Judge Page usually scours the web for interesting marketing information with the idea being that those of us writing (and doing more of our own marketing) need to come up for air once a week and see what the rest of the business world is up to so we don’t get left too far behind.
Today there are no Linktopia links, but an interesting idea for our interesting times. Read on and see whether you are asking yourself, well, why not?
M.J. and I will more often than not lament the sometimes bizarre world of publishing and marketing. This started with an email that covered the states of works-in-progress, the Spy Museum in D.C. (a good place for promotion), Thrillerfest and well, you get the idea, typical writer stuff. But, it also included this:
I wondered (apparently when it comes to marketing and publishing wondering happens all the time) about publishers, the economy and libraries. It would seem that this would be an ideal time to not only help but to generate good public relations by simply donating books. But, doing it with a twist.
Here’s the idea, and this would work best if more than one publishing company (pick two or three, I know there aren’t many more than that, but let’s say two) and they would select the three largest cities in each of our states and from there select a library branch. Each of those libraries would select a smaller library in three of the smallest cities in their state. Fifty states, 150 large libraries, and 150 small ones. (Depending on the tone publishers wanted to take, they could get started in the form of a contest to get to this point and that would be fine, maybe fun, not completely necessary, but could be helpful depending on how much lead time and buzz they wanted to generate) For the sake of brevity, let’s say publisher marketing contacts their 150 libraries and tells them they are coming to town in the fall with authors in tow and pick a number but let’s say they will arrive with $2000.00 in books (paper and digital) to be donated for their library and the same amount for a sister library in a smaller community.
Each visit in each city becomes a bit of a media event for the library (Publishers could tie-in with FEDEX or UPS and have the books delivered or there could be five different motor homes (with graphics) traveling the highways of ten states each (I know, I know, Hawaii, it's a pain, but someone will have to tough it out and make the trip), loaded with publishing representatives, and books to deliver.
Libraries are facing budget issues, and library use is soaring in the recession. Every stop in a large city would bring TV, radio, and newspaper coverage, and stops in smaller areas, while not bringing as much media coverage does exactly what the idea is meant to do, benefits communities that need help and just might endear some folks to an author since they aren’t on the usual tour stops. Many might make stronger ties when they realize that most authors are essentially working two jobs, their day one, plus writing their books. Not much celebrity in that, but it’s a good reminder that most authors aren’t wealthy.
So, let’s take Ohio for instance, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. One library in each and three smaller libraries in smaller Ohio towns. $12,000 in books for Ohio. Multiply that for every state for a total of $600,000 in product. You don’t often see publishers teaming up with other business, but this type of promotion would benefit from a group effort.
What fun if during the fall of the year, representatives of the publishing companies, and groups of authors appeared in six cities in each state. It would be a tour like none before it, make a lot of noise and benefit authors and sales with books coming out for the holidays and most importantly do good.
Let’s see, which other company in America would not want to be behind helping this one happen? I can’t think of any that wouldn’t reap good will from coming together on a project like this. From Holiday Inn to McDonald’s they could all promote “The Great Book Day Tour” coming to their state. If Barnes and Noble or Amazon got in the game, they could offer matching amounts of dollars in books for the libraries. ABC with their show Castle would be a natural for promotion.
What comes of it? Big business spends a few dollars they were going to spend anyway, just in a different way, everyone involved gets a lot of PR, holiday sales get a bump, but all of that’s just frosting on the cake, because in the end what it was meant to do was help out each state by getting books to readers.