Raise the Volume: Publishers are going for promotional blitzkriegs, even television spots, to sell their books

Even for eyeballs inured to all sorts of advertisements flickering on television, this 15-second one is new: an animated car vrooms into the screen and to the dust jacket of Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger. An ad for an individual book is unusual, but not surprising considering HarperCollins has reportedly shelled out an advance of $35,000 (Rs 14 lakh) for the debut novel. While HarperCollins India has started a promotional blitzkrieg of sorts, others are pitching in for their authors. Nobody is ready to publish and perish. Not yet.

The relatively new publishing house Westland and Tranquebar Press, meanwhile, is tying up with a social networking site to publicise its Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul, the first country-specific Chicken Soup that is put together by Raksha Bharadia. “In future, we see ourselves using the Internet very strongly to take our books to the people,” says Priyanka Chowdhury, head of publicity, Westland, who thinks TV and radio ads for books will catch on in India. “The book business is peculiar in the sense that we operate on a very thin profit margin. It is a vicious cycle because funds for promotions come from profits and there cannot be profit unless there are promotions and the books sell.”

Apart from the wine-and- openings, publishing houses have been doing interesting but relatively inexpensive promotions like getting dancer Malavika Sarukkai to perform for sister Priya Sarukkai Chabria’s book release or a qawwali for the launch of Salma Ahmed’s memoir Cutting Edge. But no longer. When huge advances become the prologue, hard sell will script the first chapter.
Source: Express News Service
Picture uploaded via Readwalker


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