Brave or Suicidal?

Author Sandra Scoppettone criticizes her current publisher for not following through on publicity promises they made to booksellers in the back-cover copy on the galley of her new book.

Call me crazy, but promising those ads to booksellers and then not
delivering seems like lying to me. That’s who they’re aiming at when
they print those words on the back of a galley.

11 thoughts on “Brave or Suicidal?”

  1. (1) The publisher was going on the best intelligence available at the time.
    (2) Hillary Clinton and John Kerry both stated that they believed the publishers wre going to run the ads.
    (3) Anyone who says the publisher was lying hates publishing, hates reading, and hates America.
    However, I will be glad to go camp out at the publisher’s vacation house until they come out and give Sandra a straight answer.

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  2. Publishers’ seasonal catalog copy announcing lengthy tours, big publicity budgets, print ads, TV ads, co-op advertising, etc.,that either never happen or happen only in diminished form, have been commonplace all the years I’ve been writing novels. No one has ever held publishers accountable for these things. I have wondered for years why the Federal Trade Commission never examines the deceptive packaging and advertising of books. Any other industry would be brought to heel for the promotional practices that are routine in book publishing.

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  3. That’s like being mad about not winning the lottery. Yeah, you have the chance, but the likelyhood of it happening is exceptionally slim. I don’t know anyone –ANYONE — who has received the press and advertising and co-ops that their catalogue copy said they would.

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  4. My experience is that they almost never do what they promise.
    If I were a bookseller and bought into a book on the basis that a book was going to be well-promoted (as represented by the publisher’s written material) then I’d either be the world’s most naive bookseller or the named plaintiff in a class-action or FTC false advertising lawsuit. Or Both.
    But I am not a bookseller and most booksellers I know are not dumb enough to trust a publisher’s catalog promises.

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  5. The line on the back of galleys that I always like is “Major review attention.”
    That’s a tip-off right there that the whole thing is b.s. How the hell are they supposed to know when they’re printing the ARC that anyone’s going to review it?

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  6. Do publishers renege on publicity promises? All the time.
    Does Sandra have a right to complain?
    Absolutely. She’s just telling it like it is.
    And p.s. — JD Rhoades, thanks for my big laugh of the day.

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  7. They may promise the moon but as Jim Macdonald says here the basics get books to the first level at least.
    “It’s also true that major publishers don’t “promote” most authors’ books — if by that you mean buying newspaper ads and printing up custom tee-shirts. Do you know why they don’t do it? Because it costs more than the likely increased book sales would bring in. Here’s something you can take to the bank: The same will be true for you. If you buy newspaper ads and print up custom tee-shirts — it’ll cost you more than you bring in.
    Here’s the very minimum level of promotion that the last book on a major publisher’s list gets:
    1) Listed in a catalog that goes to all bookstores and libraries.
    2) Mentioned by flesh-and-blood sales people to the folks who order for brick-and-mortar bookstores.
    3) Review copies in advance of publication to major review venues.
    4) Advertisements in trade (as in bookstore-trade) publications.”
    I’d certainly be satisfied with it.

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  8. It’s the “bait and switch” thing that makes the practice so ethically and legally questionable … when the publisher says, “Major droadcast media campaign,” then lists the media outlets … then doesn’t do it.
    OR …
    Says something like: “$150,000 promotional campaign including ….” Then never spends anything close to that.
    Those sorts of things are simply false and misleading advertising of the kind that gets the FTC’s dander (and their lawyers) all riled up.

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  9. Given what I’d heard, when the hardcover of RIFT ZONE came out, I had little to no hope that my publisher would keep all of the promises on the back of my ARCs, including satellite TV and radio tours, ads in national papers, etc, but to Forge’s credit, they did absolutely everything except a Wall Street Journal ad. And they did additional things that were also not listed.
    Will they do that again? I doubt it. Things aligned and I got lucky the first time. And since it came out in August, I’m guessing the guy in the marketing department responsible for the switch portion of their “bait & switch” program was on vacation…

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  10. I wish I’d seen this post earlier and especially the comments. I’m not a first time author who was naive about the whole thing. Here’s a shock. Whatever was promised to me on my 17 other novels was done. That’s why I was so surprised by this.

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