Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Brand Name Game

Since I've become a published author, I've become acutely aware of how products are marketed and promoted. After all, strictly speaking, books are products, too, right? Everywhere I look, I see products linking themselves together in cross promotion. I'm sure you've all seen the commercials for Volkwagen where if you buy a Volkswagen by a certain date, you get a free custom First Act electric guitar. The other day I was reading an article in my hometown newspaper, The Springfield News-Sun, about fellow Springfielder John Legend's new album and read that his tour is being sponsored by Bailey's. Bailey's has even created a specialty cocktail, Bailey's Legend Martini, in his honor and has info about his new album and tour posted on their website. In recent years authors have gotten in on the act, too.

A couple of years ago, chicklit author Carole Mathews was paid by Ford to mention the Ford Fiesta in her books. More recently author Meg Cabot hooked up with Clinique to promote her latest young adult novel. Author Mitch Albom's new book is being sold in Starbucks. Whether people like it or not, I don't think the marriage between books and name brands is going to dissolve any time soon. So why not use it to help sell books? My question is, where are these deals for black authors? Let's face it, the pages of a lot of our books practically drip with high end product name dropping. So, why aren't any black authors inking deals with car manufacturers, cosmetics companies, and designers to help promote their books? Eric Jerome Dickey could ink a deal with Ducati motorcycles for his latest book Chasing Destiny, Zane's erotica novels should be attracting any number of product cross promotion deals from condoms to lingerie, and wouldn't Tamera Gregory's The Passport Diaries have been a perfect gift with purchase for travelers booking European vacations on Travelocity or Expedia? Are black authors, or their publishers, not seeking out these kinds of cross promotions or are they being turned away? Honestly, I'd really love to know. If you have any thoughts or knowledge on this subject, or if you know of any black authors who have made any deals like the ones I've mentioned above, please let me know.



John said...

If you mention EXPEDIA in your booky to be and try to be accurate search for "EXPEDIA complaints" in Google or Yahoo. You will read horrible stories (including mine) from people that used them.

Angela Henry said...

Actually, I was just using them as an example of a company connected to the travel industry that an author with a travel themed book might connect with for cross promotion ; ).

Anonymous said...

I thought the VW and First Act was a pretty good idea for both companies. VW wants to look young and hip, and First Act wants more notoriety for making really good guitars. Its much more of a mutual thing and one isn't getting paid-off to promote the other.

Angela Henry said...

No, they may not be being paid to promote each other but VW must have purchased those guitars from First Act to use as premium gifts with purchase. Someone is getting paid and most likely it's First Act. I guess my point with this post was to point out and give examples of ways authors can potentially maximize their sales by product placement and cross promotion.

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