It sure is! The book is called Heat Wave, of course, and features Nicki Heat. The book released in real life the same time it 'released' on the show. I haven't read the book, but I'm told that the sex scene referred to on a certain page in an episode on the show really is on that page, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a lot of other insider parallels for fans of the show. Nathan Fillion even did some real-life signings for the book in character as Richard Castle. At the moment, the book is #21 on the NYTimes bestselling list, but I believe it's been higher. It's truly brilliant marketing.
Those guest appearances on the show by a handful of big-name thriller authors (James Patterson, Stephen J. Cannell and Michael Connelly so far) as Castle's poker-playing buddies are another cool marketing ploy. Anything that makes authors and reading and books look sexy is good stuff!
You know, I *almost* bought it today, but even with my 30% off Border's coupon, I just didn't feel like spending that much on a gimmick. The bio in the back was fun to read, though, since it reference Castle's previous "publications" and his personal data (lives with his mother and daughter in New York) also fit the television story.
So - a great marketing strategy that didn't quite work on me! ;)
I looked into the possibility of running an ad for my environmental thriller set in Antarctica to coincide with a week-long program on Good Morning America about Antarctica that was scheduled to air during the time that my book was readily available in stores, and the cost for specific markets, such as Boston and Denver, wasn't prohibitive. Trouble was, I heard about the program just two weeks before it aired, which wouldn't have given me enough time to get a 30-second television-quality trailer ready.
Still, with a little more planning, it would have been entirely possible. Bet I would have sold some books, too!
Hm. Now I'm thinking I should find out about any documentaries planned for next fall featuring Chaitén Volcano . . .
I looked up the Today Show rates from last year, and my memory was a little faulty. The Boston rate is pretty high, but the Denver rate would have been doable. I'd never recommend doing this for a random ad, but for an ad targeted to a subject being discussed that tied in with my book, if I'd had a media-ready trailer, I'd have given it a shot.
Each book is like a separate company. Let's assume that this mystery book 'company' sells 20,000 copies at $25 retail. The publisher gets 50% which means that this 'company' would gross $250,000. Let's say you spend 10% of your gross on advertising. That means you can spend $25,000. That's not very much. Even on local TV, that $25k would be spent in a few days. A mystery that sells 10,000 copies only delivers a potential ad budget of $12,500.
With a Dan Brown or a John Grisham, the publisher will run some ads, but I think that's more for author ego. When Brown and Grisham come out with a book, everybody knows it from the widespead PR. But, think of their potenital ad budget! Let's say one million books sold. The gross sales would be about $12,500,000, which is still, a relatively small company. If they spent 10% of their gross on advertising, they would have a potential ad budget of over $1,000,000, which would be eaten up pretty fast on national TV.
So, when thinking about marketing a book, you're really thinking about strategies that a very small company would use. That means that you probably have to be more creative than the book itself.
It would probably be better if you spent the money on a good PR campaign. A PR person might be able to get you an appearance on the show. If you got that, it would be for three minutes or so and they might even show some of your trailer.
I appreciate your thoughts, Jon. I'm considering hiring a publicist for my second book because there are a couple of hooks associated with the book which might result in some media placement. "Might" being the operative word, of course, and one I find difficult to get past. At least with marketing, you get exactly what you pay for; a publicist gets paid whether they generate results or not!
Well, that's good to know. I only dabbled in working with a publicist by paying one to help me get the word out about my online book launch party last year. I figured she'd have contacts I didn't, and while she did, and sent me the list of people/blogs she'd contacted, my site got NO hits from those sources - absolutely none. All 2,700 unique visitors came from my own publicity efforts.
I'd surely love to work with a publicist who only got paid if they got results!