Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Hilary Mantel ,Will Self and Selling buy the Book - marketing difficult words Man Booker 2012

(Congratulations Hilary Mantel on winning the Man Booker Prize 2012.)

“Man , an alternative investment management business with a wide range of liquid investment styles including managed futures, equity, credit and convertibles, emerging markets, global macro and multi-manager, combined with powerful product structuring, distribution and client service capabilities.”

No ,
the above is not taken from the narrative of fellow Man Booker finalist Will Self’s Umbrella, which  according to one reviewer ‘has no breaks or chapters, but moves between strands without warning, in subtle shifts that occur from one sentence to the next. " The reviewer continued

Each leap jolts the reader unexpectedly out of kilter. The novel is stuffed with ephemera, but luckily, its overabundance of imagery and sheer verbiage can be made to seem part of its subject matter. Self’s refusal to explicate for the reader makes it occasionally arduous going, but it is refreshing to read a book that makes demands rather than “unpacking” itself ’ "

No ,
the opening ‘prose’  quote is taken from the main sponsor's website for the premier Book Prize – the Man Booker Prize. The second  and third quotes came from the Guardian newspaper.
No doubt to high net worth investors and the literati , such language is understandable but for myself it is impenetrable. So what will motivate me to buy let alone read any of the Man Booker shortlist?
Apparently 25, 000 works of fiction were published in the UK last year – some 68 novels each day.
So how do they sell 'high level' literature in the over crowded book market ?
What do the writers, agents and publishers  need to do to make their offer stand out and differentiate from the crowd?

To introduce some sort of objectivity ,the book world introduce competitions, short lists and prize winners.

Hilary Mantel's 'Bring up the bodies' topped the displays
for the Man Booker finalists. Did Wasterston's know somethin ?...
Yesterday  October 16th the Man Booker prize winner was announced.

The competition's campaign helps to rise awareness in this sector of the market.

The promotional trail for the 2012 Man Booker Prize is some 10 weeks.

The long list announcement  was on 25th July               12 Books

He short list announcement on 11th September             6 Books

Winner announcement on 16th October                         1 Book

This works for the easy reading market as well.

I bought a paperback book “The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller.

I was not in a conventional bookshop but a branch of the supermarket Sainsbury.

The paperback version was on a special offer greatly reduced from the cover price of £7.99.

I did not recognise the author’s name. (This was not surprising as the book was her first novel.)

So there was some initial resistance in my mind

In some ways the situation was alien to my usual book buying habit. I was in an

1. Unusual environment for buying books

2. Cheap / discounted price often equates to poor quality

3. First time authors are a risk even if they have managed to convince an editor of publishing house.

4. How objective were the endorsement quotes which were from one author writing about another especially if they share the same publisher or agent etc.?

Probably what swayed my decision was that the book had won the Orange prize. The sticker on the front tipped the scales for me.

Amazon has transformed the book selling market.

Social media means we all have the ability to be book reviewers

Along with the long tail model of The Amazon approach they reference "...those who bought this book also bought…. Or X recommends Y "

Hugely successful as Amazon has been I still enjoy the experience of buying books off a real shelf even in a supermarket.

I like the feel of the book. 
I like to scan the pages.
I like straight forward pricing with no extras for postage and the opportunity to get stuck in straight from purchase and read not having to wait for delivery.

So what can the book world currently tell us about selling? They use a multitude of marketing communication channels/

      Good old fashion market trading still works in the book world..

I was in Victoria Station on the day the new JK Rowling book was announced. There was a lady crying outside the W H Smith store in the main concourse

“ It’s here. The book you have been waiting for .

Come inside an get your copy of JK Rowling’s new book”

In my local  Waterstone’s copies on the launch day were being sold at half price. Certainly by the end of the day many copies had been sold.

Books had ‘flow off the shelf’.

The following day the offer was £5 pound off the usual selling price.

Perhaps Will Self will wish to invest his prize winnings - should he win - in an "Umbrella Fund" - no doubt recommended by Man. For myself I will get a copy of Umbrella when it comes out in paperback -no doubt with a sticker on it!

Related links  A point of view – prizes for all by Sarah Dunant

1 comment:

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