From the blurb it seems to offer a mythical tale full of wonder and giants. The cover is beautiful – a deep matt navy, rich as a midnight sky with a sacred tree winding its way from the rich soil of a perfectly fonted title. The Buried Giant, it announces. By Kazuo Ishiguro – in gold lettering. Gold lettering. This is an important book, it calls to us. It is simple but magical. It will change you, shake the roots of your very existence. It is a book to be talked about.
Imagine my surprise then when I entered the store and saw this:
Not only are they balloons. They are special Ishiguro balloons. Regard how they match the colour of the cover. Behold how they are emblazoned with the same minimal illustration. Which is both marvelous and fabulous, whilst at the same time, deeply disturbing.
Is this what book marketing has come to? Gone are the days when it was a discrete bookmark, or a tasteful postcard (though these were placed at BOTH counters!). Now, to sell books, really good books, apparently we must also have balloons.
I am troubled by this. Quite deeply. Not only because I loathe balloons with all their squeaky- rubbery-tight-skinned-spitefulness, but also because I am not sure where the publishing world can go after this.
Is this what it has come to for those Luddites of the literary world – those authors who like me, want to write that most unsellable of things – the epitome of genreless – literary fiction? Must Indie publishers hoping to get their literary works noticed now offer such things to entice readers away from the safety of Paranormal-urban-fantasy-thrilleromance Genre Fiction?
If so, then here are my suggestions for
5 Inappropriate Marketing Ideas for Literary Fiction
1. Lollipops ; especially if you are selling something that is dangerously racy or perhaps touches on the subjects of child abuse, family trauma, or pedophilia. Got to find a way to sweeten those topics for the punters, folks.
2. Beer Can holders: You know those things made of strange, unnatural fabric that keep cans cold. I thought that any novel that touched upon alcoholism – perfect. Alternatively if your novel is set in a hot climate – this is good to go for you.
3. Big Hands: Like they wave at games and other such sporting events. If you got a jaunty little logo, people who buy the book could be given “a big hand” get it. I mean it’s hilarious, right. Challenging for page turning however.
4: Steak Knives: I mean who doesn’t need more steak knives? These babies have been the solid stuff of marketing strategies for years. Why, I ask you, has it taken publishing so long to catch up? So, ‘buy this novel and get a free set of steak knives’. It’s just got a ring to it….
5: Sun Visors: I am sure that most literary fiction readers are possibly low in their quota of free sun visors. I might be wrong, but what better than the new Amis novel having a Go Amis Go baseball cap, or The Liz Gilbert Visor. It makes sense. Literary Fiction readers don’t go out in the sun very often after all. We need to protect our paper-like pale complexions. Plus, how jaunty would that be?
I mean these are just some initial suggestions that I am throwing out there. I am sure you have some of your own, so be a sport and pop them in the comments. If we get enough of them we can bundle them up into an eBook called “Crazy Marketing Ideas for Indie Authors ” or , if we want to go a little Seth Godin/ Malcolm Gladwell, my title vote goes with “Ishiguro’s Balloons”, just for its outstanding SEO potential alone.
Oh, and word count for the day?
Another 3000. Thanks for asking.
See you tomorrow, now back to your writing, You! Yes – You!!!