Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TV Ads for Books

Sometimes, although not very often, you’ll see an ad on TV that’s for a book or a particular writer -- an ad that gets seen by thousands or maybe even millions and you think, man, the only writers who can afford that kind of promotion are the big names who have big publishers footing the bill. So true.

Maybe not so true anymore.

There was a blurb in a recent Publishers Lunch about Google’s TV advertising program. That Publishers Lunch piece directed me to Slate where there’s a video about how Slate created their own national television ad. It doesn’t take much to see how you, the average author, could do it too. How much it would cost you depends on how tech savvy you are in putting together your short ad and on when and where you set your ad to run.

It could cost you hundreds or thousands. You could schedule it to run in the wee hours of the morning on off-cable channels to keep the cost down (you choose the channels), but still be seen by thousands. Will it result in sales? Maybe. It’s a new Google program, so it’s not been tested extensively. Of course, a lot would depend on when it runs, how good the commercial is, who sees it and a lot of other factors. The video also tells you how Slate went about tracking their results.

To see the video, you may have to watch a 15 second Starbucks ad before the three and a half minute video plays. I’m going to attempt to post the video here. If it doesn’t work, you can see it online by going to: http://slatev.com/video/how-i-ran-ad-fox-news/


Anybody interested in trying this?
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27 comments:

  1. Sounds like a big hole to dump money in....

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  2. Sounds interesting! Not sure it's something I'd feeling comfortable putting money into, though - at least until it's a little less experimental.

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  3. I know several writers who have created trailers for their books and promoted those online. A clever idea. This is along the same line, only a big step up, both cost and audience wise. I don't know if I would take that step, but for some it might be worth the cash.

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  4. Since I don't watch much TV, I wonder how effective these would be.

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  5. I think it would take a lot of research to identify what channel and what time period you could afford and what you be the best target audience. I used to see book commercials sometimes on TV, but have not seen one in a long time. The idea that the "average" author could do this on a limited budget is interesting, though.

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  6. I think it's just too much, one more way of having the author do everything themselves, on their own clock, foot the bill and good luck. Oy. I don't feel the results would be worth it.

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  7. I wonder if it's a good way of reaching our market, though. Seems a magazine ad would better reach a reading audience.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  8. Good idea, Elizabeth.

    I did like the idea in the video that they set up a new website that was linked in the video. That way, they could determine how many people were "inspired" enough to go to the site.

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  9. One of the things about advertising is that you need to determine your target market. Who is likely to read your book - then ask yourself what is the best way to reach that audience. This seems like a shot in the dark, unless the channels you choose have shows that you think your target audience will be watching. Not for me, I'm afraid.
    Karen

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  10. I could see this working in one way - like if your protagonist is an interior designer, you could run the ad on HGTV. Or if you write historical, run it on the History Channel. Things like that to target people already interested in one aspect of your book. Would you sell enough to recoup the cost? I've no idea.

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  11. Might make it less painful to stay up and watch TV...

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  12. COOL. I need a book deal first...

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  13. I worked in advertising once upon a time, and television is a media REALLY effective for messages that apply to huge masses... it is expensive though, and less effective for targeted audiences...

    Now this is a hunch, but I'm thinking avid readers don't WATCH a lot of TV. Maybe if there is a cable show about an author seen as writing to a similar audience? but I also know how media buys go-- you buy a station and a time, not necessarily a show.

    I think it would only be worth it if you had a book that appealed more widely than most... the few books that are read by rare readers--the DiVinci Codes and such.

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  14. I totally agree, it'd have to be targeted to be effective - and enticing. Even then, the cost may nullify the results, unless you had the expertise to do a pretty good commercial on the cheap. (I don't.)

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  15. That's a cool idea, but it's still far in the future for me.

    I was thinking about how many commercials for books I've seen on TV and all I can think of are those terrible Dianetics commercials from the eighties. Ha!

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  16. I like Elizabeth's suggestion.

    Unless the publisher is footing the bill of course!

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  17. Interesting idea, but I don't think I've ever purchased a book from a TV ad before...

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  18. I've seen a few TV ads for books. Haven't purchased one because of the ad, but have become aware of a particular book because of an ad.

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  19. I DID just see a pretty good book trailer, so on the internet where people are seeking books--THAT is another idea entirely. I agree that that may be very effective.

    The one I saw didn't look all that expensive to produce.. it was all still footage, with words added and background music. (it was for Bill Warrington's Last Chance, which looks like a GREAT--and very mainstream book--comes out this summer)

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  20. Hmmm... I can still think of better things to do with my little promotional budget.

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  21. Interesting. I think the biggest marketing plan this year is the Castle TV series. A book was published by "Richard Castle." I'm curious to know who actually wrote it. I suspect the book came after the popularity of the series though.
    Ann
    www.cozyintexas.blogspot.com
    www.annsummerville.com

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  22. Interesting, Ann. They're tying TV and books, but going from the other direction.

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  23. Being a reader I don't think I'd be drawn to buy a book just because it was advertised on TV. You couldn't help but think now that author has a lot of money to spend with the cost of TV ads.

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  24. The thought makes me cringe! Is nothing sacred?

    Next the library will have giant 40 inch posters advertising the latest thriller, maybe in 3d.

    Trailers are often misleading and I believe this approach could backfire in a big way.

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  25. Neato! I'm going to check it out.

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  26. Authors might use the TV to advertise, but I'm thinking the Internet will be the target. We already have trailers. I think there will be indepth analysis of where to put those trailers to target the audience. And the trailers will get better.

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  27. I think I will stick to trying to utilize the Internet more. This sounds like a good thing for a writer who has the time and money to create television ads, but I don't want to put that kind of time into learning a new technology. Every new promotional idea that comes along just seems to take time away from writing.

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