But being mixed up isn’t always so charming.
Am I the only one confused by the marketing frenzy surrounding the last Harry Potter book? Here are a few paragraphs from one web article:
" . . . for those who somehow don’t know about Potter 7, Scholastic plans a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign.
‘This is so much more than the publication of a single book,’ Lisa Holton, president of Scholastic Trade and Book Fairs, told the Associated Press. ‘It’s a true celebration of the Harry Potter movement and of the joy of reading.’
The Scholastic campaign is called ‘There Will Soon Be 7’ and will feature a Knight Bus National Tour, stopping at 40 libraries in 10 ‘major metropolitan areas,’ and millions of Potter bookmarks, easel backs and tattoos."
. . . uh . . .
"Joy of Reading?"
Um, okay, please help me here . . .
Since when does a business that is printing 12 million copies of a book NOT look at the bottom line? Pardon my skeptism, but all this marketing is designed to sell.
I’d just argue that the campaign isn’t really necessary, not at the level planned at least.
Our family has every Harry Potter book. My kids love ’em. So, I don’t mean any disrespect, but I’m kind of grossed out by what Scholastic is doing.
Why do the biggest books, the biggest name authors, get the biggest PR and the most advertising?
Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard the old saw, "Go with the winners." But I don’t buy it as a sound business model.
In my sillier moments, I’ve thought about proposing a No-Author-Left-Behind program where publishers would try to meet the needs of all of their authors. Sure, this would require them to be, perhaps, a bit more discriminating about the number of books they purchase and publish each season. Standards would have to be defined and applied . . .
Would that be so bad?
Anyway, just imagine if Scholastic took those multimillions and spread some of them into the marketing efforts for the rest of their authors. Wow. I bet they’d still sell all of those Harry Potters.
What worries me is that authors nowadays worry about the wrong things.
What’s happened to the tear-your-hair-out-of-your-scalp concern about writing the very best books you can?
Most novelists I meet spend more time talking about marketing. Their concensus is that unless your book sells at auction or your print run is in the six digits, you’re just not going to get the publisher attention necessary to make a career of this business.
This same model can be found in other business sectors — especially when it comes to entertainment. However, sometimes, when a new product is introduced into the market, a business sinks relevant money into the effort.
Why wouldn’t publishers assume that EVERY BOOK they buy has the potential to make it big? Do they really have so little faith in their own judgment? Why don’t they want to invest well in ALL of their products?
I don’t get it.
Sure seems bass aackwards to me.