Have you ever priced the cost of advertising time for even local stations? Unless your pockets are filled with spare 50 and 100 dollar bills for maybe thirty seconds or less. . . don't even think about it.
What about public access TV? I've seen some pretty lame ads on those channels, so it's gotta be cheaper. I realize it doesn't reach a national audience, but it seems to be 'the thing' now to make videos to publicize books -- an investment of a couple of hundred or even a couple of thousand to air those videos on television, even only locally, might be well spent...
You see, it's absolutely in the power of publishers to create bestsellers. Of course, funds being limited, they can't do it for all their authors, so they do it only for the one who already sells massive numbers of books. A safer investment that way. Or perhaps one-upsmanship toward the competitition.
Let me give you two alternatives that might give you a bigger advertising budget per dollar. The first one is radio. Much cheaper than tv and hits as many, or maybe even more, listeners as tv does viewers. And small packaged bundles of hits can be affordable.
There are advertising agencies who put ads on the movie screens. . . those ads you look at before the previews come on. They put them on hundreds of screens regionally every night. Those ad spaces are not out of reach budgetarily speaking. And they do work.
I've always thought it would be great if publishers got together and made some cool television ads. Not for specific books or authors, but to promote reading and books. And not some boring PSA, but something really well done by talented directors.
In a sense, the television program Castle does this. It's the equivalent of an hour-long commercial that sends the message that books, and specifically crime fiction, are sexy. The ghost-written tie-in, Heat Wave, is doing really well, too, which tells me a LOT of readers are not only watching the show, they're buying books.