers routinely drop the ball when it comes to sensible book-promotion, I was pleased to find this article yesteday in The New York Times:
Ms. Friedman, 59, says she envisions a day when a reader in a bookstore will reach for a HarperCollins novel the way some parents of young children now reach for a Disney film in a video store - a result of faith in the producer rather than the specific content. To instill that loyalty, HarperCollins is embarking on a project called Publishing Plus, which includes plans to pitch new books directly to readers through e-mail and the Internet and to offer "bonus material" in new paperbacks, much the way peripheral features are regularly included on DVD's.Sorry, Ms. Friedman, but as clever as you undoubtedly are, you weren't the first to think that stuff up. As I posted in the "comments" section of Saturday's blog entry, my own publisher has been instilling that kind of loyalty in its customers for years and years. Even the hot new idea of offering "bonus material" has been done, most notably in Harlequin's new Signature Select line.
Here's part of what I wrote on Saturday
I believe Harlequin/Silhouette/Steeple Hill actually does
a pretty good job of promoting their "category" books.
But they promote lines, not authors or individual books.
When my book came out people didn't rush out to buy
Brenda Coulter's Finding Hope. They just wanted to snag
one of the latest "Love Inspired" books. That worked in
my favor because Love Inspired is hugely popular and
I'm a nobody.
More from the Times article:
Other publishers have tried to burnish their names as
brands, but with only occasional success. That is
because most people do not walk into a bookstore
looking for a Doubleday novel or a Simon & Schuster
title. Rather, they go in search of a Dan Brown thriller
or the new Bob Woodward best seller.
I would argue that the Harlequin family has done an excellent job of "burnishing" their names. As I already pointed out, people absolutely do walk into a store looking for the latest offerings in their favorite Harlequin/Silhouette/Steeple Hill lines -- and they'll buy the books even when they don't recognize the authors' names. The Harlequin family has been using this approach with great success not just for their "category" lines, but even for their single-titles.
Perhaps it's time for the rest of bookdom to give it a try. Let's see what you've got, Ms. Friedman.