Something occurred to me this weekend: Modern-day publishers are pretty similar to sponsors. Upfront investment. A guaranteed logo on the author’s racecar—I mean, book. What if things progressed in that direction?
You’d perfect your “indie” book proposal, submit it to a panel of companies targeting similar audiences, and the interested parties would request to handle one of your expenses. Need a big-shot cover artist? No problem. XYZ soda will cover that expense in exchange for a spot on your book spine. What about a nationwide advertising campaign? A tourism board will take care of that. Just tie their location into the story and give them a promotional page or two at the end of the book—kind of like a magazine spread.
It sounds crazy, but look at it this way: We’re seeing more and more traditional acquisitions based not on writing ability, but how easily a book might sell in volume. Is it controversial enough to generate mixed interest? Does the author have an established and/or growing fanbase? That’s business. So, try substituting the publisher’s cut for a different kind of return on investment—brand exposure. In exchange for financially backing an aspect of your book, these companies would gain another advertising medium.
It. Could. Happen.
So, five years from now, who will be pulling our strings? Publishers? Sponsors? Maybe neither one—or both! The point is, we’re going through a period of great change. Anything is possible.
1. Thank you to everyone who lent their support during my freebie promotion, new release, and blog tour. You guys rock! :)
2. Yes, I gave you guys a weird theory because I’m zapped from the last two weeks. LOL
Question of the week: Would you accept the help of a sponsor in the book world?
I bet you would in the Hunger Games!
I bet you would in the Hunger Games!
Yikes! No, no, no--back. BACK!!! *holds up finger-cross*
I've already given up on magazines because they contain more ads than articles. I don't want that crap in my fiction.
The way you describe it, publishers are already similar to sponsors.
I think it's kind of brilliant! I'm sharing.
I've never thought about it this way, but you're sooo right. And Alex is right, too. Publishers have their logos and names on our covers.
I don't have a problem with that. Its up to the writer to do what they feel is the right thing to do.
This is a bit complex for my sleep-deprived brain right now, but I know it's interesting, so I'll be sharing it!
My sentiments exactly! If things went that route before you know it we'd have adverts mid-novel! *shudder* if things ever turned out like that I'd never traditionally publish!
I actually think it's a good idea, but maybe it's me. It works in sports etc. Why not publishing?
Interesting concept...I wouldn't be surprised.
True, especially now with digital-first imprints ...
I'm not saying it's aliens… but it's definitely aliens. :D
Seriously, interesting theory/thought on this. There's a perception shared among many writers that the publishing industry went through this massive change with the advent of digital (and self) publishing, and that's where we're at today. The reality is that it's STILL changing dramatically.
No one is 100% certain what this business is going to be like 4 years from now, and everyone associated with publishing (authors, agents, pubs, etc.) are scrambling to try to figure out how to stay financially afloat.
I don't think there's a "best" (and certainly not an "only"…) channel to reach readers anymore, and that's got people freaked out. :)
You have an awesome point! And I don't know if I'd mind a sponsorship like that. Just hoping that the sponsors don't expect us to plug their products in the story like some do on TV and in movies.
Yup. I'd say that's a pretty astute observation. It really is headed that direction and I wouldn't be surprised to to see it happen.
I could hear you hiss all the way from Ohio, Melissa! LOL
And I shudder at the thought, Alex. Anything but mid-novel. Yuck!
Some more than others. ;)
Thank you, Donna! :D
Indeed. This would just be taking it to the next level with different backing--a level that could quickly get out of hand. Dun, dun, dunnnnn....
Yep! It's all about having options.
Thank you, Kyra! :)
As long as the author could decide which advertising bids to accept, and how many, I would be okay with it. Some of us need that kind of financial assistance.
It's hard to surprise us, these days!
Absolutely. Digital-first imprints were what brought the concept to mind.
I never thought of it, but you're right. And as long as the check cleared, I'd gladly have my characters enjoy an icy cold whatever soft drink wanted to pay me.
Hah! I knew you were going to bust out that quote. ;)
Yep. Changing more and more every day!
I'd plug it in my author photo. It'd be me holding up a bottle of laundry detergent. *grins*
Thank you, Crystal! :)
Yeah, I probably wouldn't mind something that non-intrusive. ;)
I could have gotten my Kindle cheaper, but I paid the extra $15 not to have the ads. You grew up being bombarded, but I'm old enough to remember when telephone solicitors were practically nonexistent, magazines were mostly articles, and TV commercials were only on the quarter hour. ;)
Advertisements in books has been done in the past. Once upon a time, it was rather commonplace for large publishers to whore a few pages out. Just like magazines and comic books, so too did novels have ads in them. For example...
Harlan Ellison was particularity miffed when a publisher allowed cigarettes to be advertised in one of his novels (which resulted in a delightful story of mailing the publisher a dead gopher)...
Good point! And don't forget, I was trained as one of them...
Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnnnnn!
Thanks for stopping by, Nancy! :)
Now take publishers out of the equation and you've got this (potentially scary) possibility. Thanks for sharing, Eric!
So true. But I hadn't thought of it this way, Carrie. I do hope we don't get to advertising things like cigarettes. It'll certainly be interesting to see what happens.
Yeah, especially with YA books. There would definitely have to be some regulations there!
Interesting to think about and the industry is evolving so rapidly right now, it does make me curious.
I can foresee a time when e-books are littered with advertising--err, 'sponsorhips'--especially as the technology for 'reading' eye movement improves. Read the word 'Coke' in the text, and hear the Coca Cola jingle play soft in the background! The question is, who will reap the financial benefit of such a thing?
Thanks for stopping by, Southpaw! :)
Oo, yeah. I've watched a few videos on technology that utilizes eye movement. It's very interesting (and a little creepy)...
Another question to ask - Are writers willing to have their books serve no other purpose than to be advertising vehicles for huge corporations? (I can wager a guess at that one)
I'd love to say I wouldn't take a sponsorship. Because it would inevitably compromise the story... and in my case, the world I'm trying to build.
But who can really know what they'd do if a big-arsed check slid their way from across the polished mahogany?
I don't think it will always be in the form of advertisements mid novel. I think they'll become more clever. "Jacob's favorite drink is power-aid... Edward's is coke... You have to choose."
Both products owned by (surprise sponser) Coca cola... You see where I'm going.
I think if the author retains the power to choose which offers to take, then they could do so without compromising the book's integrity. Of course, there will always be some greedy parties on both sides.
This put me in mind of Wayne's World when they show off various products like Pepsi straight to the camera. Not sure I'd want to read a book like that! You can say it would be done subtly, but then what if no one realised someone was trying to push something? Nope, gotta say I don't like the sound of it, sorry!
Don't apologize to me, Nick. I'm not selling it. *Grins*
Thanks for stopping by!
I don't think this idea is too far off, Carrie. They're already pushing adds on Kindles. Spend more if you want it ad free! Crazy! At least they're still giving us a choice. ;)
For now, right? ;) Dun, dun, dunnnnnnnnn!
Yeah, it sounds about as crazy as books that only exist in the ethos that you can read on a little square device that fits into your purse. ;)
Some great ideas there -- particularly in the context of nonfiction, where it already appears that the publishers are principally about the platform and content is not as important. Because the number of potential sponsors in your scenario would be much larger than the number of publishing houses, at least in theory, we could expect to see more competition for manuscripts/proposals among sponsors and less need for authors to know the right people (or pay someone who knows them) to be able to contact the corporate sponsors. And the possibility of lots of sponsors could mean that each individual sponsor is taking less financial risk. From an author's perspective, it could be a great development.
We're living in the future! Haha :)
I really like the way you think, Chris! Thank you so much for stopping by. :)
I don't have a problem with advertisement in general, I just think it's gotten out of control. And I don't mean to shoot down your idea. My point is (taking our society's track record into account)... Bonding product marketing with fiction would start out subtle, but would it stay that way?
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